Aerial view of Hartford-Brainard Airport
Hartford-Brainard Airport has been a landmark in Connecticut’s capital city for over a century. Built in 1921, it became the country’s first municipal airport and supported the community in a variety of ways since, from welcoming insurance executives to town to providing a training facility for World War II pilots. As Hartford’s economy changed, some started to see the airport's potential for different uses. In August 2021, Hartford’s City Council passed a nonbinding resolution to decommission the facility.
Goal: Economic Growth
So what comes next? To help answer this question, the City hired WXY Studio, supported by Karp Strategies, in March 2022 to create a visioning plan for the airport's redevelopment. The goal was to identify potential options that would encourage economic growth for Hartford and its residents over the next five to ten years.
Karp Strategies analyzed Hartford's economic landscape and real estate dynamics. The team both dug into the data - across retail, real estate, and socioeconomic metrics - and conducted interviews with regional real estate experts to ground quantitative trends in lived realities. Findings informed WXY’s recommendations for conceptual site redevelopment based on the viability of different potential uses and their capacity to spark economic growth.
Future Outcomes for Hartford-Brainard Airport
The resulting visioning plan offers exciting possibilities for Hartford-Brainard’s future. Specifically, the study identifies four possibilities: keeping the airport; building a logistics and distribution center; redeveloping for mixed-income housing, office, retail, and entertainment venues; or creating a hub for advanced manufacturing, research, and development focused on the aviation industry.
You can read more about the Hartford-Brainard Airport Redevelopment Visioning Plan in two recently published articles, “Hartford-Brainard Airport could be redeveloped three different ways if airport were closed. See what a new study envisions for the century-old airfield,” (Hartford Courant, January 8, 2023) and “Consultants outline four possible futures for the 200-acre Brainard Airport site” (Hartford Business, January 7, 2023). You can also read the report itself “The Hartford-Brainard Airport: A Visioning Plan for the Future” here.