EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Leaders in East Hartford are taking a big step to redevelop a century-old iconic building.
Church Corner’s Inn on Main Street once served as a hotel, steakhouse, banquet hall and series of bars. It’s gained a bad reputation for crime in recent years.
The signs out front read “violence-free zone” but it’s a crime-ridden residence averaging 100 calls each year to the fire department and 500 calls to police. Incident range from noise complaints to drug addiction to shootings. That’s on top of what the building looks like inside.
Now, the town’s looking to revitalize it.
Up the creaky steps and around the corners of the dark hallways, you’ll find conditions no one wants to live in.
“Deplorable simply does not do justice when you talk about the conditions inside,” said East Hartford Mayor Mike Walsh.
East Hartford’s Mayor Mike Walsh gave News 8 a tour on Monday of Church Corner’s Inn. The town bought the four-story, historic structure last week for $950,000 with state and federal funding.
“Lighting, windows, doors, nothing can be saved,” Walsh said.
What can be saved is the building’s reputation, which is now known for its crime. East Hartford first responders are constantly called to 860 Main Street.
“For the last 20 years, I’ve been responding to calls at this building,” said East Hartford Officer Marc Caruso. “Average is 45 calls per month, so many days, we’re coming here multiple times per day between police and fire.”
Sherry, a resident, says she’s lived there for 14 years.
“It’s not how I thought it would be,” Sherry said.
The town is working to relocate Sherry and nearly 30 other residents within the next 90 days. Some of them will receive up to $4,000 to help with the move.
“I feel good that you know, somebody’s actually not looking away,” Sherry said.
Walsh says their top priority is a better quality of life for residents, before renovating the 53 hotel-style rooms.
“I suspect it will be apartments, probably 25 700-square-foot apartments when it’s all done,” Walsh said. “But at the end of the day, we’re open to veteran support of housing.”
Walsh says they’ll keep the façade but gut the inside. He expects to turn over the plans for the building to a developer later this year.