In November 2014, the Hartford Business Journal reported on a project called the “Residences at River View,” a new building designed to replace what was once the WFSB Ch. 3 studios. The HBJ wrote;
Engineer-developer Abul Islam [President and CEO of AI Engineers, Inc. of Middletown, Connecticut] has gotten state and city funding commitments to proceed with opening a $17.7 million, six-story office-apartment tower in downtown Hartford’s Constitution Plaza within two years, authorities say.
Residences at Riverview will have 49 upscale apartments atop some 16,000 square feet of street-level office-retail space on No. 3 Constitution Plaza…
According to the news report, Governor Dannel Malloy got the State Bond Commission to provide $4.2 million for the project and Malloy’s Department of Housing added another $1.8 million. The City of Hartford is putting up $973,000. In addition to the $7 million in public funds, the remainder of the project comes via an $8 million loan from “an unidentified lender” and private funds from the developer.
According to the published reports, in addition to the 49 luxury apartments,
“Eight apartments will be earmarked as affordable.”
Enter Hartford Mayoral candidate Luke Bronin;
Two months ago A.I. Engineers’ Abul Islam, a Glastonbury resident, provided Luke Bronin with a $1,000 check to help fund his campaign to become Mayor of Hartford.
A couple weeks later the developer’s son who resides at the same address added another $1,000. According to Bronin’s campaign finance report, the son is a “Business Development Associate” at AI Engineers, although he isn’t actually listed on the company’s website.
The Company’s General Counsel has donated $750 to Bronin’s campaign so far and two of the company’s civil engineers donated a combined $1,500.
As the Hartford Courant reported last spring,
“All together, there are about 780 units in or near downtown — including 79 new rentals in the South Armory at the Colt complex — either recently completed or now under construction.
In addition, there are another 600 apartments in various planning stages. They include the Capewell Horse Nail Co. factory, the Hartford Office Supply Co. building and the Residences at River View, a new structure to be built at Constitution Plaza.
And that doesn’t even include rentals planned for Downtown North.”
The Courant added,
“For all its potential benefit to downtown, the cost to the taxpayer is substantial. Most of the downtown apartment projects are receiving millions of dollars [in grants and subsidized loans.]”
Of course, not surprisingly, many of the individuals behind the development of these luxury apartments appear on Luke Bronin’s contributor list.
In fact, to get a pretty good sense of those profiting from these development projects, it is probably easier to simply review Bronin’s campaign finance reports rather than comb through the various taxpayer subsidized “public-private” development deals that have been signed by the State of Connecticut and the City of Hartford.