The final phase of the Adriaen’s Landing project in downtown Hartford is close to getting its first tenant. A source familiar with the project, on the condition of anonymity, told Eyewitness News the Front Street entertainment district will feature a restaurant/bar/movie theater. We don’t know the name of the business, but can tell you it is a national company. We have been unable to get official confirmation of this from the Nitkin Group, the Greenwich developer in charge of Front Street, but it is common for developers and leasing agents to refrain from comment until everything is signed and the tenant gives the go-ahead.
The tenant would be the first downtown movie theater in decades. Hard to believe, but there used to be several downtown, at least one in what is now Adriaen’s Landing. These pictures are courtesy the Connecticut historical society.
The Adriaen’s Landing development was announced a decade ago as an effort to revitalize a section of downtown that featured nothing but parking lots, and the sterile headquarters of Connecticut Natural Gas. With the exception of the historic Arch Street Tavern, that part of downtown was always desolate at night. The name Adriaen comes from the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, who sailed up the Connecticut River in 1614 and landed in Hartford after discovering what is now known as Block Island.
Adriaen’s Landing consists of the Downtown Marriott, the Connecticut Science Center, the Connecticut Convention Center and Front Street. Original plans for Front Street called for housing, but that was temporarily shelved when the economy turned sour. The second phase of Front Street will include the now vacant Hartford Times Building. We are told this next phase will definitely include housing, most likely a high rise.
There is a possibility that Adriaen’s Landing could expand eastward. On Face the State last year, Congressman John Larson said if Coltsville becomes a National Park (and he thinks it will) he will propose legislation lowering the stretch of Interstate 91 from the Colt Armory all the way to Interstate 91. That would free up acres of land for development east of the Convention Center, Science Center and Marriott.
On a related note, we are also hearing that a another deal is in the for more downtown housing, not far from Adriaen’s Landing. We’ll keep you posted.