November 29, 2017

CRDA set to pick Dillon Stadium developer

Dillon Stadium in Hartford.

The Capital Region Development Authority on Thursday is expected to choose one of three proposals to renovate Hartford's Dillon Stadium.

The companies vying for the multimillion dollar redevelopment include Civic Mind, the Hartford Sports Group, and Hartford City FC, which have each outlined different visions for the project.

CRDA is a quasi-public state agency and it will recommend to the city of Hartford which project it thinks is the most economically viable.

The Hartford Sports Group (HSG) has proposed spending up to $10 million to recruit and manage a United Soccer League franchise. They have estimated it would take up to $10 million to renovate the stadium but are looking to the CRDA to provide that funding. They plan to bring in the USL as anchor tenant and such media partners as ESPN and Sirius XM Radio.

Led by Bruce Mandell, the renovations would include parking and artificial turf. HSG would also partner with the city of Hartford and the CRDA, which would manage the venue.

The Hartford City FC proposal is led by Aaron Sarwar, who proposes to bring semi-professional soccer to the stadium and leverage $650,000 of private financing for renovations that are estimated to cost $400,000. The city would maintain public control of the stadium and neither the city or state would pay for the work, Sarwar said. The organization would also provide "reasonable" maintenance to stadium facilities and phase-in improvements.

Its partners include Henkel and Armstrong Rockwell.

Civic Mind would develop the stadium in three phases, first focusing on local, regional

and statewide games and tournaments. Phase II would upgrade the venue to NCAA standards for use by universities and private tenants. Phase III would involve exploring retail uses and "other development opportunities" in the surrounding neighborhoods of the Coltsville Historic District, according to the plans.

Civic Mind also would partner with the Friends of Colt Park and the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Association. The organization led by TJ Clynch was selected in 2013 to redevelop the stadium, but was later terminated from the project. The amount of funding Civic Mind would invest in the project is $1.5 million.

The Nov. 30 meeting is planned for 6:15 p.m. in meeting room 14 at 100 Columbus Boulevard.

CORRECTION: HSG's estimate for the cost of renovations would be covered by the CRDA.

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