Connecticut lawmakers are floating a proposal that could see Hartford’s XL Center hit the block, with the arena potentially going up for sale in 2019.
The XL Center, the current home of the Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL) and former home of the NHL’s Hartford Whalers, has previously been identified as being in need of major renovations. The Capital Region Development Authority, the agency that controls the arena through a long-term property lease with the City of Hartford, has previously pitched a $250-million overhaul to the facility, but funding for improvements has been a contentious issue among officials.
On Thursday, the Connecticut State Senate passed a budget proposal that allocates $40 million this year. That expenditure covers repairs to and a purchase of a privately-owned atrium and retail space that is adjacent to the arena. With this plan, officials are hoping to make the XL Center more appealing to prospective private investors, though they say that it would go on the market in 2019 if the state cannot secure a partner. More from The Hartford Courant:
House Majority Leader Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said the thought is to purchase the space by the front entrance to the XL — now largely empty — and generate revenue to make the arena more attractive to potential investors. A portion of the $40 million also would be used for a patchwork of much-needed repairs, Ritter said.
“The thought here is that there might be a better response from private investors,” Ritter said.
If investors that would partner with the state don’t emerge, the budget plan includes a provision that calls for seeking potential buyers by June, 2019.
One attempt to attract private investors to a redevelopment partnership drew just one response earlier this year.
The $40 million allocation still has to go through other layers of approval, including the State Bond Commission. In addition to the Wolf Pack, the XL Center also hosts events for UConn athletics, including hockey and occasional basketball games.
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