Introducing our Get Up Get Out and Explore CT Municipalities series, where we spotlight local cities and towns throughout Connecticut. We encourage you to get up, get out, and explore new places and things to do that help support our region.
Projected to be the Hartford Region’s largest suburb by 2025, the Town of Manchester is proudly one of Connecticut’s most diverse communities. Family incomes vary widely and include a broad base of middle-income households and higher and lower-income earners. Manchester’s median age is 35.4, which is lower than the Hartford County and Connecticut medians and roughly a third of Manchester’s population is between the ages of 25 to 44 years old.
Quality of Life
Manchester provides a unique mix of city and suburban amenities, including a vibrant downtown, a regional shopping center, and a diverse housing stock featuring multi-family rentals and single-family homes at a range of prices.
Manchester’s neighborhoods offer a variety of ownership and rental housing opportunities affordable to a range of families and incomes. The town’s historical physical development pattern and unique architecture help create the charm of a classic New England industrial village turned small city.
The range of neighborhood styles in Manchester includes traditional grid street, pedestrian-oriented mixed-use neighborhoods built between 1860 and 1920, streetcar suburbs of the 1930s, post-WWII tract housing developments, and the recent wave of luxury rental apartments and larger single-family homes.
Manchester’s housing stock has remained comparatively affordable, with prices ranging from $150,000 to more than $400,000 for single-family detached homes and $55,000 to $250,000 for condominiums. Rents for a one-bedroom apartment range from $800 to $1,400 per month
Supporting the Business Community
One of the most impactful ways Manchester supports its business community is by being the first town in Connecticut to own and operate its own coworking space, art gallery and meeting center.
WORK_SPACE is a launching pad and home base for all kinds of startups, consultants, artists, non-profits, and entrepreneurs and a driver of vibrancy, entrepreneurship, and creativity in downtown Manchester. WORK_SPACE hosts a Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) business advisor, which enables them to offer no-cost assistance to any small business in Manchester.
Collaborative partnerships between WORK_SPACE, The Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the CTSBDC, the Downtown Manchester Special Services District, and the town’s Department of Planning and Economic Development help foster communication with local businesses and provide networking, programming, and educational events. One example is the Manchester Feedback Loop, a bi-monthly gathering of Manchester tech companies and other interested parties in Connecticut to support industry growth, innovation, and each other.
Manchester’s Downtown 2020 initiative is intended to build upon the existing human energy and business strength of the central business district through public and private investment in projects, such as:
- Zero Interest Loan Program – A program designed to fund building code improvements and provide financial assistance for transformative projects by focusing on addressing the code and/or access issues when it can be demonstrated that they are the primary barrier to expanded or enhanced use of the space that would add jobs, value, economic vitality, and taxable asset appreciation to the downtown.
- Tax Relief – The 2020 initiative included a reorganization of town and special services district responsibilities, resulting in a reduction of the additional downtown mill rate by approximately three mills.
- Capital Projects – To create more vibrant public space downtown, Manchester is developing a capital projects plan for the district to improve walkability, expand outdoor dining options, create a stronger sense of place, and make downtown Manchester a destination for businesses and visitors.
Manchester is a forward-thinking community open to progress and change and, as the region’s commercial and cultural hub east of the river, welcomes local medium- and large-sized businesses.
Manchester also supports the business community by providing an efficient land use permitting process led by professional staff. The town is generally able to permit projects well under statutory time limits and provide coordinated support for any size projects.
In addition, Manchester is proactively seeking available state and federal funds for the assessment and remediation of brownfield sites to return them to productive use.
Out and About
Downtown Manchester offers a unique mix of 20 local restaurants, a wide variety of professional services and retailers, and WORK_SPACE, Manchester’s municipally owned and operated coworking, meeting, and gallery space.
The town also hosts annual events that draw excitement and attendance from the community and beyond, including:
- Manchester Road Race (second largest road race in New England after the Boston Marathon)
- Silk City Fest
- Cruisin’ on Main
- Off-Main Experience
From Case Mountain to Charter Oak Park to Wickham Park, Manchester offers many accessible outdoor spaces for the community to play in and explore. Manchester’s park system includes more than 1,060 acres of open space and public parks; numerous ball fields, courts, indoor recreation centers, and pools; and a Greenway System with 76.5 miles of bike trails. Manchester also has roughly 109 miles of formal and informal trails.
Manchester’s historical and rich arts, music, and culture scene in Manchester features creative spaces, installations, and establishments, including:
- Little Theatre of Manchester
- MLK Mural Installation
- Imagine Main Street
- Manchester Band Shell
- The Great Northwest Faerie Trail
- Spruce Street Gallery
- Galleries at WORK_SPACE
Town of Manchester Accolades
- Sustainable CT – Bronze certification, 2019
- Money Magazine, Best Place to Live in Every State, 2017
- Connecticut Economic Development Association, Best Practices in Land Use and Economic Development’ certification, 2019