Thursday, September 9, 2010

Courant Reports Aetna Complex Will Be Demolished

The Hartford Courant is reporting that Aetna will demolish its 1.3 million square foot Middletown headquarters, but will hold the property for future development.

13 comments:

Man of the town said...

My hope is that some business or businesses move into that space in the next few years. Great location off a major highway in between New Haven and Hartford.

Tough day for the Middletown taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Another fine example of wasted tax-payers money. The State of CT and all its rich cronies should be out trying to attract new business to the state and offer tax credits to potential tenants if they use this facility to conduct business. Why not turn it into a mall, a community college for training unemployed, under-employed CT workers. Since I moved to this state in 1988 I have witnessed the "Land of Milk and Honey" scribble to a dried up prune. Middle-class people drive this crazy capitalistic machine so if the rich want to continue to get richer then they better make sure the underclass has the income to fuel the beast. Stop being greedy and give opportunity to the needy.

Professor Rich Lenoce said...

It's hard to believe and sad they can't find a use. I worked there 10 years, was on some of the inside design teams and now am at the community college. It would have made a great multi-use educational and business facility. Perhaps Middletown High School could have moved there partnered with the CC or magnet school in one facility with room for business incubator and the like. Would make a great shopping mall too. What better location--off 91 between Htfd and NH with exits and traffic flow meant to move lots of people. The inside is nothing short of spectacular auditorium, lecture halls, conference rooms, offices,classrooms, athletic facility, medical center, high tech infrastructure, The building materials were superb--Spanish granite, Haitian Mahogany parkay flooring. What a waste since in building terms it is almost new and we spend millions in tax payer dollars to build huge facilities.

Anonymous said...

Oh, we really need another mall! But yes, this property is in a prime location to be used for something...what a waste.

Anonymous said...

Yes, actually we do need another mall. I'm sick of spending my money everywhere but in Middletown.

Rich L is so right--the place is a palace. Why couldn't we have considered using it for the new Middletown High School, partnered? What a great idea...does anyone know if that was considered? Or maybe this was the right site for the Army training facility?

We can move mountains to relocate the Army off of Boardman Lane but we can't find a way to save the Aetna palace?

I feel a bit disappointed that our past and present state and local leaders and the city planning director could not find a way to make this facility work for Middletown. We all knew this was coming yet we still cannot stop the train wreck?

This is just so wrong--such waste and lost opportunity. Tell me it isn't too late!

BCFire said...

Am I missing something here? How is this City, State, or Federal governments fault? Where is the waste of taxpayer monies? It is a PRIVATELY owned facilty which Aetna moved around to shell companies to avoid paying taxes. The building layout fits no other purpose, and was not on the table when the High School was being built. If the State had stepped in and wanted it, people would have screamed it was a waste of tax dollars. Aetna has chosen to demolish it instead keeping it. What the waste was the tax savings the City gave them for the promise of building it in Middletown. It is Aetna's issue, not the City of Middletown. From what has been posted in the news, the City attempted every avenue it could to find a tenant. Just another Insurance company move to avoid being a good citizen. Thats my take on it, and a real shame.

Man of the town said...

The last thing we need is a community college "especially with how the state compensates" the city now for other state facilities.

It is a industrial zone and needs a tax paying business and not some park, or school which doesn't help the tax base in Middletown.

Anonymous said...

Respectfully to BCFire, I do think you are missing something here. We have known Aetna was closing for many years (including during the time when we were siting a new high school which cost taxpayers quite a lot of money to build new) and yet our state and local leaders and our city planner couldn't find a way to make this facility pay before it gets torn down? How has this site been marketed for economic development? I have heard nothing about what efforts have been made to attract a new corporation. It is our responsibility to do this since we are the ones with our neck sticking out. Taking advantage of "opportunities" (or turning lemons into lemonade) is one of the things that a creative elected state and local leadership and professional planning director is supposed to do. It is true we would get less income if it were Payment in Lieu of Taxes from the State but at least it would be income!

We have a huge hole to fill in Middletown's tax base now because of this and we knew it was coming for a long, long time. I think we should expect more in the future from everyone, including our corporations. But no one can't say that Aetna didn't give plenty of fair warning. They did.

BCFire said...

Well I still cannot see how it's the City's fault it does not get filled. I'm certain Aetna would have wanted to "sell" and not become a landlord. The building's layout is not conducive to a High School. Besides the fact, if it was turned into one, it would have cost much more to change the layout, buy the building, and become a landlord. Besides the fact it would have come off the tax roll with City ownership.

How can the City "plan" for something they do not own? Seems to me that the planner's job is to set zone's, and determine what types of residential and business mixes benefit the tax base within the City not find suitable buyers and or tenants. Even after it is torn down, Aetna will still own the property which will become more attractive to potential buyers. They control it's destiny, not the City.

Cost is the bottom line. 170 million for the building and property in addition to who knows what to build a pool, athletic facilities, classrooms, and all the supporting parts of a high school. Never mind the wasted space which would have had to be filled. With all due respect, I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.

Brian said...

It would make a damn fine mosque!

Anonymous said...

To say that the Aetna building is not conducive to any use other than it's intention is just plain wrong. I worked on the Aetna "Move Crew" for 7 years and can say that the building was specifically designed so that semi-permanent to permanent walls could be installed easily so any pod could be turned into whatever Aetna needed. For those who say you can't have a school in there--there was a school in there, we put it up! 40 classrooms in Pod A alone. Want stores, offices? it can and was done. Whether it's businesses generating tax dollars or education that generates educated people who generate taxpayer dollars, any use would benefit the town more than what it will now be used for---nothing! Generating nothing except a big hole in the ground. A real real waste!

Anonymous said...

BCFire is correct. People talk like it is a building to be used for whatever the state or city suggest. Up until a month ago the building was owned by GE Capital and leased to Aetna. GE Capital, a worldwide real estate investor, walked away from this "prize" of a building because its 1.3 million sq.ft. would be impossible to lease. Now that Aetna took the building over they have concluded the same. The value is in the computer center and the land. The city retains 1/3 of the taxes Aetna paid because the computer center stays and the city is now perfectly positioned to work with Aetna to plan a development which fits this market.

Though we all speak of its value, as a real estate investment in Middletown, I would rather own a vacant 2 family home than this building. A 2 family can be cleaned up and leased and generate income. The Aetna building has no income possibility, has huge carrying costs and will cost $5 million to demolish. GE Capital and Aetna real estate experts agree.

To give some perspective the Army Training facility is 180,000 sq.ft. on 40 acrea and the high school is 200,000 sq.ft.on 70 acres..the Aetna is 1.3 million sq.ft. on 264 acres.

Anonymous said...

I think we are all a little bit correct. BC, can you agree? Cuz I kinda like ya style of debate.