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MadVlad

More small thinking by the Courant

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Today there is yet ANOTHER plea by the Hartford Courant to upgrade the XL Center (formerly the Hartford Civic Center) instead of replace it. This paper just loves to delegate Hartford to a second-tier status. Cities the size of Hartford, and smaller, have gotten new arenas in the recent past, Raleigh to name one, yet Hartford is expected to maintain its current situation which has been called a disaster waiting to happen. The Courant needs to figure out what city it's located in and look to the future, not the past...

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Does the Courant even know that the concessions, bathrooms and concourses were built for a capacity of 10,000? And after the roof collapse in 1978, 5,000 more seats were added without upgrading the aforementioned facilities? Do they know that the luxury boxes were tacked on to the ceiling in the mid-eighties making them the WORST seats in the house? Do they know that luxury boxes now drive revenues in today's sports world?

The Civic Center has been outdated for years. We are lucky it has lasted as long as it has. Its time for a new arena.

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The way I see it, Hartfords Arena could potentially be the best Catalyst for change in the downtown area.

AEG who partnered with Northland to operate the Rent and the XL center is well known for developing massive sports/entertainment districts.

I know I am a bit too optomistic some times, but I have known about AEG for over a decade as they have been very involved in MLS. Since AEG saw fit to get involved in Hartford they clearly see potential here. These are not dumb people, they see a city with immense wealth and a signifigant population with very limited entertainment options. Seriously, if you look at our population and include Springfield and such, there really are very few venues for national acts to perform. The few concerts that come here sell out immediately, and at very high prices. I spent some stupid amount to see Cirque de soleil in the XL Center last year. AEG spent 10 years supporting major league soccer, absorbing losses, owning half of the teams in the league never flinching for 10 years.

Northland has shown its interest in Hartford and they continue to presue projects that not only help the city, but change the way the city is perceived.

I am sure Eddie is calling them, or even said what he did because of a talk with AEG/Northland. The paper can "think small" all it wants. If the Mayor, the largest land owner(Northland), and one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world(AEG) are interested in building a new arena then I can assure you there will be nothing small about it. I am also sure that the state would pony up a fair share of the cost.

I would simply be thrilled if these guys built an entertainment district like AEG does in other cities. Forget front street, because AEG thinks big. http://www.aegworldwide.com/home.html This company has just exploded over the last ten years, and they have been genreally focused around getting venues built for sports teams and making their money back on event hosting in said venue.

How much was roland willing to throw at the Whalers 10 years ago?

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You are totally correct- if Northland, Perez and AEF are partnering it will bring something big. The Courant will only give it attention after everyone catches on.

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Is this you MadVlad?

http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letter...0,6042206.story

Hartford Needs To Think Big

January 11, 2008

The Courant recommends Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez abandon his idea of a new arena [editorial, Jan. 9, "Mayor Perez: Think Small"]. This is the same tired thinking that helps Hartford maintain its perpetual lapdog status to Boston, New York and even Providence. The editorial cites studies showing arenas are not good economic engines. So what? Every city, large and small, has more pressing needs than a new arena, yet they are still being built with regularity. There's something to be said for civic pride, which is significantly lacking in our great New England city. Does The Courant believe Rentschler Field to have been an unsuccessful venture? Hasn't it help put Hartford on the national stage in just a few short years? Honestly, it's a wonder it ever got built. If we are ever to drag ourselves out of everybody else's shadow, we need the vision to think big. Mayor Perez deserves major kudos for showcasing that vision. For decades, ideas have been put forth only to fall by the wayside. Hartford should be exploiting its rich historical past, and start beginning to tie that past in with some exciting, tangible projects. Constitution Plaza has been around nearly half a century and serves most notably as a nice place to string Christmas lights. Front Street was proposed a decade ago, and a decade later it moves along at a glacial pace. Incredibly, we almost lost the Old State House. Suburbs such as Manchester now offer many more things to do. There's almost nothing to do in Hartford that you can't do more conveniently somewhere else. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art? Hartford Stage? OK. But then what does a visitor do the other 363 days of the year? Thanks to Mayor Perez for having the foresight and desire to see NHL hockey back where it belongs, and also for trying to see what the capital city really can be. Now, if he could only get the Rangers organization out of Hartford.

Chris Gay

Manchester

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No, I don't write the Courant anymore, the last time I did, I started getting mail from readers that looked me up in the phone book and harrassed me. It's the same reason that I don't "sign" my posts here with my real name.

That being said, kudos to Chris Gay for a great letter to the editor.

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The editorial cites studies showing arenas are not good economic engines. So what? Every city, large and small, has more pressing needs than a new arena, yet they are still being built with regularity.

There's something to be said for civic pride, which is significantly lacking in our great New England city.

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I read that Chris Gay letter, and was wondering... alright, who from here wrote that?

My thoughts about the arena... it'd be great to have a new one. But with the already high tax burden in this state, where are you going to find the money for a new one right now? The current one is doing alright. Sure, we may not have an NHL or NBA team. Who says we can even get one with a new arena? Sure, HCC has competition from the Mohegan Sun and Harbor Yard. But that will always be there. HCC is still drawing big name events with the present structure.

If anyone wants a new arena in Hartford that badly, let them pay for it. Otherwise, keep on keeping on with the current until things start going wrong.

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I read that Chris Gay letter, and was wondering... alright, who from here wrote that?

My thoughts about the arena... it'd be great to have a new one. But with the already high tax burden in this state, where are you going to find the money for a new one right now? The current one is doing alright. Sure, we may not have an NHL or NBA team. Who says we can even get one with a new arena? Sure, HCC has competition from the Mohegan Sun and Harbor Yard. But that will always be there. HCC is still drawing big name events with the present structure.

If anyone wants a new arena in Hartford that badly, let them pay for it. Otherwise, keep on keeping on with the current until things start going wrong.

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The old HCC is already taken care of. Northland has right of first refusal and already has plans for the event that a new arena is built, and the old one is no longer needed. Those plans involve a twin tower on the opposite corner of the lot and a Rockerfeller Center type thing in between. I'm also not seeing how a new arena would result in a lack of return on the investment. Just the pure influx of people downtown for the events would be a bonus. The difference in numbers of people downtown from the Whalers days to the Wolf Pack days is night and day. People actually spent money downtown when the Whalers played, the Wolf Pack... good luck. The difference between 16k+ and 5k is, well 11k people in town 40 nights or so a year. Not sure how that kind of influx of people isn't a good investment downtown. National exposure due to a pro-sports franchise, an influx of dollars due to events, an opening of prime real estate for more residential, I'm not seeing the problem. jcrc, I love you buddy, but I have no idea what your problem with a new arena is, especially being a business owner downtown. Ask the owner of Chuck's Steak House the difference in business from the Whalers days to the Wolf Packs days, he'll tell you, that is after you go out of town to find him since his business couldn't exist downtown anymore after that...

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Honestly... I don't care about return on investment. There are certain things that are worth spending money on in order to increase the quality of life of residents and to improve the city overall. What is the return on public art? On public parks? While I do think if a new arena were to be run correctly, it would be profitable, I think the bigger issue is what it does for the city.

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MadVlad, we went through this once already. I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this issue. But here is an interesting observation. We don't see much business when UConn men are in town, but quite a bit from female Huskies. So maybe if we get a female hockey league I will be all over the arena. But only if they shower after 3 periods.

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MadVlad, we went through this once already. I guess we just have to agree to disagree on this issue. But here is an interesting observation. We don't see much business when UConn men are in town, but quite a bit from female Huskies. So maybe if we get a female hockey league I will be all over the arena. But only if they shower after 3 periods.

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Working at a downtown restaurant I would say the opposite is the case, we tend to get only a few fans in for the lady's games and are booked solid for the mens (although there haven't been any big games at the XL center yet). I think the women's game brings in more families that tend not to go to the bars/restaurants before and after the game. I would say it's similar to Wolfpack and what the Whalers used to bring in.

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The only real question is whether Hartford is better off with an arena or without one?

The current one needs to be replaced. Its infrastructure is failing. Upgrading it will be expensive and will not produce the desired ROI.

A new facility will keep Hartford in contention for first line entertainment and sports. It would be designed with modern amenities and revenue producing luxury boxes. It would serve the city for a minimum of 20-30years.

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We definitely need a new arena. I really don't see why the issue is even up for debate. The entire region and more benefit from it. There is really no alternative other than the entire state using an old arena for our largest events. It is mind boggling to me that the state does not want it replaced. What does it say about our state?

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Someone should figure out how to invite Chris Gay to join these boards. I'm sure theres an easy way but my stalking skills are limited.

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Whitepages.com and Anywho.com are excellent for stalking. :lol: If you are so inclined, one of those two websites should help you if you'd like to contact him.

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Is this you MadVlad?

http://www.courant.com/news/opinion/letter...0,6042206.story

Hartford Needs To Think Big

January 11, 2008

The Courant recommends Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez abandon his idea of a new arena [editorial, Jan. 9, "Mayor Perez: Think Small"]. This is the same tired thinking that helps Hartford maintain its perpetual lapdog status to Boston, New York and even Providence. The editorial cites studies showing arenas are not good economic engines. So what? Every city, large and small, has more pressing needs than a new arena, yet they are still being built with regularity. There's something to be said for civic pride, which is significantly lacking in our great New England city. Does The Courant believe Rentschler Field to have been an unsuccessful venture? Hasn't it help put Hartford on the national stage in just a few short years? Honestly, it's a wonder it ever got built. If we are ever to drag ourselves out of everybody else's shadow, we need the vision to think big. Mayor Perez deserves major kudos for showcasing that vision. For decades, ideas have been put forth only to fall by the wayside. Hartford should be exploiting its rich historical past, and start beginning to tie that past in with some exciting, tangible projects. Constitution Plaza has been around nearly half a century and serves most notably as a nice place to string Christmas lights. Front Street was proposed a decade ago, and a decade later it moves along at a glacial pace. Incredibly, we almost lost the Old State House. Suburbs such as Manchester now offer many more things to do. There's almost nothing to do in Hartford that you can't do more conveniently somewhere else. The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art? Hartford Stage? OK. But then what does a visitor do the other 363 days of the year? Thanks to Mayor Perez for having the foresight and desire to see NHL hockey back where it belongs, and also for trying to see what the capital city really can be. Now, if he could only get the Rangers organization out of Hartford.

Chris Gay

Manchester

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They actually posted this editorial on the City of Hartford's website along with an editorial Transit: A Ticket To Hartford Prosperity written by Eddie, which is actually really good.

If Eddie can get mass transit in place and a new arena maybe I won't remember all the failures...

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I don't know? Everytime I pass the shiney new WFSB building in Rocky Hill, I think of Eddie Perez's screw ups.

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