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June 12, 2023 Power 25 | Real Estate

2023 Power 25 Real Estate: Michael Freimuth

Michael Puffer | Hartford Business Journal CRDA Executive Director Mike Freimuth providing a tour of the XL Center.

Michael Freimuth is widely known and well regarded as the steady and capable hand behind the quasi-public Capital Region Development Authority, an agency that has been a prime mover for Capital City redevelopment.

Since its launch in 2012, the agency has used about $150 million in state funding to leverage $665 million in housing development, yielding roughly 2,800 new apartments by Freimuth’s accounting.

Most of that state funding went out as low-interest loans that helped make the arithmetic “pencil out” for developers. That also means most of the money is slowly returning.

The agency’s work extends beyond Hartford. For example, it has been an active player in East Hartford’s efforts to revitalize its long-deteriorating Silver Lane commercial artery.

The CRDA is also responsible for managing the XL Center, Rentschler Field, Connecticut Convention Center, Front Street Entertainment District, Hartford Regional Market and several public garages.

Freimuth’s agency works with developers on a constant churn of proposals and projects. Last year, it oversaw completion of 89 apartments in the Sage Allen development along Temple Street in downtown Hartford, as well as the debut of 97 apartments above the historic Pratt Street retail district nearby. CRDA also helped finance a 270-unit apartment building that opened next to Dunkin’ Park in 2022.

This year, the agency aims to finish the stalled sports-betting venue under construction inside the XL Center. Freimuth also recently outlined a $107.2 million renovation plan for the aging XL Center, in hopes of securing private funding from Los Angeles-based sports and live entertainment company Oak View Group to help offset some of the costs.

CRDA and OVG have been in negotiations that could lead to the company contributing millions of dollars to the project through an agreement that extends its management of the facility another 20 years.

Among the many projects Freimuth and his staff will continue to advance is the creation of a new neighborhood on parking lots south of Bushnell Park, additional apartments around Dunkin’ Park, the transformation of a former downtown state office building on Elm Street into 169 apartments, and more.

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