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XL Center Renovation/Replacement Plans

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http://www.hartfordb.../311099983/1002

the civic center is up for bids. i am tired of hearing the idea of renovations. it has served its purpose and its time to build a new arena.

Amen to that brother. Why a market the size of ours doesn't justify getting a new arena every 40 years or so is a mystery to me. It's served us well for a pretty long time and now it's time to get a new one. These things aren't built to last 50, 60, or 70 years.

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Actually the arena/mall concept was ahead of its time and a very good idea.

 

The Verizon Center in Washington, DC has a mall attached. The Staples Center in L.A. is part of a complex that includes a mall. A propsoal for the new San Francisco 49ers football stadium embraces the stadium/mall concept. Phoenix has a football stadium/hockey arena and indoor/outdoor mall as part of the same complex. I could go on and on.

 

I know some folks make fun of the mall.  But if it is such a bad idea why is it being copied all over the country?

Edited by beerbeer

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The XL Center probably hurt UCONN's chances of getting into the ACC.

 

I gotta say, as much as I see more housing as far more cost effective for downtown Hartford (in terms if state assistance)

And as much as I see a AAA quality baseball field bringing more people downtown than a new arena...

 

A new arena would eliminate alot of the 2nd rate feel of downtown Hartford. 

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Two things....

 

1: The decision on who the operator will be announced this week, and we will find out what redevelopment plans those include.

 

2: In an article about that very same subject there was mention of the new Science at UConn thing

 

This made me think further about how the future will look and how it afects this arena

 

So they want to grow the enrollment by 30%

 

This means 30% more students to attend games and 30% more alumni minted every year.  If as the Governor hopes, this leads to more science and technology jobs in the region and therefore more people, it stands to reason that there will be an increase in UConn fans in general and better attendance at games.

 

So, this increased economic impact could lead to the need to expand the footbal stadium and build a new Arena.

 

If the Storrs Student pupulation would grow from 17,500 to around 22,750 and the Downtown pupulation would be closer to 3000

Plus add in the 9750 grad students and we got a 35000 student University rather than a 25000 Student University.

 

Those extra 10,000 Kids will go a very long way in making a new arena necessary.  They also go a long way in making Gampell even less adequate.

 

This also makes expansion of Rentschler field much more possible and that act alone makes playing bigger name teams in CT much more possible.  Its just pure economics. 

 

I really hope that Uconn is able to get us a new arena that interacts with the city and can host a pro NHL team

 

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The winner will supposedly be announced today.  The CRDA has a board meeting at 4 PM today (right now)

 

This is likely the main subject, but I suspect we might hear more about some housing projects after the board meeting.  It seems that is the way they operate.

 

 

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Spectrum Wins

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-xl-center-rentschler-decision-20130207,0,2927430.story

 

10 year deal... Wow

 

and its going to likely keep an AHL tenent in the venue based on this...

 

In correspondence to CRDA from the AHL on February 5, 2013, the league expressed its commitment to the Hartford market and their intent to work closely to retain the current AHL tenant or a new franchise for the XL Center," the memo stated.

 

as far as the potential rennovation...

Of the XL Center, the memo said: "Global's initial capital focus would be for inclusion of loge boxes in the lower bowl, additional signage and video capacity, VIP lounge in west exhibition hall, additional selling stands, expansion of concourse into vacant mall areas and upgrades to food concessions."

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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I am surprised there is no more news on this subject.

 

Maybe the storm distracted the media a bit...

 

a few things...

We should probably change the title of the thread, or make a new one called Arena rennovations.  reason being?  we will not be getting a new arena for at least 10 more years due to the nature of this contract.

 

I wonder if making a new thread is smarter, because we probably will always have a need for a new arena thread  until we get one.. :)  also if we somehow got a NHL team a new Arena would happen.

 

I want to know more about specific plans from the new operator for the Arena... and for Restschler as well!

I would really like to see Malloys UCONN plan go as planned and increase the schools size to the point of making the RENT 15,000 seats bigger and Uconn Football actually being more economically viable... also making the stadium a better draw for concerts (its really not at all right now because the meadows is designed for concerts and holds some 35K so, they always beat Rentschler on that account.

 

Dear visiting reporters.... get on it, get us the info on the true extent of rennovations, and please get us renderings :)

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I am surprised there is no more news on this subject.

 

Maybe the storm distracted the media a bit...

 

a few things...

We should probably change the title of the thread, or make a new one called Arena rennovations.  reason being?  we will not be getting a new arena for at least 10 more years due to the nature of this contract.

 

I wonder if making a new thread is smarter, because we probably will always have a need for a new arena thread  until we get one.. :)  also if we somehow got a NHL team a new Arena would happen.

 

I want to know more about specific plans from the new operator for the Arena... and for Restschler as well!

I would really like to see Malloys UCONN plan go as planned and increase the schools size to the point of making the RENT 15,000 seats bigger and Uconn Football actually being more economically viable... also making the stadium a better draw for concerts (its really not at all right now because the meadows is designed for concerts and holds some 35K so, they always beat Rentschler on that account.

 

Dear visiting reporters.... get on it, get us the info on the true extent of rennovations, and please get us renderings :)

 

I think a separate thread for XL Center renovations makes the most sense. We will need a new arena until we get one. A 10 year deal does seem long and I really need to look into the details of the contract more. If the state did decide to build a new arena before the end of it, I wonder this agreement would be impacted? Whatever renovations they have planned can't possibly be enough to lure an NHL team. There is no way I can see it making sense to pour that amount of money into the XL Center instead of building new.

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http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20130606/NEWS01/130609873

http://courantblogs.com/ct-real-estate/upgrades-to-hartford-xl-center-expected-to-begin-this-summer/

 

some highlights from both articles

$35 million in upgrades coming to the arena

 

 

$7 million,to upgrade XL Center's HVAC system, which should help lower energy costs.

 

$2 million to increase concessions with the hopes that event goers will spend more money on food and drink.

 

improvement could include premium suites lower in the arena

 

 

“Loge” seating — not as expansive as the suites — also is possible

 

a signature bar area-(I am thinking this could be something like a Sam adams bar or a Thomas Hooker bar for that matter.  based on the term signature)

 

 

more digital screens in the arena bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

In addition, the legislature approved $3 million for improvements to The Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford.  $2 million — will go towards a new score board,

 

The balance of funds will be used for upgrading concessions, lighting and locker rooms

 

 

 

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Looks like the writing may be (hopefully) on the wall for the XL Center. Sounds like the plan is to fix it up to last 10 more years and get a plan together for something else after that. Hopefully, they move it to North Downtown and redevelop the XL Center site. This is something I've seen done with a few downtown arenas, using the arena to reconnect the downtown to marginal neighborhoods just outside of Downtown.

 

The only way anything is going to happen on those surface lots anytime relatively soon, will be with another Adriaen's Landing type development. That was built around the convention center, this next one should be built around a new arena.

 

 

http://www.courant.com/business/hc-xl-center-renovations-0905-20130904,0,4060897.story

 

"The thought here is this is what we have to do to make sure the building has 10 years of productivity left," Freimuth said.

New Arena? New Site?

The state-funded study assessing the XL Center's long-term viability could conclude that the existing arena, built in 1975 and expanded after a roof collapse three years later, could be made over into a state-of-the-art venue, or rebuilt elsewhere, as some have suggested in the past.

CRDA's report ticks off obstacles facing the XL Center in a decade. The building has one-third the land needed for a modern facility and is 185,000 square feet smaller than the average AHL arena, and expansion options are limited. No matter how much money is spent, only so much can be done with the layout, such as the narrow concourse. And it will not "achieve major league (NHL) acceptance," the report says.

"Such an exercise, however, is beyond the immediate and will require a more thorough understanding," the report says.

 

 

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Courant Editorial from today.

 

http://articles.courant.com/2013-09-05/news/hc-ed-civic-center-20130905_1_new-arena-xl-center-downtown-hartford

 

The study is essential. As CRDA said in its report to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, there must be a long-term vision to avoid sending good money after bad, to keep investing in a building that is well beyond its useful life. It may be possible to create a state-of-the-art facility on the current site, but its relatively small size argues against it. If we ever want another NHL team, it starts with a venue. The prospect of a new arena will open a discussion of where to put it.

Let's agree now that it be downtown.

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I found it funny that an edditorial popped up so quickly

 

anyways, I think everyone on here would like to see some solution determined and maybe even worked towards.  as long as that solution is downtown.

 

 

 

I think we all know something needs to be done with the building, and that the state really needs that economic engine too.  so, what to do?

 

If it is all state funded I think I need to suggest a sports authority... wait I did that several years ago and now there kind of is one in CRDA (ill take credit even though im sure it wasnt me ;) )

 

anyways, CRDA needs to now be given the right to add a $0.50 per day rental car tax in Hartford County and also the same tax per room night

 

those funds will go towards the Sports authority

 

also add in some minimal tax on Arena tickets or concessions or something

 

the point being... Make it a 10 year long tax with a finite ending  

Make it 100% for arena financing

make the number SMALL!

 

the end result will be that over 10 years a reasonable sum would be built up in the coffers that could at least be used to help support whatever comes next.

 

I think the old arena study included some of this in the how to finance section.

 

I know I would like to see some pre planning investing.  I mean if it is an eventuality, lets start financing it now, put a down payment on it so to speak, that way, when its time to "go for it" it wont be a huge hit, just a partial hit.

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http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-womens-basketball/hc-jacobs-column-1015-20131014,0,4821851.column

 

Interesting commentary here.

 

I think it is pretty accurate even though I think the timing stinks.

 

I think in 5 years Hartford will be much better positioned to compete, but really, especially for the womens tournament, the Casino has the perfect venue.

 

Sadly though I think it has a smaller economic impact for the state if held there and thats a shame.

 

 

 

 

This ultimately makes me think back to a new arena!

it also makes me think about the arena they are building in Detroit.

 

that is actually what Hartford needs, a commitment from a developer to build a pretty massive associated development with the state covering most of the arenas actual cost.  the result is an impressive complex that will be vibrant even when there are not games happening.

 

So, Hartford is tiny compared to Detroit, and the Wolfpack are NOT the Red Wings...

But a less glitzy arena it absolutely an option.  Build something for Uconn like Louisville did for the U of Louisville.

Build something for the school and essentially buy their commitment to Hartford long term.  Also get a developer to commit to building up the associated area up to make it more vibrant.

their arena is gonna cost 444 Million, Im thinking the 350 million range would be plenty for Hartford.  add in even 150 million in additional development and that would be a game changer for the area just north of I-84.

 

Get another developer lined up for the current arena site and move forward.

 

would the state need to pny up?

yes, would the tax payers shoulder that burden?  yes

 

but when it comes down to it, its for the good of the state and the region to have a large arena downtown.

 

one suitable for Concerts, UCONN, Events, Hockey, and maybe even a professional team, but the arena would be worth it even if just for one Mens NCAA regional or the promised land of a Final four.

 

The investment in the convention center has been paying off for certain, and a new Arena would pay off as well.

 

But do it right, make sure its not just an arena, make sure its a district and inclides parking garages and public spaces too.

 

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http://www.courant.com/sports/uconn-womens-basketball/hc-jacobs-column-1015-20131014,0,4821851.column

 

Interesting commentary here.

 

I think it is pretty accurate even though I think the timing stinks.

 

I think in 5 years Hartford will be much better positioned to compete, but really, especially for the womens tournament, the Casino has the perfect venue.

 

Sadly though I think it has a smaller economic impact for the state if held there and thats a shame.

 

 

 

 

This ultimately makes me think back to a new arena!

it also makes me think about the arena they are building in Detroit.

 

that is actually what Hartford needs, a commitment from a developer to build a pretty massive associated development with the state covering most of the arenas actual cost.  the result is an impressive complex that will be vibrant even when there are not games happening.

 

So, Hartford is tiny compared to Detroit, and the Wolfpack are NOT the Red Wings...

But a less glitzy arena it absolutely an option.  Build something for Uconn like Louisville did for the U of Louisville.

Build something for the school and essentially buy their commitment to Hartford long term.  Also get a developer to commit to building up the associated area up to make it more vibrant.

their arena is gonna cost 444 Million, Im thinking the 350 million range would be plenty for Hartford.  add in even 150 million in additional development and that would be a game changer for the area just north of I-84.

 

Get another developer lined up for the current arena site and move forward.

 

would the state need to pny up?

yes, would the tax payers shoulder that burden?  yes

 

but when it comes down to it, its for the good of the state and the region to have a large arena downtown.

 

one suitable for Concerts, UCONN, Events, Hockey, and maybe even a professional team, but the arena would be worth it even if just for one Mens NCAA regional or the promised land of a Final four.

 

The investment in the convention center has been paying off for certain, and a new Arena would pay off as well.

 

But do it right, make sure its not just an arena, make sure its a district and inclides parking garages and public spaces too.

I agree but the final four will not come to hartford. recently the final four has been hosted in indoor football venues because it could hold more people.  It could of happened if the state built the domed stadium at the convention center site after the patriots debacle. I would like the ncaa tournament in hartford again because it would be a way for hartford to redeem itself when it screwed up hosting part of the tournament in the mid 90's.  

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I really do feel that the answer to both the arena and north downtown questions should be development of a mixed-use arena district located north of I-84.  If properly designed, it would be a safe, stable extension of downtown that would reconnect the north end to the fabric of the central business district.  The public safety complex being there already is a huge positive.  This would essentially be Adriaen's Landing II, so it will not be easy to get the support and funding required.  However, I think this absolutely needs to happen. 

 

I'm really concerned with some of the talk of building a smaller arena though.  Hartford's arena needs to be the premier venue for CT and Western MA.  That has to be the mindset.  We are not looking to fill the same niche as the arenas in Worchester, Springfield, Providence, and Bridgeport.  We are looking to compete with venues in Newark, Kansas City, Louisville, and Memphis.  

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Yeah, I guess we should start with getting a regional and better concernts and things like that.  More importnalty we should give UConn a premier home.  They are a top 10 basketball program both Mens and Womens.  therefore they should have an appropriate home.

 

The Arena district could be a HUGE draw to the area, and I agree it needs to be a full sized arena.  even if only for Uconn and concerts.

 

Start the conversation at 17-18,000 seats

Add a Hotel to the Arena

Deck over the highway and make it a plaza for Arena crowds. Include a parking garage if signficant size to replace the surfact lots AND feed the arena.

 

Throw a couple hundred apartments above some retail... maybbe a small ammount of opffice space... Heck what about a new City Hall?

The Placa could serve both the arena and the City hall.  win win. 

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according to the recent CRDA meeting minutes,

 

They are looking to include adding a bar area for General admission guests.

 

this is a smart move.  I mean we all go to bars before and after games, so why only serve people in the boxes? 

 

Basically, the arena should have a nice sports bar in in..

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http://www.theuconnblog.com/2013/12/4/5173270/life-after-gampel

 

Hartford is in real danger of losing UConn hoops, in my opinion. That would be a disaster for the city. The Wolfpack are irrelevant. They will certainly not fill the void felt by Downtown if the Huskies stop coming. There are many UConn fans who would love for all home games to be on campus and as the XL Center becomes more decrepit and obsolete, that sentiment only grows and grows. Needless to say, if we had an arena like Louisville or Memphis, people would probably be more excited to see a game in the city. UConn will renovate Gampel and add boxes and seating capacity. They will probably decide to make it hockey ready. If Hartford and the state of CT don't make a compelling case to keep games Downtown, I think this would be a very bad development for sports entertainment in the city. Hartford needs a new arena plan ASAP.

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http://www.theuconnblog.com/2013/12/4/5173270/life-after-gampel

 

Hartford is in real danger of losing UConn hoops, in my opinion. That would be a disaster for the city. The Wolfpack are irrelevant. They will certainly not fill the void felt by Downtown if the Huskies stop coming. There are many UConn fans who would love for all home games to be on campus and as the XL Center becomes more decrepit and obsolete, that sentiment only grows and grows. Needless to say, if we had an arena like Louisville or Memphis, people would probably be more excited to see a game in the city. UConn will renovate Gampel and add boxes and seating capacity. They will probably decide to make it hockey ready. If Hartford and the state of CT don't make a compelling case to keep games Downtown, I think this would be a very bad development for sports entertainment in the city. Hartford needs a new arena plan ASAP.

 

The Gampel cannot be made hockey ready.  And I believe that for basketball it has already been increased from eight thousand to ten thousand.  The only way to put in boxes would be to reduce seats.

 

UConn does have plans for an new ice rink on the campus for the hockey team.

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it would be an absolute discrace if Hartford were to lose UCONN hoops

 

I think that if the community could rally around the school and build them the facility they deserve that it would benefit both UCONN and Hartford.

 

I also gave to say that I think that the school does not really want to leave downtown, they do hold commencement in Gambell too right.  I mean its an important facility and will surely need to be upgraded regularily. 

 

anyways

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I think that we are already starting to see a shift towards hosting big games on campus and ho-hum games downtown. They have a game in Bridgeport this season and will continue talks to have games in Mohegan in years to come, further diluting the games available for Hartford. The fact is that going to a game at the XL Center doesn't feel like a major event, like it used to. I don't think there is anything that can be done to get that feeling back in that building and if Hartford wants to host marquee match-ups in the future, we will need a nice facility for them to be held in. If Hartford wants to make a play at NCAA regionals or early season tournaments or even the AAC tournament, we will need a new facility.

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I dont disagree in the need for an arena.

 

I will say though that with the rennovations planned UCONN needs to give the facility time.  this also allows them time to spread their market to all of CT and not just Hartford.  I think its a fine move in general for UCONN

 

the thing is though as you said the city needs to at some point, before it is too late secure a permanent home for UCONN

 

UCONN if you remember is interested in Hartfords success right now... they are investing in the city with that fund raising house as well as moving a campus downtown.  I dont think they would cut off their nose to spite the face.

 

I think this is a good time for them to spread their brand around the state.  Whenever a new building is lined up I suspect UCONN will embrace it.

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