Northland Investment Corp.: Smarter Than George W. Bush

…not that that means anything.

In the paper today, Northland rep, Coursey, expressed what it seemed to take forever for the developer to figure out–people would rather spend a shitload of money on something they’ll get a return on, than throw it away on an apartment.

 As his staff continues to lease out the 262 apartments at Hartford 21 – they recently rented their 100th unit, making the tower 38 percent occupied nine months after it opened – Gottesdiener is slowly working with the city to get between $5 million and $10 million in funding for the Jewell Street project. The original plan included 200 condos and 100 apartments. The current plan targets only those people who want to buy: 250 condos and 30,000 square feet of retail.

“At this stage, it’s all condos,” Coursey said. “There’s a lot of rental product on the market right now. There’s not a lot for sale. What we’re finding from a lot of people at Hartford 21 is that there are people that do want to own something downtown.

They can spin the Hartford 21 debacle all they want– only having half of the units rented, at this point, in Connecticut’s capital city shows failure. But the old YMCA site is more troubling, as the homeless who’d been living there will be displaced. At least the only loss with Hartford 21 was a dungeon of a shopping mall.

I hope that Jeffrey Cohen simply made a typo when he wrote:

With more than 40 stories of residential units built atop the old home of the downtown YMCA, a glass tower of luxury homes alongside Bushnell Park, it’s the kind of image that enthuses city enthusiasts.

City enthusiasts? Did Cohen perhaps mean city developers?


Crime Numbers

Here are the crime statistics for the period of Jan. 1, 2007-May 12, 2007 (and same period during 2006) in Hartford. This chart is a simplified version of the one found on the Hartford Police Department website.crimestats.gif

When the mainstream media (and even the alternative media) report on crime, it is usually in a way that is sensational. Graphics and music often make the crime seem more dramatic, and something more threatening than it is–most violent crimes are committed by a person who knows the victim.

Furthermore, certain areas are made to look like war zones, when the truth is that crime happens everywhere. On a recent trip to New Hampshire, I grabbed a copy of The Gilford Steamer. That’s the title, I shit you not. Gilford is a small town, that the police log for May 8-14, 2007 was published. They actually printed and broke down what the 231 calls to the police were for. Mostly, it was small town stuff (underage drinking), but they had their fair share of problems–assault, drugs, harassment, larceny, criminal mischief, domestic, and endangerment of youth.

If all the smaller towns and suburbs were to publish every last criminal account, maybe Hartford’s reputation wouldn’t be so tarnished, and maybe any time Hartford’s own violence did make the news, people wouldn’t blame the victim by accusatorily asking what the victim was even doing in the city.

If you tally up all of the arrests made to date in 2007, and divide by the number of days in period (132), it comes out to roughly 40 arrests made per day.



Sometimes there is really nothing to report on.

 I will admit to smiling at the news last week that WFSB got flooded. Too bad that the water damage will surely cause a problem for any potential future tenants of the space when they relocate to Cromwell or Rocky Hill or wherever in a few months.

As for the violence of Hartford that everyone seems to count on, there were some teenagers having a verbal melee in my back lot a few minutes ago. After standing by the door and giving them the evil eye for a minute, they dispersed. No shots were fired. Nobody was stabbed. If their little scuffle (most likely over some dumb teen crap like boys) advanced and got anywhere near my freshly planted flowers, the outcome might’ve been different.



Heading up Asylum this afternoon I saw (at least from the street) the Coexistence exhibit, which was more impressive than it sounded on paper. One of the art pieces reads: “War is madness.” I was surprised to see that sort of truth being sponsored by a corporation here. Last week, the Courant did a write-up on this:

“Typically people drive in, park, go to work, finish work and go home,” King says. “For this one month we wanted to open our campus and let it become a backdrop for something more profound. We thought it was important to find an idea that got the community thinking about itself and about how we try to get along.”

I like this idea of  visually urging  passersby to even think about this apparently controversial idea of community-building.


It’s Only 9-to-5 If You’re Not In It

Today, to what must be the hurrah’s of many, the Courant writes:

 Keep an eye on downtown Hartford. Its transformation from a 9-to-5, roll-up-the-sidewalks city center to a 24-hour clean and safe neighborhood with a vibrant nightlife is moving fast.

At the Bullish discussion, a woman in the audience commented that she had moved downtown to reduce her negative environmental impact, and discovered that Hartford keeps the party going well into the wee hours of morn. Other residents can testify on this, yet our experiences are ignored. It’s frustrating to be constantly undoing the reputation damage that the media and ignorant naysayers are inflicting every time they imply that the city is either dead or dangerous. Life’s dangerous; get over it.

I’m all for making the city cleaner and prettier, but I am puzzled as to why all the energies are going into downtown when downtown is already fine. Enough rolling out the red carpet for that special chosen demographic, who gets lured in by the promise of a 24-hour city. Meanwhile, Hartford wants to make sure the bodegas close down during the night. Is there somewhat of a contradiction here?



A bear has been spotted in the opposite end of Hartford from me. Before everyone panics, we need to remember a few things about bears:

1. They were here first. We’re the illegal immigrants.

2. If we weren’t creating all this sprawl, they’d be content to stay in their natural habitats.

3. Bears rarely attack humans. And on some days, I’d say that’s a damn shame.

Be wary of media that use scare tactics and take on these sensational stories for ratings. If wildlife were as big of a threat to humans as they make it seem, we’d be the ones facing extinction.


Mayoral Candidates Revisited

As much as a lot of what went on at the HPL last week irked me, I think that some important things resulted too. People are still talking about the event, the place was packed, and there is some interest in local electoral politics.

If I post about national politics, it’s a rare thing. My own political philosophy is one that includes doubt and skepticism regarding expensive campaigns and the other bullshit inherent in that game (hello, there is a reason we haven’t had a female, openly gay, or person-of-color as president yet, and that reason has nothing to do with qualification). But I think that local politics are important. If we can’t fix our own neighborhoods, we’re not going to have a chance at fixing bigger issues.

So, it’s hopeful that despite what the haters on Hartford think, residents <i>do</i> give a shit about what happens here. Maybe we don’t all agree on what is most important, or on what measures should be taken, but people do care.

Even obnoxious Perez supporters. They could have been out doing something else, but they gave up a few hours to participate in what can be tedious (but damn, get some manners between now and next time!).

Another challenge that was brought up briefly during the talk was the new voting machines. There was one off to the side which people were invited to check out afterwards. I didn’t notice if anyone did.



After much frustration, I think I may have gotten the comments feature to work. I thought there might be a way to override the required registration, but if there is, I couldn’t figure that out.