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June 29, 2023

Bond Commission set to approve $340.2M for projects, including Founders Plaza redevelopment

Contributed A rendering shows what a possible development on the site of the demolished Showcase Cinemas multiplex in East Hartford would look like.

The State Bond Commission is expected to approve $340.2 million in funding for projects across the state when it meets Friday morning.

The agenda includes a $6.5 million request for abatement and demolition of buildings at Founders Plaza in East Hartford, including the former McCartin School and three adjacent buildings. 

A developer has proposed a mixed-use project that includes hundreds of apartments, along with new restaurants, entertainment, office space and passive recreation.

The commission is also set to redirect about $7 million previously allocated for redevelopment of East Hartford’s Silver Lane and Rentschler Field corridor for construction of new apartments at the former Showcase Cinema site. At least 300 units are planned for the 25-acre site.

The agenda also includes $4.85 million earmarked for renovations to the state Capitol complex, including skywalk upgrades, hearing room renovations, carpeting, technology upgrades, and other improvements and repairs.

The commission is also expected to approve $9 million for the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Small Business Boost Fund - formerly known as the Small Business Express Program – which includes establishing at least one minority business revolving loan fund. 
The loans can be used by eligible small businesses for acquisition or purchase of machinery and equipment, construction or leasehold improvements, relocation expenses, working capital, loan guarantees, loan portfolio guarantees, portfolio insurance and grants.

Loans from the minority business revolving loan fund range from $10,000 to $500,000, with a maximum interest rate of 4%, for a term of up to 10 years.

The commission will also consider a $30 million request to provide supplemental financing for redevelopment and upgrades to the State Pier in New London. The plan is to create a modern, heavy-lift port through a public-private partnership.

To address the ongoing shortage of affordable housing, the agenda includes $20 million to finance loans for housing projects and programs under the Housing Trust Fund. The funds would go toward the Time To Own first-time homebuyer assistance Program. 

The program provides zero-interest loans of up to 25% of the cost of a home, up to $50,000.

The agenda also includes $1.5 million for a mixed-use development on vacant Hartford-owned land on Albany Avenue between Magnolia and Irving streets. The property was previously slated to receive funds to create a neighborhood park, but the money would be redirected.

Also, the DECD requested $4.6 million for small programs and administrative costs under the Economic Development and Manufacturing Assistance Act. Another $750,000 requested by DECD would provide a grant-in-aid to the Eastern Connecticut Chamber of Commerce to move its headquarters to downtown New London.

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