State Seeks Operator For Stadium At Rentschler Field
JEFFREY B. COHEN
December 09, 2009
HARTFORD — - Connecticut is looking for an operator for the stadium at Rentschler Field, sending the contract for the facility out to bid instead of exercising an option to extend an existing contract through 2012.
The facility's current operator is Northland/AEG LLC, a partnership anchored by downtown's biggest landowner, Lawrence Gottesdiener. The partnership also operates the XL Center downtown.
Bids concerning the stadium and the Connecticut Convention Center were due Monday. The bids were for contracts to manage the field and the stadium, to market the field and stadium, book events at the stadium, and provide concessions and catering at the center.
Although the state says the contracts for the convention center are reaching their natural end point and, by law, need to go out to bid, the same is not the case for Rentschler Field.
The state's current management agreement with Northland/AEG began July 1, 2007, and was to end June 30, 2012. But the contract also allows the state to terminate the contract, without penalty or cause, at the three-year mark — June 30, 2010. That appears to be what is happening.
The state would not say what led it to send the Rentschler contract out to bid and seek a new operator.
Michael Cicchetti, deputy secretary of the state Office of Policy and Management, said that sending out the convention center and stadium bids is part of an organizational restructuring that includes folding the Capital City Economic Development Authority into state government.
That's the same thing the stadium operators say."What I've been told directly and indirectly is that the state is looking to consolidate every place it possibly can," said Chuck Steedman, a senior vice president for Northland/AEG. Steedman said he always assumed the contract would end after three years, not five.
"From the operation of the stadium perspective … we've done a fantastic job," Steedman said, adding that his company submitted a bid to continue operating the stadium. "We hope to continue that."
Steedman would not say whether he was bidding on the convention center.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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