Tuesday, January 31, 2006

it's a damn shame...that BIG building, the hastings, is just LANGUISHING there

empty for a couple of years...........why NOT help someone renovate it and get more people into the area? sounds like a damn good idea to me.
(the hastings sign by me this morning)

Culinary Institute's Plan Could Come Off Table
ING Courant Staff Writers January 31 2006 Plans to convert the dormant Hastings Hotel and Conference Center in Hartford into the new home of the Connecticut Culinary Institute are in doubt again, as the institute's efforts to get state money have proved unsuccessful.The institute has been hoping for $3.5 million that officials say they need to renovate the facility. The money has been approved by the legislature but has stalled on the desk of Gov. M. Jodi Rell."At some point it has to come off the table, and if it's not going to happen, we need to know ... because we need to find a Plan B," said Brooke Baran, an institute spokeswoman. "It's a little bit frustrating to know you have the support of the legislature for a great project in Hartford, when so many other large companies are leaving." The institute, Baran said, would probably have to shelve its plans for the Hastings "if we don't get a commitment from the state that there will be an allocation of dollars within the next couple of weeks."The project got a boost last summer with the endorsement from the state legislature. But after a meeting Friday of the State Bond Commission, Rell's budget director conceded that the project isn't a high priority.Although the legislature puts together a list of many bonding projects, the administration determines which make it onto the commission's agenda each month."The amount they want is substantial," budget director Robert Genuario said. "As yet, it has not reached the top of the priority list. We're certainly concerned about the amount of ... the request, given the nature of the project. That's a lot of money for that project."The Hastings, built in 1983 by Aetna adjacent to its Asylum Hill headquarters, was intended as a training facility with 271 rooms and 55,000 square feet of conference space. Its most recent operators ran the facility as a hotel, closing its doors in 2003, leaving more than 100 people out of work and forcing several other businesses in the building to close...............

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