The long-vacant hotel at the center of downtown Hartford's Constitution Plaza may soon have a new use. The city says the hotel commonly known as the Sonesta has sat vacant for at least a decade. Now, a New York-based development groups says it plans to buy the building this week, invest as much as $20 million dollars, and turn the building into high-end apartments.
Joseph Klaynberg runs Wonder Works Construction and Development. He says this will be his first investment property in Hartford.
"I actually happened to like the town. And it's a very close proximity to New York."
Constitution Plaza is the 1960s-era urban renewal project that is now home to a fair amount of municipal offices. And while the downtown Hartford commercial office market is weak, Klaynberg and the city say the new residential market is strong.
With that in mind, Klaynberg and his partners are planning 192 apartments. A few will be two bedroom units -- the rest will be studios and one bedrooms. He also says there could be amenities like a health club.
David Panagore is the city's chief operating officer. He says Hartford needs more housing for young professionals.
"The young professional who works downtown -- we hear it once we hear it a dozen times -- that the young professional wants to live downtown, doesn't want to get in their car."
Both Panagore and Klaynberg say a closing on the building is imminent. The building's current owner is the Maharishi Global Development Fund. This would be the second major development project at Constitution Plaza -- an office building is in the works at the former site of WFSB television.