September 8, 2016

Hartford Radisson Hotel linked to E. Hartford casino proposal

JCJ Architecture, Hartford
JCJ Architecture, Hartford
Conceptual exterior rendering of Radisson Hotel linked to casino.

The developer of a proposed $200 million East Hartford casino is looking to add the Radisson Hotel Hartford to his plans.

Developer Anthony J. Ravosa Jr., a member of Silver Lane Partners LLC, which has proposed the East Hartford casino at the former Showcase Cinemas site, said his firm has exclusive rights to broker a deal between the owners of the Hartford Radisson Hotel on Morgan Street and MMCT, the Mohegan-Mashantucket Pequot joint venture authorized to seek a site for Connecticut's third casino, to add a "non-gaming" hotel site to their casino proposal.

Ravosa said rights were negotiated between his organization and 50 Morgan Hospitality Group LLC, owner of the Radisson, along with parent company, Inner Circle Hotels of Orlando, Fla., a claim the property owner confirmed.

The legislature still has to weigh in on approval of a third casino in the state. MMCT spokesman Andrew Doba said Thursday there is no set deadline for the tribes' decision on where to locate a third casino.

"It's a very intriguing proposal, one that certainly merits full consideration as we continue to evaluate locations for the project," Doba said.

Ravosa said the hotel would be flagged with signage and lighting along the Hartford skyline as an "iconic, electrifying and striking Times Square-style landmark."

The property, already in the midst of renovations, could also be linked with shuttles to a third casino, and sits at the junction of I-91 and I-84, Ravosa said.

Property owner 50 Morgan Hospitality Group/Inner Circle is currently converting the hotel's top eight floors into approximately 100 apartments, while downsizing the configuration of the hotel to about 150 rooms, but it is early enough to modify those $6.5 million plans if necessary to fit in with the envisioned casino connection, Ravosa said.

Working in tandem with MMCT, the current Radisson owners would be prepared to entertain any of the following scenarios, according to Ravosa:

1. "Condominium-ize" the hotel space offering it to MMCT for outright sale

2. Enter into a lease (or lease with option to buy) with MMCT as hotel operator

3. Pursue a potential transaction with a third-party development entity/hotel operator (MMCT) "joint venture" partnership interested in acquiring, renovating, managing and operating the hotel portion of the property

4. Explore the possibility of working with Inner Circle to simply renovate, reposition, rebrand / reflag the hotel.

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