New Managers Take Over Early At Hartford’s XL Center

by Categorized: Hartford Redevelopment Date:

The new management of the XL Center took over stewardship of the building’s 37-year-old arena in downtown Hartford this week, two months earlier than first expected.

The Capital Region Development Authority and Connecticut Innovations reached an agreement with former manager AEG Management CT to turn over control to Global Spectrum as of July 1, two months ahead of the original Sept. 1 transition date.

CRDA sought an earlier changeover because Global also was taking over management of The Stadium at Rentschler Field on July 1. CRDA wanted the transitions to take place at the same time.

The agreement calls for CRDA to pay AEG $500,000 for income AEG would have earned in the two months, primarily from the Justin Bieber concert and the USA Gymnastics competition, plus compensation for turning over control of the venue early,  Tony Roberto, managing director of strategic investments, at CI told me today.

The agreement also calls for AEG to pay CI $500,000 because AEG had spent less on improvements to XL Center than CI had expected, Roberto said. But Roberto said multiple engineering studies of the building show it was well maintained under AEG’s stewardship, Roberto said.

In addition, AEG paid about $100,000 to make venue modifications to make the XL Center more easily accessible to patrons with disabilities — some of which existed before AEG took the venue’s management, Roberto said.

AEG has also is paying for an engineering study to show it is turning over the facility in the condition required under its management contract.

Previously, CI was responsible for management contracts at the XL Center — the former Civic Center — but now that has been transferred to CRDA.

Global Spectrum was selected by the CRDA in April to take over management of both the XL Center and Rentschler Field in 10-year contracts.

Global takes over XL’s management as the legislature has approved $35 million for upgrades to the aging arena. The funding is being matched by $2.7 million from Global.

XL General Manager Chris Lawrence told me Friday that Global is still determining the specifics of the upgrades.

Improvements to the XL Center are likely to include building systems such as plumbing, electrical, elevators and security, plus upgrades to amenities such as bathrooms, concessions, seating, sound, floors and walls, CRDA has said.

As part of its bid earlier this year to manage the XL Center, Global said a possible improvement could include premium suites lower in the arena, an increasingly popular choice in sports arenas to bring spectators closer to the action.

“Loge” seating — not as expansive as the suites — also is possible. This type of seating typically includes four to six seats with partitions for privacy, also lower in the arena.

Other improvements, Global said, could include improved concessions and menu offerings; a signature bar area; and more digital screens in the arena bowl.

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5 thoughts on “New Managers Take Over Early At Hartford’s XL Center

  1. Pingback: New Managers Take Over Early At Hartford’s XL Center | Connecticut News

  2. HarryH

    Actually, I thought the actual arena was call the Veterans Memorial Arena and XL and Civic center was the building etc. containing the Veterans Memorial Arena.

    About the only thing that Karmonos had right was that this building needs to be torn down and a new arena built.

  3. Paul

    Politicians are more interested in funding state employee retirements under unconscionable terms, than investing in a new building and working to attract an NHL team as an investment to stimulate economic growth. Gov Malloy is equally content to watch UCONN play Eastern Carolina and Central Florida and Tulane, while Rutgers and Louisville are set to play in the Big-10 and ACC respectively. Louisville’s facilities was part of the reason the ACC chose them over UCONN.

    The Courant is content to let Malloy get away with it and back his claim that the only way we get a new arena is if some Hockey-fariry billionaire comes and blows some pixy–dust to pay for the arena with 100% private money. As if these billionairs made their money by making stupid business deals and as if Hartford/NH isn’t competing with other markets (Seattle, Kansas City, Houston, Quebec in hockey), (UCincinnati, UHouston, CFlorida, UMass Memphis in college athletics).

  4. Eric

    Global Spectrum and the XL Center’s concessionaire, Deleware North Companies, should both look at what the Barclays Center and its concessionaire, Levy Restaurants, have done. Its concourse concession stands include many famous local restaurants from Brooklyn. The pizza is made by L&B Spumoni Gardens, a famous Brooklyn pizza establishment. The desserts are made by Junior’s, a famous Brooklyn spot for cheesecake. Mexican food is made by Calexico, another famous Brooklyn eatery. The list goes on and on.

    The XL Center should team up with local CT restaurants to make the arena a one stop destination for food lovers. Why do people still attend Mets’ game at Citi Field when the team is so bad? It is because the center field area has an unmatched offering of food choices for fans.

    Management should reach out to places like Mozzicato’s to make its desserts at the XL Center. How about a steamed cheeseburger from Ted’s, a hot dog from Woody’s or a pizza slice from Pepe’s or Wooster Street? How about beer stands consisting of local beers like Hooker, Two Roads, City Steam, and Ten Penny Ale?

    Global Spectrum and Deleware North Companies need to be creative to make the XL Center relevant, nevermind a destination. Just by partnering with local food establishments for its concessions, the XL Center will greatly improve its fan experience while also helping its bottom line.

    1. Patrick

      Excellent idea Eric! I totally agree with everything you said. That would be a great way for those local businesses as well to get plenty of advertising just by having stands at the XL Center. I hope someone who has some influence reads your post or has already thought of that.

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