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January 12, 2023

Developer planning massive logistics/tech center pays $78.47M for 300 acres at East Hartford’s Rentschler Field

A rendering of National Development's planned logistics and technology park at East Hartford’s Rentschler Field.

The Massachusetts developer planning a massive logistics center and tech park development at East Hartford's Rentschler Field recently bought 300 acres there for $78.47 million.

East Hartford Mayor Michael Walsh said he expects National Development to build throughout this year and then gain occupancy permits for its first buildings in early 2024. Plans call for two logistics warehouses of up to a combined 2.5 million square feet, plus two smaller research and development buildings.  

A limited liability company affiliated with the Newton, Massachusetts-based developer bought a collection of properties from Raytheon Technologies Corp. in a deed dated Jan. 3. The unusually lengthy deed also spells out responsibilities and remedies for cleanup of any discovered contamination.

Over the spring and summer, National Development gained town approvals for its buildings. It has also agreed to a one-time payment of $4 million to East Hartford in order to offset any impacts to the town. 

While the purchase brings a new level of certainty to National Development’s plans, Mayor Walsh said he has long been confident in the project.

“I was certain of this development in March of 2022,” Walsh said. “Not everything that gets sketched out on paper comes true but this one makes sense to me and we welcomed it with open arms.”

While National Development has not announced its planned tenants yet, Walsh said he believes the development will come with about 2,000 jobs and spur “much-needed” development along nearby Silver Lane. 

Preliminary development plans for 300 acres of the former Rentschler field.

Walsh said he is expecting $3.5 million in permitting and inspection fees for the two large logistics buildings and another $500,000 for the planned “technology and research park.”

The 300 acres lay within an opportunity zone, coming with tax benefits, which will be partially offset through state payments in lieu of taxes beginning in 2026, Walsh said. After five years, Walsh said, the town can expect about $4.5 million in yearly taxes from the National Development site.

“This is a game-changer for the town of East Hartford,” Walsh said. “This development equals roughly the tax payments paid by Pratt & Whitney today. Essentially we have doubled our largest taxpayer’s commitment to the town.”

National Development used Rentschler 300 Land LLC for the East Hartford purchase. In a series of deeds also dated Jan. 3, the limited liability company divided the 300 acres among four other National Development-affiliated limited liability companies. 

CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story contained an incorrect sales price. 

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