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West Hartford Business Buzz: March 2, 2015

Arcadia Crossing is planned for the property currently occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph on Park Road in West Hartford. Image courtesy of the Town of West Hartford

A round-up of openings, closings, and other news about West Hartford businesses.

By Ronni Newton

Arcadia Crossing is planned for the property currently occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph on Park Road in West Hartford. Image courtesy of the Town of West Hartford

Arcadia Crossing is planned for the property currently occupied by the Sisters of St. Joseph on Park Road in West Hartford. Image courtesy of the Town of West Hartford

Happy March!

In my world, the first day of March is the beginning of meteorological spring, and despite that evil whitish stuff falling from the sky on Sunday, I unceremoniously banished all remaining snowman decorations and other vestiges of winter to boxes in the attic. (Yes, did it with a broken wrist, except my husband carried the boxes up and down the stairs.)

It’s time for spring to get down to business, too. No excuses!

Despite the weather, there’s never a shortage of West Hartford business news.

If you have tips about businesses opening or closing, or doing something worth sharing, please provide that information in the comments or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

Here’s this week’s Buzz:

  • A huge boost to the vibrancy of the Park Road neighborhood will come with the transformation of the 20-acre Sisters of St. Joseph property at 27 Park Rd. into Arcadia Crossing, a $90 million, 320-unit upscale apartment complex. Center Development Corp., which recently developed Park Place Towers in Hartford, is the developer for the project which is planned to include 40 studios, 120 one-bedroom units, and 160 two-bedroom units. Rents will range from $1,400 for a studio to $2,800 for a two-bedroom duplex. The stately chapel that is on the property now is set to remain and become the entryway and communal space. The other existing building will also remain and will be renovated, and a new five-story building as well as a two-story parking garage will be constructed. The complex will also include a swimming pool, tennis courts, fitness center, and other amenities. “It’s a huge home run for our neighborhood,” said Johnny Paindiris, owner of Effie’s Place and president of the Park Road Business Association. West Hartford’s Design Review Advisory Commission had a second reading of the plans for the project this week, and Director of Community Services Mark McGovern said he anticipates that an application for a special development district will be made this month. If all goes as planned, construction may begin in the fall with the goal of occupancy by spring 2017.
  • Craft beer is one of the latest popular crazes, and in keeping with the town’s leading-edge reputation, West Hartford now has Connecticut’s only Craft Beer Cellar. The new beer store, located at 1026 Boulevard, is part of a franchise (there are 13 others currently open), and offers 320 craft beers from 137 different breweries. According to the company’s website: “Craft Beer Cellar offers craft, micro, or artisanal brewed beers from the United States and beyond. Our mission has been to create an amazing beer store; a place with a central focus on beer, not wine or spirits. While you may not be familiar with everything on our shelves, we are confident that you’ll leave our shop with something spectacular. And when you visit us, you’ll always find a beer geek who is eager to assist, comfort, and love you, or (if you prefer) just have a chat about happenings in the beer world. We are focused on keeping our prices down, keeping our pulse on the latest and greatest beers available to you, and putting the sexy back in customer service and hospitality. So don’t be surprised if one of our knowledgeable beer geeks insists on carrying your goods to your car — that’s just how we roll.”
  • A new type of exercise facility just opened at 125 La Salle Rd. (corner of Ellsworth) in West Hartford Center. According to its website, The Strongworks, owned by Owen Drolet, “is a private exercise facility in West Hartford, Connecticut that provides one-on-one, closely supervised strength training that employs a high-intensity, slow movement weight training protocol designed around multi-joint, compound exercises that safely fatigue multiple muscles at once with minimal force placed on delicate joints.” The program is designed for people of all ages, abilities, and fitness goals.
  • As this year’s class of high school juniors looks ahead to next fall, filling out the Common App will likely be a top priority. West Hartford-based CollegePrepExpress is beginning to take applications now for a week-long summer program – the CommonApp Boot Camp. According to CollegePrep Express owner Mike Youmans, the program is the keystone of his holistic approach with his students. “In a single, Monday through Friday week, 3-hours a day, we work through every component of the CommonApp and other college applications, from the personal/demographic information to the important Activities List to the essential personal essay, to the most common Supplement Questions. Perhaps most importantly, we help students get it done before school starts (right, parents?), easing household tension and paving the way for more productive falls spent visiting schools, getting great grades, re-testing, pursuing sports and activities and community service, and enjoying senior year!” Youmans said.
  • Menswear stylist Michelle Youker sent us the following information in an email this week: “I am half English half French and I set up my menswear business two and a half years ago when I moved to West Hartford from Hong Kong. There is a huge demand for quality clothing and advice on what to wear, and I’m here for the guy who doesn’t have the time (or, perhaps, the inclination) to find clothes that fit his lifestyle or body type. And whether that means helping decipher a dress code or select the most flattering suit, I’ll always advise on what looks best for him. We’ve all had enough of this winter and are ready for spring but many guys struggle with how to change over their wardrobe for the new season. I can give a few tips on simple changes to make that will bring a refreshing change and bring some colour into our lives!

Remember, if you have any business news to share, remember to add it in the comments section below or email Ronni Newton at [email protected].

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