August 12, 2005
By DAN UHLINGER, Courant Staff Writer
EAST HARTFORD -- Calling their decision historic and unprecedented,
town council members authorized Mayor Timothy D. Larson Thursday
to sign tax-abatement agreements designed to help bring ING Group
and Cabela's to the new $2 billion development planned for Rentschler
ING, a global financial services company, and Cabela's, the country's
largest direct marketer of outdoor merchandise, are negotiating incentive
packages with state officials, and the town tax agreements were critical,
"This is such a complex real estate deal, and transactions are
still going on. This is only one leg," Larson said, referring
to the tax agreements.
ING's lease from Aetna in Hartford expires in 2007 and the company
needs to find a new office facility for its 2,000 employees. ING
could not find a suitable site in Hartford and decided earlier this
year to construct a four-story, $90 million building at Rentschler.
ING issued a statement that Larson read at the council meeting.
"ING will be working aggressively over the coming weeks with
the state, town and developer to resolve important remaining site
development issues in the hopes that we can translate our vision
into reality," the statement said.
Cabela's wants to build its first tourist destination superstore
in New England at Rentschler. The store would be a 200,000-square-foot
building on 25 acres. The site would include a 10-acre lake.
Dan Matos, the developer whose company was chosen by United Technolgies
Corp. to develop Rentschler, said the superstore could draw 3 million
to 4 million customers annually and generate $80 million to $100
million in sales.
Dennis Highby, president of Cabela's, said East Hartford was an
ideal location for a destination superstore.
"Spending time outdoors hunting, fishing, hiking and camping
is a big part of the history and culture of Connecticut and the Northeast,
and we know that we will complement and benefit the community," he
If negotiations with the developer and state continue successfully,
Cabela's would commit to a minimum of 20 years at the location, Highby
said. The store would employ more than 450 workers and could open
by fall 2007.
The store would have a museum, aquarium, restaurant and other amenities
and serve people interested in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking
and other outdoor endeavors. It also would sell gifts and furnishings.
ING and Cabela's would be the first tenants at the 650-acre development
proposed earlier this year by the Matos Group. The proposal calls
for a mixed-use development of technological research offices, hotels,
medical and sports facilities, housing and retail.
Michael Walsh, town director of finance, said the 650 acres currently
generates $564,000 in tax revenue. At full development, the taxes
are estimated at $57 million.
Walsh said that under the ING tax abatement agreement the town would
collect $11.5 million over 15 years and about $6.5 million in taxes
would be abated.
Under the Cabela's agreement, the town would collect $12 million
over 15 years and about $6.6 million would be abated.
The tax abatements for both companies total $13.2 million, and the
state would reimburse about $2.1 million of that figure to the town.
Courant Staff Writer Dan Uhlinger is scheduled to discuss this story
on New England Cable News each hour today between 9 a.m. and noon.