Category Archives: Blue Back Square

Blue Back Square’s official opening on Saturday

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — A ribbon-cutting ceremony will mark the official opening of West Hartford Center’s newest addition, Blue Back Square, on November 3 at 10 a.m.  The event will be held on Webster Walk, near the statue of Noah Webster and the West Hartford public library on South Main Street. 
   
Speakers will be West Hartford Mayor Scott Slifka as well as members of the Blue Back Square development team, including Richard Heapes, partner, Blue Back Square/Street-Works and Rick Langhorne, president, Ronus Propertie s.  The West Hartford Hall High School freshman symphonic band will help celebrate the occasion.

The new town square is a first for Connecticut as a unique, mixed-use development and one of a handful in the U. S.  A mixed-use development is a symbiotic balance of residential, retail, office and civic space, designed for all aspects of life.  Blue Back Square not only brings new shops and restaurants to The Center, but Hartford Hospital Wellness Center, New York Sports Clubs as well as luxury condominiums and rental apartment lofts.

Retail anchors at Blue Back Square include Crate and Barrel, The Cheesecake Factory, REI, Barnes & Noble, and Criterion Cinemas.

In 2008, condominiums and apartments will welcome new residents, bringing 24-hour life to The Center in a new way.

Blue Back Square hails its name from Noah Webster’s blue grammar books, which were called “blue back spellers.”  Noah Webster, writer of the American dict ionary, was raised in what is now West Hartford. 

Blue Back Square is a 600,000-square-foot, mixed-use development located in the heart of West Hartford Center between South Main Street, Memorial Road and Raymond Road.  It is an extension of West Hartford Center, a popular pedestrian -friendly shopping and dining district that presently consists of 140 upscale national, regional and local shops, restaurants and a Whole Foods Market.

Blue Back Square includes approximately 220,000 square feet of additional retail; 95,000 square feet of professional office space; 130,000 square feet of medical office space including New York Sports Clubs; and luxury condominiums and rental apartment lofts.  Ronus Properties of Atlanta, Ga., Street-Works of White Plains, N. Y., and JDA Development of West Hartford, Conn. are developing the project.  This partnership combines the national, mixed-use development experience and expertise of Street-Works with the regional sensibility and sensitivity of JDA and the financial strength of Ronus, a full-service, real estate management and development firm.  

78 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, West Hartford Center

Blue Back Square

It’s open.

Are you impressed? Is it better than you expected? A monstrosity? A wonder? What?

I took a little walk and found it reasonably human in its scale. That surprised me. I also learned that there’s almost nothing at Crate and Barrel that I can afford.

65 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, Crate and Barrel, West Hartford Center

Are we “chopped liver” or what?

Channel 3’s Dennis House takes on the Blue Black Square newcomer “New York Sports Clubs” here: http://www.wfsb.com/getinthehouse/index.html

What do you think?

71 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, Channel 3, Dennis House, fitness, New York Sports Clubs, Recreation, West Hartford

Blue Back rents are out of sight

According to the Courant, competition among potential tenants “is pushing office leasing rates up to nearly $40 a square foot, the highest seen in the region.”

It’s ultra hot real estate, which is great for our town.

Other developers can’t help noticing the riches, of course, which may mean more prime office space gets built in town before long.

But it also means that commercial office space is going to be worth more here than it has been — and that will eventually help cushion homeowners from future property tax hikes.

In short, it’s thrilling news to see that the project is paying off.

Naysayers, your turn now….

27 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, News, town economy, West Hartford, West Hartford Center

Blue Back Square update in Courant

Today’s story lets us know that one of the two parking garages is open – though not to the public yet – but the Healthtrax fitness club and the Hartford Hospital building are a little behind schedule (which explains why I’ve seen ads for the Healthtrax club before it’s open). The Nov. 1 opening for much of it remains on track, however.

12 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, Hartford Hospital, HealthTrax, News, West Hartford Center

Blue Back Square cited as model for growth

Blue Back Square photo

 Blue Back Square now

Developer Richard Heapes was heaping it on in Maryland this week, according to a  story in The Gazette, which covers the DC suburbs.

Pushing for more developments like Blue Back Square, Heapes “pointed to a project his company, Street-Works, is building in West Hartford, Conn., as an example. West Hartford gave his company $50 million in bonds to do $200 million of construction for Blue Back Square, aimed at revitalizing the city’s center.”

“By working with city officials and community organizations, including a neighborhood church, an American Legion post and the merchants’ association, his company will turn that $50 million into $80 million worth of assets and amenities, Heapes said. The organizations got an expanded library, new church entrance and a small movie theater available for free to groups,” he told a planning board there, according to the paper.

Let’s hope he can keep bragging about Blue Back Square for the next couple of decades.

12 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, News, Richard Heapes, Town government, West Hartford, West Hartford Center, West Hartford economy

Tight market for commercial space in West Hartford

Sentry Commercial reports that “West Hartford [is] still the tightest of all the suburban {Hartford] markets with a 6.4% vacancy rate- 60,000 sf of new office space at Blue Back Square will be delivered by the end of 2007 but 70% of that is already committed (Cummings & Lockwood is the first announced tenant for 11,000 square feet.)  Edens & Avante purchased 2523 & 2551 Albany Avenue (
West Hartford) in mid-2006 and are likely to announce plans to renovate or redevelop some or all of their Bishop’s Corner properties sometime in 2007.”
Vacancy rates for commercial space in Avon and Simsbury are three times higher. Take that, outer ringers. 

3 Comments

Filed under Blue Back Square, commercial real estate, Elmwood, real estate, West Hartford Center, West Hartford economy