Goody Clancy prepared a master plan and implementation strategy to transform 12 acres of prominent parking lots into a vibrant arts neighborhood for Hartford.
A unique partnership of The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, Capitol Region Development Authority, City of Hartford, and Spinnaker Real Estate Partners engaged Goody Clancy to create a master plan for Bushnell South specifically designed to spark robust near-term investment. A top priority of Hartford’s 2035 comprehensive plan, this vibrant new mixed-use neighborhood will bridge the gap between Hartford’s downtown, Bushnell Park, southern neighborhoods, and state capitol complex. Recent relocation of state staff parking to structured parking has made space for this longtime Hartford aspiration to become real. The master plan provides the framework for 1.3 million square feet of mixed use development representing approximately $400 million in new private investment expanding Hartford’s property value, supported by $100 million in public parking and streetscape infrastructure—a favorable ratio for economic development.
The planning effort began with careful analysis of economic viability of development, and identification of financial and partnership strategies for near- and long-term infrastructure investments, by team member W-ZHA. Goody Clancy’s master planning strategy emphasizes catalytic urban design and site phasing that immediately captures and expands market potential in the first development phase. Techniques for doing so include developing adjacent to an existing landscaped plaza to form a distinctive urban square, concentrating early development in the neighborhood core, creating multi-use paths linking the neighborhood with other neighborhoods, Bushnell Park, transit, and downtown, and replacing asphalt lots with street trees and rain gardens that are pedestrian- and environmentally-friendly. The master plan implements and extends portions of Hartford’s iQuilt program that creates an inviting walking and public space network through public-private partnerships and creative redesign of existing streets and plazas.
Parking supply and demand analysis conducted for the plan by Nelson\Nygaard informs a district parking approach that minimizes cost and physical presence of parking. Careful phasing utilizes existing structured and surface parking as long as possible to delay parking infrastructure costs. Bushnell South’s proximity to Hartford Union Station, CTfastrak and major bus corridors make it a prime opportunity for a neighborhood where driving is a second choice to walking, taking transit, or biking to one’s destination. The master plan enhances the sidewalk network by adding active storefronts, residential front doors, urban landscape and public art along it.
Through a combination of physical connections and destination cultural activities, Bushnell South will be a place that pulls the Hartford community together.