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New Director Named To Development Authority

Michael W. Freimuth Will Lead Effort To Revive Hartford Region


September 20, 2012

Michael W. Freimuth, a former economic development executive in Stamford under then-Mayor Dannel P. Malloy, has been named as the new leader of the Capitol Region Development Authority.

Within one week of Malloy's election in 2010, Freimuth was already being mentioned for a potential job in the governor's administration along with former Stamford city hall employees like Andrew McDonald and Ben Barnes. McDonald is now Malloy's chief legal counsel, and Barnes is the state budget director.

The Capitol Region Development Authority is the renamed successor to the CapitalCity Economic Development Authority. The agency oversaw the construction of the Rentschler Field football stadium in East Hartford and the Adriaen's Landing development in Hartford that included the convention center, science center, and nearby parking and downtown apartments.

Freimuth, 57, currently serves in New Rochelle, N.Y. as the commissioner of the Department of Development, which oversees multiple divisions that include housing, transportation, and planning and zoning. In the waterfront city along Long Island Sound, he oversees waterfront redevelopment projects and developments related to transit. When Freimuth moved to New Rochelle, he said it reminded him of Stamford, where he had been involved in development projects near the water in the city's south end.

Before crossing the border into New York less than three years ago, Freimuth headed the Office of Economic Development in Stamford from 2003 until 2010. He worked on major residential and commercial developments, along with recruiting and retaining businesses in the city. For 12 years before his stint in Stamford, Freimuth worked in Bridgeport as director of the Office of Planning and Economic Development. In that job, he handled major projects and was involved in creating the Bridgeport Port Authority.

"Hartford's legacy as a busy center of commerce and entertainment is a history worth repeating, and CRDA will be at the forefront of that effort," Malloy said Thursday in a statement. "With Mike at the helm, we have the leadership in place to revitalize our capitol region. His extensive background in economic development will be a strong asset to the organization."

"Mike brings a wealth of experience to CRDA, and we welcome his expertise and talent," said Suzanne Hopgood, the chairwoman of the board. "We are aggressively working to re-establish the capitol city and surrounding locales as great places to live and work. To that end, CRDA is pursuing housing initiatives, venue development, tourism and other projects that will highlight all that the area has to offer. Mike's past economic development work and his ties to the Hartford business community will be critical to reaching our goals."

"Under the leadership of Governor Malloy and Commissioner Catherine Smith, Connecticut has really re-engaged in their economic development efforts,'' Freimuth said in a statement released by Malloy's office. "Re-imagining the potential of the Hartford, East Hartford, and surrounding communities is the first step to building beautiful, lively spaces that attract businesses and their workers. As a former Hartford resident, I look forward to working with CRDA, state and local officials, and business leaders to make this vision a reality."

Freimuth, a registered Democrat, is expected to start in his new job on October 1.

CRDA was proposed by Malloy and written into law by the Democratic-controlled legislature. The authority is overseeing the chief assets in the region - the convention center, Rentschler, and the Adriaen's development in an effort to attract new investment to the Greater Hartford area.

Freimuth received a master's degree from George Washington University in public administration and public finance after graduating from the University of Connecticut with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1977. Along with his wife and children, he lives in Fairfield.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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