Governor to propose huge renovation of XL Center - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Governor to propose huge renovation of XL Center

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Connecticut's governor is pulling out the stops for his long shot attempt to lure the Islanders, or any hockey team for that matter, out of New York.

Gov. Dannel Malloy's office confirmed to Eyewitness News on Tuesday that he'll propose a $250 million renovation of the XL Center in Hartford.

The project would include a second concourse, more premium seating in the lower portion and additional restaurants and restrooms.

Officials said the details of the two-year plan would be revealed on Wednesday as part of Malloy's budget proposal. It's a budget plan aimed at bridging a $1.5 billion gap.

Back in November, the Capital Region Developmental Authority called the arena woefully out of date.

"The average age of an arena is 15 to 20 years. We are approaching 45,” Mike Freimuth, who is the executive director of Capitol Region Development Authority

Freimuth is one of the biggest cheerleaders for Hartford's XL Center. Plus, Freimuth admitted that a renovation would not guarantee the attraction of a team.

"We will not have any teams in Connecticut an NHL or any team without an improved building," Freimuth said. 

Republican lawmakers also said they didn't think the state could afford the upgrades. Republican Sen. Joe Markley said he understands the situation with the XL Center, but doesn't believe more money will bring in more people. Markley said right now a huge budget deficit and cuts, it's too expensive.

"We don't have the money. We would have to borrow every dollar that goes into it," Markley said. "We can't afford it."

Last fall, officials said taxpayers would foot the bill and the cash would likely come from bonding.

Friday, Malloy and Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to the Islanders offering up the XL Center as a new venue for the Islanders.

The NHL franchise has had tensions with its current home, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. There's no guarantee an NHL team would come, but Eyewitness News was told the Islanders have said improvements would have to be made even to consider Hartford. 

The governor's budget proposal will be shown on Channel 3 around noon and streamed online

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