Just a few months after Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra announced that the city would spend up to $60 million of its own money to build a minor league baseball stadium for the New Britain Rock Cats, the mayor announced Tuesday that he has picked a developer who will foot the entire bill.
Segarra has informed the city council that he has picked DoNo Hartford LLC, an entity related to Middletown developer Centerplan Development Company. Centerplan and its partner Leyland Alliance proposed a $350 million project to remake this part of Hartford -- including a stadium, a little league park, a supermarket, and a brewery.
In exchange for building the stadium at its own expense, the development group will get 19 surrounding properties for $1 each from the city. It is to use them to build a mixed-use development. The city will then lease the ballpark to the Rock Cats.
Segarra has called a special meeting of the city council for Thursday to discuss the matter. Ken Kennedy is a city councilman who was skeptical of the original plan Segarra floated. Now, he's more willing to consider the city's options.
"If it's what I've been shown, I think the financial concern has been addressed," Kennedy said. "Many of our constituents were concerned about the $60 million. Now, that's just down to $8 million, and those are for road improvements."
Kennedy also said that the idea of a municipal building is now off of the table. But the big question is remains: How will this get paid for?
"I think they're anticipating some additional revenues that will make the project go," Kennedy said. Those could come from new retail or from things like a parking garage, he said.
But council Minority Leader Larry Deutsch is still critical of what he's seen.
"It's so vague," Deutsch said, adding that the council shouldn't act until it gets more detail -- including from the consultant it was supposed to have hired. "There are too many unknowns in terms of revenue projections [and] financing."
The council meeting is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m.