State Agency Exploring Downsized Version Of XL Center Renovation
With legislative support for a $250M "makeover of the XL Center a non-starter," the state-run Capital Region Development Authority is "exploring a downsized version that would eliminate the biggest expense: adding a second concourse," according to Kenneth Gosselin of the HARTFORD COURANT. The CRDA has asked N.Y.-based SCI Architects and New Jersey-based consulting firm Stafford Sports to "develop options for a makeover" that could cost between $75-100M. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, a longtime supporter of a "full-blown renovation, attempted in the last legislative session" to secure $100M for XL Center, but the push "went nowhere." CRDA Exec Dir Michael Freimuth said that the "scaled-down version would have a similar goal as the grander vision: make the money-losing arena profitable." Without the addition of a second concourse to the upper level, Freimuth said that a "scaled-back renovation would likely split the arena into two halves." The lower half would be "converted into premium seating ... reflecting the trend in modern arenas placing the best seats closest to the action." Freimuth said that premium seating could have its "own amenities and restrooms thereby eliminating much of the need to walk into the concourse during events, cutting down on congestion." The upper half of the arena would "remain general admission, but to further cut down on congestion, the concourse would be pushed out into the existing atrium outside the existing entrance off Trumbull Street" (HARTFORD COURANT, 9/10).