Hartford Business Journal

May 22, 2017

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G R E AT E R H A R T F O R D ' S B U S I N E S S N E W S w w w. H a r t f o rd B u s i n e s s . c o m For more B2B news visit MAY 22, 2017 Volume 25, Number 22 $3.00 Subscribe online Don't miss being a part of biggest sales lead generation day of the year on June 8th 2017 Introducing the ALL NEW Index ■ Week in Review: PG. 6 ■ The List: PG. 9 ■ Deal Watch: PG. 16 ■ Movers & Shakers: PG. 16 ■ Nonprofit Notebook: PG. 17 ■ Opinion & Commentary: PG. 20 FACES OF BUSINESS Dogged Persistence Cindy and Gary Wood own and operate a popular downtown Hartford hot dog joint — "Woody's" — that in recent years has become internationally renowned. Learn how a fortuitous plug on the Travel Channel revived a business that is celebrating its 40th anniversary. PG. 3 FOCUS: TOURISM Home-sharing Threat Airbnb, the online marketplace that allows people to rent their homes or apartments, has taken a chunk of business away from traditional lodging establishments, forcing Connecticut hoteliers to adjust, not only in pricing, but also in their marketing efforts. PG. 8 By Gregory Seay gseay@HartfordBusiness.com F or years, the 26-story former Bank of America building at 777 Main St. stood as an empty symbol of downtown Hart- ford's malaise as a hub for employment and urban living. Today, the skyscraper has been trans- formed with $85 million in private and public capital into 285 nearly full high-rise living spaces, with a bustling coffee shop and a food market occupying its streetfront commercial spaces. Soon, drugstore chain CVS will relocate its downtown store from across the street, to 777 Main. Bruce Becker, the New Haven architect- developer who transformed 777 Main from office space to housing, says the building symbolizes something much more positive for Hartford. "It shows that if something is worth doing in Hartford, it can get done,'' Becker said. As one of the most complicated office-to- housing conversions ever in this state, it also stands, Becker and others say, as a monu- ment to the deal-making ability and tenacity of the staff at the Capital Region Development TOWERING IMPRESSION CT's 'bridge bank' finds its stride redeveloping downtown Hartford Continued on page 11 Continued on page 14 Capital Region Development Authority Executive Director Michael Freimuth stands atop the apartments at 777 Main St. in Hartford, which proved to be one of the most complicated projects he's helped finance. P H O T O | S T E V E L A S C H E V E R 'Innovation Places' contest draws millions in private investment By Matt Pilon mpilon@HartfordBusiness.com T wo teams made up of well-known Great- er Hartford companies, colleges, non- profits and other institutions last week aired plans to invest millions of dollars in new economic development initiatives with the hopes of winning matching funds from the state's Innovation Places competition. The competition, created last by the state legislature as part of a broader effort to stimu- late Connecticut's entrepreneurial ecosystem by fostering clusters of startups to collaborate with companies and educators, will dole out up to $30 million to teams that develop the most promising job-creation projects. Last week, two competing Greater Hart- ford teams — whose participants include Travelers Cos., The Hartford, Stanley Black & Decker, Jackson Lab, Hartford Hospital, UConn, Central Connecticut State University, Goodwin College, Trinity College and others — presented their proposals to the board of Travelers President Brian MacLean says there should be an insurance-techology startup accelerator in Hartford. H B J P H O T O | M A T T P I L O N

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