Yard Goats stadium sparking literally dozens of hotel-room conversions, yay?

Next in today’s rundown of questionable media spin, the Hartford Courant is reporting that “the city’s shiny new minor league ballpark has dramatically transformed what for decades was a just barren stretch of land north of downtown.” How dramatically? This dramatically:

The owners of the nearby Radisson Hotel are combining guest rooms on the top nine floors of the 18-story hotel into apartments. The $19.5 million project will create 96 rentals, some of which will overlook Dunkin’ Donuts Park. The first apartments are expected to be ready by this summer.

Hotel owner Inner Circle U.S. said the apartment project was planned prior to the plans for the stadium, but the ballpark helped sell the idea of rentals to Inner Circle’s lenders.

VERDICT: I do not think that word “dramatically” means what you think it means. Building a new sports facility may not have the kind of economic impact that sports team owners pretend it does, but it does have some, and “making the hotel-to-rental-apartment conversion that developers already had in the works marginally more marketable” is just about perfectly the size of it. Downtown Hartford is starting to draw more interest from renters with money, but that’s thanks to the Great Inversion, not anything to do with sports, and certainly not a minor-league baseball stadium that until recently wasn’t certain ever to open.

That said, I am eagerly awaiting the chance to take in a Yard Goats game this summer. I will almost certain make it a day trip from New York City, and will probably stop for pizza or falafel in New Haven. My footprint on the Hartford economy will be exceedingly light, but if some millennials want a view from their apartments of my car pulling in and out of the stadium parking lot, more power to them.

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4 comments on “Yard Goats stadium sparking literally dozens of hotel-room conversions, yay?

  1. Unless the Cubs are changing their name to yard goats , Millennials don’t give a damn about minor league baseball.

  2. I think part of the transformation of the area is really the fact that the location of the park and the area around it was just barren space for quite some time. It’s part of the legacy of having the city cut in half by two major highways (I-84 and I-91) and that section being cut off from the business and corporations of downtown Hartford.

    I’m hoping for something positive out of all of this, but I readily admit that the payback of stadium investments is sketchy, at best. Hartford has been looking for any means to try and get some life into a city where people mostly work and do not live.

  3. Arguably, the developer/owner decision to reconfigure nightly hotel rentals to apartments is an indication of decline in economic activity in the area.

    What property owner wouldn’t rather rent for $79-140/night than $1200-1800/month, even if you do have to employ housekeeping and desk staff (which you have to do anyway, unless the entire hotel is being converted to monthly rental suites)?

    People will rent or buy condos overlooking professional sports stadiums… as noted above, minor league facilities less so…

    1. That hotel they are converting has gone through several owners / brand changes in the past 5 years. It is in a pretty terrible location relative to anything else in the Hartford business district. My guess is a good portion of those rooms have been going empty night after night for quite some time and this is (probably) the last ditch effort to try to get some money out of the place.

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