Officials are issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for Hartford’s XL Center, marking the latest step in the procces of seeking a buyer for the venue.
The aging condition of the XL Center, which originally opened in 1975, and how to address its future has been a topic of considerable discussion in recent years. Calls to commit public money into an extensive renovation have not been met with much support from Connecticut lawmakers, and now an effort is underway to sell the facility.
In a sign that that process is moving forward, an RFP for the purchase of the arena was issued on Monday. The RFP has been issued by the Capital Region Development Authority, with the intention of finding a buyer that will continue to operate the facility. More from The Hartford Courant:
The Capital Region Development Authority is issuing the “request for proposals” for the purchase of the aging XL Center in hopes of attracting a buyer that would relieve taxpayers, at least in part, of the costs for operating and upgrading the arena.
One bidder — Oak Street Real Estate Capital, a Chicago private equity firm — already has stepped forward with an unsolicited bid.
In addition, “we’ve gotten two or three pokes, but we don’t know if they will manifest themselves,” Michael W. Freimuth, executive director, said.
Freimuth said the state is not pledging to devote funds for improvements as part of the RFP, but “the state could be a player. I would think honestly whatever proposals come in, it would require some state participation.”
This is the latest step in what is expected to be a longer process. Responses to the RFP are due on June 29, and a selection committee will be tasked with reviewing the proposals. There will be additional steps from there, including approval from the Hartford City Council, as the city owns the downtown arena.
XL Center is perhaps best known as the former home of the NHL’s Hartford Whalers, but it has remained an active venue for sports and other events since that franchise relocated to North Carolina in 1997. It is currently the home of hockey’s Hartford Wolf Pack (AHL), and hosts events for UConn athletics.