The Capital City Economic Development Authority is seeking a new developer for the Front Street development in downtown Hartford, which is part of the Adriaen’s Landing project that also includes the Connecticut Convention Center and Marriott hotel (above) currently under construction.

Three companies have put forward their names as possible partners for the development of Front Street, the downtown Hartford entertainment, retail and residential project that has been plagued by delays after the state parted ways with its original developer.

The Capital City Economic Development Authority, the state agency that oversees parts of Hartford’s downtown revitalization, is seeking a new developer because Front Street’s original developer pulled out of the project last August after disagreements over how much money the state would contribute.

Officials at CCEDA hope they are now back on track with the interested developers. CCEDA spokesman Dean Pagani would not say which developers submitted the information that the state had requested by last week’s deadline, but according to a Hartford Courant article that was published last week, the list of interested developers includes Newton, Mass.-based Northland Investment Corp.; Stamford-based The Spinnaker Cos.; Birmingham, Ala.-based Daniel Corp.; Bethesda, Md.-based BOS Group; and a joint venture between CBL & Assoc. of Waltham, Mass., and Realty Resources of Rockport, Maine.

The three developers that met the state’s deadline did not turn in specific proposals for Front Street, but submitted information about their credentials and their approach to the project, Pagani said. CCEDA hopes to choose one or more developers to work with the state and fulfill its vision on Front Street.

“Our first goal would be to select at least one developer … and enter into negotiations,” Pagani said.

At least one of the companies that showed initial interest in the Front Street project is already heavily invested in downtown Hartford. Northland Investment Corp. is building a 36-story tower of 262 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments. That development, called Hartford 21, is also going to incorporate some retail space, including stores that will support downtown living, such as dry cleaners, boutique shops and possibly a grocery store.

‘Pillars of Progress’

CCEDA turned down four proposals for the Front Street space in October because of some shortcomings, but the new selection process is well under way. The state is contributing about $70 million to the Front Street project.

But other downtown developments that CCEDA is part of – such as a couple of apartment buildings and the civic center – are on schedule, Pagani said.

Had the original developer, Richard Cohen and Capital Properties, developed the $150 million project, it would have been done at the same time as the nearby convention center, which is set to open this summer. As it stands, CCEDA now hopes to have it done as soon as possible, but will take extra time to make sure it chooses the right developer for the project, Pagani said.

“[We want to get it done] ASAP, but we really don’t have a timeline anymore,” Pagani said.

The state wants the Front Street development to include an entertainment and retail district as well as residential units, with a probable focus on entertainment. ESPN has a firm commitment to the project, and likely will create a partnership with a restaurant and open a venue as part of the project.

“The thinking is that it’s going to be smaller-scale retail, probably more entertainment-based,” Pagani said.

Officials hope the Front Street development – which is on the riverfront section of Adriaen’s Landing – will, along with other projects, help revitalize Hartford and turn the city’s downtown into an area that no longer falls asleep when the commuters leave at the end of the workday.

Entertainment will be a key component, but the biggest piece to that puzzle will come from having more people living downtown, Pagani said. There are slated to be more than 200 residential units attached to the Front Street project, and those – along with CCEDA’s other residential projects – should eventually bring about 1,000 people to the downtown, Pagani said. There are also private developments in the works that, combined with the state’s projects, are expected to double the population of Hartford’s downtown.

Adriaen’s Landing – including the Front Street project – is part of former Gov. John Rowland’s “Six Pillars of Progress” that are intended to revitalize downtown Hartford. Hartford 21 is taking the place of the city’s old Civic Center. In addition to the retail and residential components of the project, there will be 93,000 square feet of office space, 800 parking spaces and a 35,000-square-foot public space with a 50-foot-high atrium and entrance to the 16,600-seat Veterans Memorial Coliseum, according to documents from Northland Investments.

Adriaen’s Landing includes one of the biggest parts of the revitalization. The Connecticut Convention Center is being developed on the easternmost edge of downtown Hartford and will overlook the Connecticut River. It will be the largest convention facility between New York and Boston, with more than 145,000 square feet of exhibition space, according to CCEDA’s Web site.