Lamont budget deal pledges up to $80M for XL Center renovations

Connecticut taxpayers could cover up to $80 million in renovation costs for the XL Center arena in downtown Hartford under the budget deal struck by Gov. Ned Lamont and legislative leaders this week. Among the multitude of provisions in the budget compromise is the outline of a deal that would see Los Angeles-based entertainment and events company Oak View Group bear at least $20 million in XL Center renovation costs in return for a long-term agreement to manage the roughly 15,500-seat sports and entertainment venue. The CRDA – a quasi-governmental agency responsible for economic development initiatives in Hartford and East Hartford – manages the XL on behalf of the city of Hartford. The facility currently runs at a roughly $2.5 million to $4 million deficit yearly, which is covered by the state. Backers say the XL Center is needed to promote vibrancy in Hartford, and pays dividends in extra demand at restaurants, hotels and other nearby businesses. CRDA leaders believe renovations to make the building a more attractive and economical venue for performers could see it turn a profit.

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