Northland Investment Corp., Hartford's biggest landlord, said Thursday that it is transferring its interest in operating the XL Center to its partner, AEG.
In a brief statement, Northland spokeswoman Mary Brennan Coursey said the action is intended "to allow both firms to focus on their core businesses."
Northland, a major real estate developer, owns the adjacent Hartford 21 luxury apartment tower, CityPlace II and other properties. AEG Facilities, a part of Los Angeles-based AEG, specializes in stadium, arena and convention center management.
Under a deal with the Connecticut Development Agency, the partnership has jointly managed the XL Center since 2007, when the name was changed from the Hartford Civic Center.
"Northland Investment Corporation is assigning its limited liability interest in the operation of the XL Center to AEG to allow both firms to focus on their core businesses," Coursey said in the statement. "The XL Center is a very important element of Hartford 21. Northland and AEG will continue to work closely together to make the venue the premier regional entertainment destination."
Coursey declined to comment beyond the statement, and it was unclear exactly what responsibilities Northland would convey or what the financial implications are. A message was left at AEG headquarters in Los Angeles.
Northland has been struggling with financial problems. As of April, Northland was facing foreclosure on two prominent downtown Hartford office towners, Metro Center and CityPlace II, and was behind on mortgage payments on a third, Goodwin Square.
Marie O'Brien, president of the CDA, the economic development agency that oversees the XL Center, portrayed the transfer as a vote of confidence by AEG in Hartford.
"This shows AEG's commitment to Hartford, to downtown and to the market," she said.
Northland and AEG have managed Rentschler Field, home field for the University of Connecticut football team since 2007. Earlier this year, however, the state exercised its option to end the partnership's contract before 2012, and instead picked the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts to manage the stadium.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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