HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Parking lots across from Dunkin Park in Hartford were supposed to be the location of 1,000 new apartment buildings. But, for now, the space remains an eyesore.
“The ballpark is a draw,” said David Griggs, the president and CEO of the Metro Hartford Alliance. “It is a wonderful connector between the downtown neighborhood and our north end.”
The space is embroiled in a legal battle between the original developer and the city. The issue will next appear in court in April 2024.
Jason Rudnick, the developer, told News 8 in 2016 that the process “has been mangled” from the beginning. That was after the park fell behind schedule and went over budget during construction.
The city then fired Centerplan, the construction company, along with DoNo Hartford LLC, the development company.
“Centerplan and DoNo made various changes along the way,” Mayor Luke Bronin said in 2016. “They were trying to save money.”
Rudnick pointed to challenges he said were set out by the city.
“How are we supposed to be able to finish a ballpark by May 17 when we are receiving change directives on 30 May?” he said in 2016.
The city went forward with construction. The developers sued for wrongful termination seven years ago.
A court ruled on Wednesday that the trial will go forward next year. Griggs called the lawsuit “a hiccup.”
“I think we need to work through it,” he said. “I think there are ways to work through it.”
The developer’s attorney told News 8 that he’s happy with the ruling. However, they said there is a 98-year lease on the property and does look forward to developing on it.
The city, however, is disappointed with the decision.
“We are carefully reviewing the decision and will determine if there are immediate steps that we can take to allow the development of the parcels to go forward while we prepare for a new trial in 2024,” a statement from Bronin’s office reads.
Griggs pointed to the luxury apartments and businesses around the plan, it will be worth the wait.
“I don’t think it necessarily slows the momentum,” he said.