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Faced with persistent downtown retail vacancies, Hartford officials are loosening restrictions on the types of tenants that can take up ground floors in downtown buildings.

According to a filing with the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, downtown landlords report ongoing struggles filling storefronts at the same time they struggle to find tenants for the office space above.

“Several” of those same landlords have come to city planners asking for permission to lease out their retail spaces to “office uses,” the filing states.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic office-based businesses across Hartford have shifted towards hybrid and work from home employment structures. While the City’s goal is to cultivate greater ground story service and retail uses in these zones, Staff believe allowing ground floor office uses in these zones would not impede these efforts,” planners wrote.

The change, which CT Insider reports was approved, will allow regular office uses as well as medical offices. It will apply to downtown store fronts and in the “Main Street-1” zoning districts along parts of Park, Walnut and Main streets, plus Farmington and New Britain avenues.