Coronavirus pandemic opens window of opportunity for Hartford’s XL Center arena renovations: bunker suites and a new ice maker

The extent of the renovations will depend when the State Bond Commission releases some or all of the $65 million approved for the $100 million project in the last session of the legislature. CRDA does have about $22 million in its coffers to get started. The focus of project — slimmed down from $250 million a few years ago — will focus on adding more premium seating and concessions in the lower half of the arena, plus upgrades of aging electrical systems in the 45-year-old venue. How much of the renovation will be completed when events return to the arena isn’t clear. But on a walk-through Monday, Freimuth said he hopes the lower half of the XL Center will reopen with more loge seating, club space and bunker suites. CRDA expects to hold public hearings on its upcoming arena renovation plans in December. Such a move can be seen as a possible step toward an acquisition of the Trumbull Block. CRDA has set aside funds for an acquisition, but Freimuth declined to disclose the amount.

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