Parkville's Property: Who Influences Development?

A Case Study on a Hartford, CT Neighborhood

by Victoria Asfalg, BA Trinity College '23

in partnership with Zoe Chatfield, MA Clark University '23

Last updated on March 13 2023

for an independent study with Prof. Jack Dougherty
Trinity College, Hartford CT, USA


Walking through Parkville today, you might be drawn to Parkville Market, Connecticut’s first food hall, with a variety of scents and flavors from cuisines around the world. Or you might notice Gather55, a pay-what-you-can restaurant serving up meals prepared by professional chefs. Or maybe your attention will be caught by the Curioporium, a museum-esque store full of oddities and legends. But what you might not know about these businesses, unless you have lived in Hartford for a while, is that all of them are less than a decade old.

In the past 20 years or so, Hartford's Parkville neighborhood has seen significant change. I sat down with Clark University Master's student Zoe Chatfield to further discuss the change that is happening in Parkville. Her thesis is on how Hartford’s housing has shaped Parkville. We wondered, who is behind this change? What are their intentions? To answer these questions in a meaningful way, I decided to create a data story with original visualizations that would supplement Zoe's thesis. The broad goal of this data story is to answer these questions: How has the housing landscape of Parkville changed? How has commercial development in Parkville changed? Who influences development in Parkville? and, more importantly, What are their visions and goals for this neighborhood? Are these visions and goals being met?

Who Owns Residential Property in Parkville?

The following table shows the top residential property owners in Parkville, sorted by the total number of living units owned. Something interesting to note from the data is that Dorothy Apartments LLC owns the most in property value and owns the second largest number of living units, but does not own the most parcels. This led me to question how the data should be sorted upon opening the table, as I grappled with what makes someone the biggest landlord. The reason I decided to sort the table by living units, rather than by appraised value, is because several parcels have an appraised value of $0. Sorting the table by number of living units greatest to least makes this apparent on the first page of the table. Try sorting the table by the other columns (by clicking the column header) to further explore the data.

Note about the data: Same names with different spellings were modified to match each other (example: Santos Joaquim Espirito and Santo Joaquim E were changed to match Santo Joaquim Espirito) so that individuals would not be treated as multiple people by the spreadsheet formulas.

Because mixed use buildings are at least partially residential, the table includes all property owners who own both strictly residential buildings and mixed use buildings. Explore the following interactive map to see where the top 10 landlords own property.

How Has Parkville's Residential Property Changed?

The following table shows the total number of properties in the Parkville neighborhood that have changed since 2003. There are roughly 1000 total parcels of land in the Parkville neighborhood, and of these only 89 have changed in the past 20 years, which is equivalent to less than one percent of all parcels. The most common change in Parkville was non-residential structures becoming a different type of non-residential structure. These non-residential changes will be discussed further below, in the section about commercial property.

Another significant change was that 5 non-residential parcels became mixed use buildings. The total number of living units added by this change alone is 19. However, the total number of living units in Parkville added since 2003 is only 7, because other parcel changes have reduced the number of living units. So while the types of housing available in Parkville may be significantly different than they were 20 years ago, the total number of housing units has not changed much.

Explore the following map to see exactly where these above mentioned changes have occured. Notice the increase in mixed use developments, shown in dark pink.

Who Owns Commercial Property in Parkville?

The 2nd Largest Commercial Property Owner in Parkville Also Owns Significant Residential Property

The below table shows the top commercial property owners in Parkville, sorted by number of parcels owned. Similar to residential ownsership, there is a significant presence of LLCs owning commercial property. A new owner that might stand out is the State of Connecticut, who owns 6 parcels.

You might notice the prevalence of LLCs in the dataset. I decided to not modify the data and keep the "owner" for each property as the LLC listed in the Tax Assessor's database, instead of looking up the individual through CT's database of business owners, because there were so many LLCs in the data. Something important to note, however, is that many of these LLCs are owned by one individual: Carlos Mouta. Mouta also happens to be the founder and CEO of Parkville Management, a real estate development and management company based in Parkville, so it is important to bring attention to the fact that even though he may not be listed as a top property owner, he has significant influence over the development of this neighborhood. For a full list of businesses with Carlos Mouta listed as the principal, click here.

How Has Commercial Development Changed?

In the past two decades, Parkville has seen significant changes to its landscape. The below storymap takes you through recent commercial and mixed use developments in Parkville, shown roughly from northwest to southeast. Notice how most of the commercial development is focused around the northeast section of Parkville, along Bartholomew Avenue. It should be noted that this is significantly different from how residential development has been taking place in Parkville, as there appears to be no single specific area of the neighborhood that residential development is taking place. Open the full version of the storymap here.


In order to create the maps, I used data from the Hartford Assessor's Office, which I was able to obtain through Zoe (who contacted the Assessor's Office before I began this project). This dataset, which can be found in this Google sheet, contained many variables that I knew I would not need for this project, so I started cleaning up the data by copying the datasets to new sheets and removing the columns I did not need. I knew that if I made a mistake and accidentally deleted a column that I did need, I did not have to worry, because I was only modifying the copies of the data, and anything I needed from the original data I could easily find.

After cleaning up the assessor's data, I downloaded a GEOJSON file of all of the land parcels in Hartford, and trimmed it to just the Parkville neighborhood using Mapshaper. I then converted this GEOJSON file to a CSV, so that I could modify it more easily. I then used a variety of formulas to match the Parkville parcel data with the data from the assessor's office. Conveniently, each parcel has a GIS Pin, which was also present in the Assessor's dataset, so using VLOOKUP I was able to match each parcel with the attributes I desired.

To make the data tables on property ownership, I first manually cleaned up the same data I used for the maps by checking for any alternate spellings of same owners. Some examples that come to mind are Joaquim Espirito Santo (which was mentioned above) and State of Connecticut Department of Transportation (which was sometimes abbreviated to "State of Conn Dept of Trans" and sometimes left in full). I then used a pivot table to calculate the total number of parcels owned by each owner, as well as the sum of the appraised value of all properties owned, and the sum of all living units within owned properties.


A big thank you to Professor Jack Dougherty in the Educational Studies department at Trinity College for his book Hands On Data Visualization, which was my primary reference for this study and immensely helpful. I'd also like to thank him for meeting with me throughout the course to answer any and all of my questions.

Thank you also to Clark University Graduate Student Zoe Chatfield, who was my partner for this project. She was incredibly helpful throughout the course of this independent study, and I hope this data story serves as a valuable supplement to her thesis work.

A third and final thank you to Ilya Ilyankou, who was the evaluator for this independent study and the co-author of Hands On Data Visualization. He was incredibly generous for taking time out of his day to meet with me for this project.

Works Cited

Dougherty, Jack and Ilyankou, Ilya. "Hands-On Data Visualization".

City of Hartford. Hartford, CT. Parkville Municipal Development Plan. Adopted 26 May, 2009

City of Hartford. Hartford, CT. Parkville Strategic Plan. 10 January 2011

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