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Business up as young professionals flock to apartments in Hartford

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HARTFORD -- Downtown Hartford is arguably seeing a resurgence.

The city has seen a host of luxury apartment complexes recently crop up, including the Capewell Lofts. The 72-unit complex is housed in the old Capewell Horseshoe Nail Company.

"Since the 80s, it's been vacant," said Jeff Ferony, a partner in Trio Properties, which manages the building.

"It looks like a whole new world now, it's tremendous," said Ferony.

Ferony said demand for the building has been greater than anticipated, and he expects the building to be full in a few months.

"The high ceilings and the big windows, it's really fantastic, it's really unique," said Ferony. "And I don't think we have a lot of that in Downtown Hartford right now."

Some Hartford restaurants are crediting the influx of luxury housing as a reason for doing well in the city.

The popular Bloomfield gastropub, Republic, recently opened a second location in Downtown Hartford. Jared Cohen, a partner in the business, said he was initially skeptical about a Hartford location, but came around.

"The apartments that were being built, the Hartford campus for UConn, it just became more and more of something, an idea that could work," said Cohen. Republic At The Linden is now participating in Hartford Restaurant Week.

"Busier than our normal week for sure," said Cohen. Cohen said business has been steady, even on weekends when the work crowd leaves.

"Whatever stigma there might've been about Hartford is being erased," said Cohen.

Sandwich shop Toasted has also invested in Hartford and is optimistic about its growth. The business began as a food truck in Bushnell Park in 2013, and has since expanded to storefronts on Asylum St. in Hartford and the UConn campus in Storrs.

"I do believe in the vibrancy and sort of the comeback of the city," said Toasted's owner, Debbie Ravive. Ravive also credits the increase in luxury apartments with the downtown's success.

"There's a lot of movement in Hartford, with people moving into these high-end, more luxury apartments," said Ravive.

Uber Eats is also investing in Hartford. The service recently expanded into the area, offering customers takeout delivered via Uber drivers.

"Having this sort of young professional model moving down to Hartford, they'll use Uber Eats," said Revive.

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