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Hartford's XL Center Faces An Uncertain Future

HARTFORD, CT (CelebrityAccess) — The future of Hartford’s aging XL Center remains in doubt, even after the state approved a $40 million bond issuance to upgrade the facility.

Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy had sought to make a broader investment of as much as $250 million to completely revamp the aging arena and keep it in government hands, however, the proposal was complicated by a requirement that there must be a “request for proposals” to determine if any entities are interested in purchasing the coliseum complex.

“I think we’re fooling ourselves if we think it’s going to be a dramatic bidding process,” Michael Freimuth, executive director of the Capital Regional Development Authority told the Associated Press.

Freimuth noted that the 40-year-old arena is “dated and it’s tired” and still requires a major investment beyond the $40 million.

Governor Molloy, who also doubts that a private buyer can be found, argued that his plan is necessary if the arena hopes to attract and maintain University of Connecticut hockey and basketball games, the city’s minor league hockey team, concerts and other events.

Molloy told the AP that despite its age, the arena is still busy for a venue of its size and it hosts 130 to 150 events annually.

Originally opened in 1975, the property, formerly known as the Hartford Civic Center, seats 15,564 and is currently operated on behalf of the state by Spectra.