GHartford

Bring Back The Whale!!!

1057 posts in this topic

This appeared in the AP today. I've heard Pittsburgh mentioned as the most likely franchise to relocate. Is this the opening we need???

Dec 11, 1:58 PM (ET)

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Penguins owner-captain Mario Lemieux said he is doubtful that the team will remain in Pittsburgh after its Mellon Arena lease expires in 2007, citing a lack of progress on a new arena.

The Penguins are projecting a $7 million loss this season, a figure that assumes the team will draw near-capacity crowds and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

"I think we're really running out of time," Lemieux said Saturday. "We probably ran out of time already. It's been unfortunate that the city and the county haven't been willing to work with us over the last two or three years."

Lemieux has said for several years that the Penguins would not be able to survive in Pittsburgh without a new arena. Mellon Arena is the oldest and smallest arena in the National Hockey League.

The lease allows the team to solicit offers for the franchise beginning in June 2006. Kansas City is among the cities that have expressed interest in the team.

"We'll sit down with everybody and understand what's at stake for our investment and what's best for the franchise" when the board of directors is scheduled to meet this week, Lemieux said.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Well, having already lost a team, I would hate to take someone else's team, especially a team with rich history like the Penguins. That being said, if it comes down to it, it would be in Hartford's best interest to inquire about the team. Also, the problem is, there are cities that already have brand new arena, like OK City and KC. That would hinder us in our persuit for a team, only our history with the NHL, and our status as an established fan base could give us an edge....

Edited by MadVlad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well with Hartford21, somebody should push for more upgrades/renovations/new building right around the civic center as good motive for a push to get the team.

This would be awesome.

But id hate the hype and letdown again, like when the Pats were talking about hartford.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree Vlad. I wouldn't want to steal anyone's team, but if the team plans on moving, we need to get moving. Plus, what poetic justice it would be if we got the team who the Whale traded its future to (Ronnie Francis and Ulfie) back in the late 80s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I just wasn't a big enough fan, but does Hartford really have the base to support a hockey team? I would think that a Basketball team would fare better. But I may be way off on this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe I just wasn't a big enough fan, but does Hartford really have the base to support a hockey team? I would think that a Basketball team would fare better. But I may be way off on this.

You're not way off, Basketball would be great and make much more money in my opinion. But we definately had/have enough Hockey fans to support the Whalers. While they were consistently bad they had some of the best attendance records in the league always. One thing that killed them was that at the time they were not really televised outside of Hartford County, whereas today Most of CT would probably be able to watch. I am a total advocate of Big Time Pro Sports in Hartford and know that the market could easily support the NBA, NHL, or maybe even the NFL. MLB, never.

But to answer you question, Yes, we definately have more than enough Hockey fans to make it work. The attendance that the Hurricanes are getting in NC is pathetic compared to what it would be in Hartford.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nothing I would love more then to have the whalers back. However, any thoughts without a new arena being even a blip on anyone's radar is probably futile. That being said, a replacement for the civic center should be being considered, regardless of any NHL plans. We so need a new arena, one that can better serve hartford for local events, UConn hoops, and maybe someday some professional athletics. Any rumblings out there on this?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Think of it this way, we had the worst team (over time) that the NHL had ever seen, and we still had over 9k per game even in the lean years. The last couple years, we were drawing almost full capacity, AND the numbers were skewed, Compuware didn't count the skyboxes because they didn't get revenue from them (does that mean the people don't exist?). Add a few hundred more per game, on average. And look at the Wolf Packs numbers, they are going down over time. Why? Because people gave them a shot, and came to a conclusion: after eating steak (albeit grissly steak) for so many years, they just can't stand hamburger. It's hard to get excited when it's the Providence Bruins coming to town instead of the Boston Bruins. Not even close, energy-wise. Hartford can, and should, be the home of another NHL team...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


According to the news last night, and the Courant this morning, Northland is looking into building a publically-subsidized arena in downtown Hartford, and would like to buy an NHL franchise to play there. "We've got our own money, we're willing to invest in an arena, and we're willing to buy a team", that according to Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, who I'm assuming is the CEO of Northland.

The bad news is he plans to make it a 16,000 seat Arena, which wouldn't cut it in this day and age, imho. However, he also said he'd work with Howard baldwin if possible, possibly add another tower where the current Civic Center is, and add a skating rink. We need to get this guy on this board...

Northland to build new Arena: Hartford Courant story

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the news last night, and the Courant this morning, Northland is looking into building a publically-subsidized arena in downtown Hartford, and would like to buy an NHL franchise to play there. "We've got our own money, we're willing to invest in an arena, and we're willing to buy a team", that according to Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, who I'm assuming is the CEO of Northland.

The bad news is he plans to make it a 16,000 seat Arena, which wouldn't cut it in this day and age, imho. However, he also said he'd work with Howard baldwin if possible, possibly add another tower where the current Civic Center is, and add a skating rink. We need to get this guy on this board...

Northland to build new Arena: Hartford Courant story

Great news, but I'm not too high on the proposed location (north of 84). They say the 'footprint' is too small where it is - maybe build it to the south of Front St. over the Whitehead hwy??

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I love the location. Very accesible and very visible.

Edited by malikr65

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the news last night, and the Courant this morning, Northland is looking into building a publically-subsidized arena in downtown Hartford, and would like to buy an NHL franchise to play there. "We've got our own money, we're willing to invest in an arena, and we're willing to buy a team", that according to Lawrence R. Gottesdiener, who I'm assuming is the CEO of Northland.

The bad news is he plans to make it a 16,000 seat Arena, which wouldn't cut it in this day and age, imho. However, he also said he'd work with Howard baldwin if possible, possibly add another tower where the current Civic Center is, and add a skating rink. We need to get this guy on this board...

Northland to build new Arena: Hartford Courant story

The problem with this plan is the "publically-subsidized" part. The current Civic Center is a publically-funded money-loser, the new Convention Center will be one within a few years after the novelty wears off, why should the city and / or state dump money into another one? Do the benefits really justify the costs? Why not just demo the current Civic Center, build more residential and retail on the site, and NOT build another arena? Or maybe put a retractable roof on Rent Field (another subsidized monster) in East Hartford and let that serve as a replacement for the demo'd Civic Center.

I really like everything Northland has done in Hartford, but I continually question the wisdom of huge publically funded structures like the Convention Center and the Civic Center which lose millions, and provide minimal (if any) benefit to the life of the city.

BJE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BJE -- Arenas are important loss leaders for cities, like public parks. They are import for quality of life. People hold arenas to standards that they would never hold to parks and the land they consume.

According to your argument--- Look at all the money the city is losing in Bushnell Park. Imagine if they sold Bushnell Park, that would really help balance the books!

Further, arenas not only enhance the the quality of life for residents by providing a venue for entertainment, they are an ammendity that comes into play when businesses are looking at locations. They also enhance the real estate value around the arena which is another hidden plus for tax rolls.

By any measure this is an interesting proposal by Northland. To rule out subsidies is shortshighted at best and damaging at worst, especially since Northland wants to develop the existing arena site into a Mini-Rockerfeller Center.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BJE -- Interesting you mention Rentschler Field. That's only spurring about TWO BILLION DOLLARS worth of investment on a site that sat falllow for 40 years.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with this plan is the "publically-subsidized" part. The current Civic Center is a publically-funded money-loser, the new Convention Center will be one within a few years after the novelty wears off, why should the city and / or state dump money into another one? Do the benefits really justify the costs? Why not just demo the current Civic Center, build more residential and retail on the site, and NOT build another arena? Or maybe put a retractable roof on Rent Field (another subsidized monster) in East Hartford and let that serve as a replacement for the demo'd Civic Center.

I really like everything Northland has done in Hartford, but I continually question the wisdom of huge publically funded structures like the Convention Center and the Civic Center which lose millions, and provide minimal (if any) benefit to the life of the city.

BJE

With all due respect, I couldn't disagree with you more my friend. Cities need big budget projects to survive and grow. Even money losing ones. If cities like Atlanta and Boston did not have convention facilities and arenas, what class of city would they be in? Now ask yourself the same question about Hartford. We, as a metro, are a certain class of city population wise. There are certain amenities that are required. A capital city, in a rich state, which has had the premier venue for sports and entertainment in CT for the better part of the last 50 years just cannot, and justifiably will not ever be an arena-less city. Sometimes things have to be publicly subsidized, that's just how it is in this capitalist society. Investers only want sure bets. In my humble opinion, we NEED a new arena and it needs to be larger than 16,000 capacity, and I am sure it will be. I think this number is so people don't get scared and think the plan is unreasonable.

I shutter to imagine Hartford without the Civic Center over the last 25 years, imagine all of the lost revenue and exitement with no Uconn or big concerts Downtown. To me, that would be a nightmare. Let's pray that not to many other people feel that we can do without an arena in Hartford.

I really like the location for the proposed new one, it will get development jump started on that side of Downtown.

^^By the time I was done typing you guys had already jumped on this. That's pretty funny.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I would love to see the arena built over I-84 and keep the main entrance on Trumbull Street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love to see the arena built over I-84 and keep the main entrance on Trumbull Street.

I'm afraid that psychological barrier would still be there - I'm all for developing North of 84, but most people won't park at a new Civic Center and then walk over to Downtown either before or after an event (look at the Meadows for example - they though people would swarm into the city for events, and it only happens to a small degree). I like the 'over 84' idea, or how about fitting it in somehow where the Clarion / Channel 3 / empty plaza is?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with this plan is the "publically-subsidized" part. The current Civic Center is a publically-funded money-loser, the new Convention Center will be one within a few years after the novelty wears off, why should the city and / or state dump money into another one? Do the benefits really justify the costs? Why not just demo the current Civic Center, build more residential and retail on the site, and NOT build another arena? Or maybe put a retractable roof on Rent Field (another subsidized monster) in East Hartford and let that serve as a replacement for the demo'd Civic Center.

I really like everything Northland has done in Hartford, but I continually question the wisdom of huge publically funded structures like the Convention Center and the Civic Center which lose millions, and provide minimal (if any) benefit to the life of the city.

BJE

The current Civic Center is losing money because the team that once supported it has left the building and it's over 25 years old in the middle of a huge citywide transition. It has not always been this way. The Civic Center at times was the linchpin that spurred a lot of development and action for the city. It was even used as a media center for the 96' Presidential debate. I'm surprised it's done as well as it has since the Whalers left and the redevelopment all around it going on. You are siting several items in total speculation such as the convention center being a "money loser" and RF being a "money loser" with no real basis or data to back up those claims. Others have already made the point of the neccesary evil of these types of venues even if they do pose some burden to the city and state.

I think the current below grade "bowl" of the Civic Center would be simply perfect for a Rockerfeller type skating rink and would indeed open up the artery from the West side of the city to the East side developments essentially continuing the flow of Pratt street right over to the collection of restaurants, bars, and dance clubs by Union Station.

The other areas that come to mind for something like this would be the Colt Park area or perhaps one of the parking lot areas near the Bushnell where it's just a short stroll through the park to downtown after an event. Anyone know of any viable areas over there that can be used?

Unfortunately I agree that I84 has isolated much of North Hartford. Whenever I go to an event at the Expo center or the Meadows I just never find a reason to make the trek into downtown. Not sure why.

P.S. Hello everyone, I've been lurking on this forum a lot and reading but recently decided to post. I live on the Bolton line of Manchester and own a small automotive fabrication/manufacturing business located in Wallingford. I've always been a hard line supporter of Hartford even when everyone said the city was "dead". I can recall with glee the plan Robert Fiondella rolled out back in 1998 for the developement now taking place.

Having lived in several "Southern" cities and traveled around most of the country I can see many areas we have to fix but also many areas we take for granted that other areas of the country simply will never have. I really hope the trend continues and Hartford picks up where it left off in the late 80's and becomes the large independant city in New England outside of Boston it was on track to become. I truely saw Hartford as competing with Boston as a major metro area back in the 80's and not Worcester and Providence as it is today. The city is a huge corporate powerhouse - more so than any other city in New England for the most part and has the potential to be an "Indianapolis" or a "Cleveland" or a "Charlotte". I hope we can continue to turn the tide.

Thanks for having me here. :thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the lot known as 12B is perfect. People already park over there and walk to the civic center and downtown. I mean we are literally talking about a 2 minute walk people. The meadows is far from Downtown in comparison, so there is really no comparison. If it were built on or near 12B it would serve to reincorporate this area with the rest of Downtown, because it is actually Downtown already. It just doesn't seem like it. If they re-do the Crowne Plaza and do some infill on the other surface parking, as I suppose they would have to do to build a new arena and complimentary development. That area could turn completely around with this proposal. This idea gets the Tycoon stamp of approval for sure. I mean the GA Dome, Philips Arena, Turner Field, and GA World Congress Center are all around the corner from Downtown ATL and the so called "hood." I mean are people in CT so affraid? It never ceases to amaze me.

Edited by HartfordTycoon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The $250 million could come from a variety of public and private funding sources, Gottesdiener said. One way the deal could be structured would be with $150 million in tax-exempt government bonds, $75 million from state or other government grants and $25 million in cash from Northland."

So Northland is only risking 10% of the total project? I don't mind public financing, but I think the primary beneficiary should risk more than that. Why not update the current Civic Center? It would probably cost a lot less than building a new one. Plus what will happen to the current Civic Center if a new arena is built and Northland decide not to do anything with the Civic Center. Hartford will have another eyesore to deal with. Or maybe structure the public finance so that Northland has to buy Civic Center and build a Rockefeller Center Lite with its own money?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the lot known as 12B is perfect. People already park over there and walk to the civic center and downtown. I mean we are literally talking about a 2 minute walk people. The meadows is far from Downtown in comparison, so there is really no comparison. If it were built on or near 12B it would serve to reincorporate this area with the rest of Downtown, because it is actually Downtown already. It just doesn't seem like it. If they re-do the Crowne Plaza and do some infill on the other surface parking, as I suppose they would have to do to build a new arena and complimentary development. That area could turn completely around with this proposal. This idea gets the Tycoon stamp of approval for sure. I mean the GA Dome, Philips Arena, Turner Field, and GA World Congress Center are all around the corner from Downtown ATL and the so called "hood." I mean are people in CT so affraid? It never ceases to amaze me.

Good point about being a couple blocks away. I suppose I would find myself just walking across the overpass heading to dinner after an event or whatever vs having to drive in from the Meadows or the Expo Center.

Afraid? Not this guy who grew up in Waterbury's North end. ;) I personally was speaking more from a lazy standpoint of not wanting to walk 3 miles into downtown. :P

Wasn't Channel 3 suppose to do some kind of media center at 12B as an alternative of them moving out of Constitution Plaza? I could of sworn I read that in the HBJ (Hartford Business Journal)

Edit: Just found this so nevermind.

Meanwhile, in August, WFSB reached a deal with Hartford to relocate from its home at Constitution Plaza to a $20 million facility on a 3.3-acre site known as 12B on the northern fringe of downtown.

But it backed out of the agreement last month, saying the site was too small.

"The city put an attractive deal forward," Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez said. "We wish them well."

Hale said the station needs to move out of its nearly 50-year-old home at 3 Constitution Plaza. It would have stayed in Hartford had it found a suitable location, he said. The Rocky Hill site is more than twice the size of the site Hartford offered the station.

Whatever...

Edited by JayHass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BJE -- Arenas are important loss leaders for cities, like public parks. They are import for quality of life. People hold arenas to standards that they would never hold to parks and the land they consume.

According to your argument--- Look at all the money the city is losing in Bushnell Park. Imagine if they sold Bushnell Park, that would really help balance the books!

Further, arenas not only enhance the the quality of life for residents by providing a venue for entertainment, they are an ammendity that comes into play when businesses are looking at locations. They also enhance the real estate value around the arena which is another hidden plus for tax rolls.

By any measure this is an interesting proposal by Northland. To rule out subsidies is shortshighted at best and damaging at worst, especially since Northland wants to develop the existing arena site into a Mini-Rockerfeller Center.

I think there's a huge difference between quality public infrastructure (like public parks), which I deem to be extremely valuable, and publically supported businesses, like civic / convention centers, football stadiums, etc. etc.

You mentioned Bushnell Park -- that's a piece of infrastructure that adds value to everything around it, and has for over 150 years. Pretty good investment. Does the Civic Center do that? If it ever did, it certainly doesn't anymore, considering it's ripe for demolition after only 30 years or so.

I agree that arenas and ballparks contribute to the perceived quality of life of a metro area, but I think they should pay their own way, like other entertainment businesses, and I don't think they should be a high priority for urban sites, given the amount of land they consume. DT Hartford could be very successful without any of these structures, if they were still available in the metro area. I strongly support Northland's concept of a [taxable] "mini Rockefeller Center" in place of the current Civic Center, just without bothering to build a new [subsidized, tax-exempt] Civic Center elsewhere in downtown.

I don't oppose all subsidies entirely. Used sparingly, I think TIF (tax increment financing) districts and BIDs (business improvement districts) are good strategies for targeted development. But every subsidized project makes it harder for non-subsized projects to compete, and reduces the amount of public money that could be spent differently, or maybe not spent at all (when businesses scout for locations, by the way, LOWER TAXES are 10,000 times more important than a spanking new Civic Center).

BJE -- Interesting you mention Rentschler Field. That's only spurring about TWO BILLION DOLLARS worth of investment on a site that sat falllow for 40 years.

Pratt & Whitney closed the airport in 1995, and donated the land to the state soon after that. Considering that construction on the football stadium started in 2000 or so, design and permitting probably began 3 or 4 years before that, so it doesn't appear that the site sat ignored for any length of time, much less 40 years. Furthermore, even if 2 billion dollars worth of [subsidized] investment happens there, how much of it is simply stealing from [unsubsidized] business elsewhere in the region? As in the publically-funded deal to move IMG from downtown Hartford to Rent Field...

I'm not surprised that I'm in the minority in supporting a new Civic Center, etc., but I think Hartford needs to get off the subsidy addiction ASAP. I concede that it was probably neccessary to get Hartford on an upswing, but the biggest negative in our region's vaunted quality of life is our high taxes and high public indebtedness. The more we can do to reduce that, the better.

BJE

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pratt & Whitney closed the airport in 1995, and donated the land to the state soon after that. Considering that construction on the football stadium started in 2000 or so, design and permitting probably began 3 or 4 years before that, so it doesn't appear that the site sat ignored for any length of time, much less 40 years. Furthermore, even if 2 billion dollars worth of [subsidized] investment happens there, how much of it is simply stealing from [unsubsidized] business elsewhere in the region? As in the publically-funded deal to move IMG from downtown Hartford to Rent Field...

I'm not surprised that I'm in the minority in supporting a new Civic Center, etc., but I think Hartford needs to get off the subsidy addiction ASAP. I concede that it was probably neccessary to get Hartford on an upswing, but the biggest negative in our region's vaunted quality of life is our high taxes and high public indebtedness. The more we can do to reduce that, the better.

BJE

Agreed on the lower taxes issue, but I'm sure project subsidy is a very small piece of that. I'd rather deal with binding arbitration through government pensions LONG before I stiffle some help for a development in downtown.

Morever, projects such as a convention center or civic center almost need subsidy in their nature as they have never really been huge profit makers on their own but are a key piece of a city. I'd much rather see a subsidy go to a civic center than a big wig developer just trying to cash in a little larger than he would without it.

I can think of several items off the top of my head that drove people to downtown via Civic Center this year for events that you wouldn't think of...a graduation ceremony for Central CT University, Symphony on Ice (A Christmas charity event), a UCONN game, Autoshow, a Home show etc etc. Even in a downward state the Civic Center still brings traffic to downtown and has become home for events in the city. Hartford needs a center and if we are going to "renovate" the 25 year old current structure that is losing money and the developer wants to make something of that same space which will benefit the city it seems like a no brainer to me.

Edited by JayHass

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good point about being a couple blocks away. I suppose I would find myself just walking across the overpass heading to dinner after an event or whatever vs having to drive in from the Meadows or the Expo Center.

Afraid? Not this guy who grew up in Waterbury's North end. ;) I personally was speaking more from a lazy standpoint of not wanting to walk 3 miles into downtown. :P

Wasn't Channel 3 suppose to do some kind of media center at 12B as an alternative of them moving out of Constitution Plaza? I could of sworn I read that in the HBJ (Hartford Business Journal)

Edit: Just found this so nevermind.

Whatever...

Wait a second! The site isn't big enough for a TV station, but is big enough for a 16,000 seat arena? What exactly was Ch. 3 planning to put there???

Here's another thought - stick it where the science center is planned, then move that to 1/2 of the empty Front St. site along w/housing/retail/clubs!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

JAYHASS- I too live on the manchester/bolton line in manchester- Welcome neighbor

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.