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Connecticut wants $2M over Patriots reversal on stadium site
Published March 6, 2000
The New England Patriots' brief flirtation with Hartford, Conn., will probably cost the NFL more than $2 million as the league winds down negotiations with Connecticut officials seeking to recoup losses related to a failed effort to lure the team to the state.
Connecticut officials, stung by the loss of the Patriots, want to recoup tax dollars spent on preparing the Hartford site from the Patriots and the NFL.
Negotiations, which involve the state, the league and the Patriots, continue, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said.
Connecticut officials are seeking about $2 million for tax revenue spent in preparing a site in downtown Hartford for a new publicly funded Patriots stadium that was to serve as the anchor of a $1 billion development called Adriaen's Landing. In late 1998, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, frustrated by the lack of progress for a new stadium in Massachusetts, agreed to relocate to Hartford after officials offered to build him a $374 million stadium. Terms of the deal called for Kraft to keep all stadium revenue from the 68,000-seat facility. But in May 1999, Kraft abruptly changed his mind, saying delays in preparing the Hartford site for construction made the project unfeasible.
At the same time, Boston-area business leaders, with help from NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, helped broker a less-attractive stadium deal that keeps the Patriots in big-market Boston. A few weeks later, the Massachusetts Legislature approved $70 million in public funds for a new stadium in Foxboro. Voters approved the plan for a $250 million stadium in December, paving the way for construction to begin on the stadium this spring.