The Hartford City Council is expected to vote tomorrow on a redevelopment plan for the downtown north area that includes a new ballpark for the New Britain Rock Cats (Class AA; Eastern League).
Proponents of the project say they have the votes for passage. The proposal from developer DoNo Hartford LLC — a joint venture backed by Centerplan Development Co. and LeylandAlliance — calls for a mixed-use development with office, retail, parking, brewery and 9,000-capacity ballpark for the Rock Cats. Like any large development scheme, there are plenty of moving parts, and the city will lease part of the land to DoNo Hartford, with the developer subleasing the ballpark to the Rock Cats. The new ballpark, if progress continues, could open as soon as the 2016 season.
The deal has changed since it was first proposed to the city; Rock Cats owner Josh Solomon has sweetened the terms of his team’s commitment, per the Hartford Courant:
A commitment will be added from Minor League Baseball saying it would not allow the Rock Cats to move during the term of the lease, and that it assures the presence of a Double A minor league team at the Hartford stadium for at least 25 years.
In addition, Rock Cats owner Josh Solomon agreed to give the city 5 percent of the revenue from non-baseball related events held at the stadium, council members said. Under the current draft of the lease, the team would collect all profits from such events.
This will not be the last hurdle for the ballpark development, as there are some city residents and official working to strip the ballpark from the project. In addition, a special permit is required from Hartford’s planning and zoning commission — and the commission is already in record as opposing the ballpark.
RELATED STORIES: Hartford planning board opposes new Rock Cats ballpark; New Hartford ballpark could cost more under private developer; City settles on Hartford ballpark developer; council to discuss; Solomon: Rock Cats still committed to Hartford move; Rock Cats avoid eviction, pay property taxes; Two ballpark development projects make the cut in Hartford; Four Hartford ballpark developments submitted; New Britain plays hardball with Rock Cats over unpaid property taxes; Hartford pulls public bonding for new Rock Cats ballpark; Backlash emerging against new Hartford ballpark; Hartford: New ballpark already attracting development; Why are Rock Cats moving to Hartford? Follow the money; Hartford ballpark plan: 10,000 capacity, $60M price tag; Rock Cats negotiating move to Hartford: report