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Mayor Bronin: Insurance Company Agrees to Take Over, Pay for Hartford Stadium Completion

Jeff Cohen

The insurance company behind the ousted developers of Hartford's stalled minor league baseball stadium has agreed to take over and pay for the completion of Dunkin' Donuts Park in time for games in 2017, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said Tuesday.

“We now have an agreement in principle from Arch Insurance that they will take over and guarantee completion of the stadium in time for baseball to be played in the 2017 season, [and] that they will pay for completion,” Bronin said.

Bronin made the announcement at a meeting of the Hartford Stadium Authority on Tuesday. He said that city taxpayers will spend what they have left in their stadium account -- just over $4.4 million -- but nothing more, according to the deal which hasn’t yet been finalized. Arch is the insurance company behind developers Centerplan and DoNo Hartford LLC. Bronin said they are already bringing subcontractors back onto the job.

The mayor wouldn’t speculate on a timeline for completion, other than to say the stadium will be done in time for baseball next spring.

What happens next isn’t entirely clear. Arch must pick a contractor to finish the job, and, while some at the city have requested that it not pick Centerplan, the insurance company can pick any company it likes.

“No one here, I think, is declaring victory, I think, until that first pitch is thrown,” Bronin said. “But this obviously represents a significant step forward.”

A step, he said, that protects both the stadium and the taxpayers who, when it’s all done, will have paid nearly $100 million for a stadium and infrastructure improvements around it.

Reached after Bronin’s announcement, Centerplan’s attorney Ray Garcia said he wasn’t surprised.

“Centerplan expected the city and Arch to reach a deal, because Arch believes it will be the least expensive way to finish the stadium,” Garcia said. But he pushed back against the notion that this resolution won’t cost taxpayers anything else.

“It’s impossible for there to be no additional cost to the taxpayers because of the ongoing litigation,” Garcia said, adding that he is still negotiating whether Centerplan will be the firm to finish the job. 

Centerplan sued the city after Bronin kicked it off the job back in June for being late and overbudget. Since then, the city has been in talks with Arch to figure out how to move forward. Meanwhile, Centerplan has filed suit against both the city and the ownership of the Hartford Yard Goats -- who just finished their entire 2016 season on the road.

Jeff Cohen started in newspapers in 2001 and joined Connecticut Public in 2010, where he worked as a reporter and fill-in host. In 2017, he was named news director. Then, in 2022, he became a senior enterprise reporter.

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