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June 14, 2019

Ideanomics CEO: W. Hartford development to move forward following Lamont meeting

HBJ File Photo UConn's former West Hartford campus, where Ideanomics planned to build a headquarters for technology and innovation, has been listed for sale.

Ideanomics, a financial-technology company planning to build a tech hub in West Hartford, is nearing an agreement with Gov. Ned Lamont’s office to resolve potential roadblocks facing the $283 million project, officials say.

CEO Alfred Poor said in a statement Thursday night that the company was encouraged by its meeting with Lamont and other local officials on Tuesday, noting he believes they reached an “equitable solution” to “move forward” with the development, which promises to bring more than 330 jobs to the former UConn campus on Trout Brook Drive and Asylum Avenue.

The reassurance follows a Hartford Courant report in which Ideanomics cast uncertainty over the future of its project, citing “regrettable and unreconcilable differences with the state of Connecticut."

Lamont’s office and West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor didn’t respond to requests for comment Friday morning.

A source familiar with the project confirmed to Hartford Business Journal that Poor had alerted vendors in an email last week that he was concerned that the company’s differences with the state’s new administration could impact the fate of the project.

Former Gov. Dannel Malloy’s administration last summer announced it had reached a deal to provide Ideanomics, then called Seven Stars Cloud, with a $10 million forgivable loan. 

However, Lamont has announced he will pull back on the Malloy-era economic development strategy of corporate incentives, and he’s also said he’ll put the state on a “debt diet” to cut borrowing.

Beyond the financial negotiations, environmental remediation is still needed in and around certain of the five buildings on campus, which Ideanomics acquired for $5.2 million last fall, to cleanup PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and asbestos that were found on the property prior to its sale. 

HBJ File Photo
Ideanomics CEO and President Alfred Poor

Poor has estimated that will cost millions of dollars, the Courant reported earlier this year.

Poor, who was promoted as the company’s CEO in February as part of a C-suite restructuring, has sent two letters this year to homeowners abutting the 53-acre property regarding the status of the remediation and other updates at the campus. 

“The presence of these materials is relatively common for buildings of the vintage of those on campus,” Poor said in a letter dated March 29. “We expect this cleanup activity to get under way in the coming days.”

Although little work has been done at the site of late, officials say Ideanomics is currently preparing its site proposal and permit applications that it’s required to submit to the town of West Hartford.

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Poor seeks to establish an 'innovation hub' in W. Hartford

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