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February 20, 2023 / 2023 Power 50

2023 Power 50: 13. Michael Freimuth

HBJ PHOTO Michael Freimuth is the executive director of the Capital Region Development Authority.

Michael Freimuth is perhaps one of Hartford’s most important deal-makers. 

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 12-person 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 lent to 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 is also working to reach a public-private partnership deal with Oak View Group to invest an additional $100 million in the aging XL Center arena.

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. 

Find out who else is in the 2023 Power 50.

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