Ideanomics Inc. (IDEX) has recently announced, took the wraps off its plans to transform the former UConn West Hartford campus into its global headquarters for technology and innovation.
“Nearly one year ago, I expressed our hope to call West Hartford our home,” said Ideanomics Chair, Dr. Bruno Wu, at a news conference held at the neighboring University of Saint Joseph. “Today, I am pleased to be able to share with you the reality beyond the vision”.
“Starting today, we take our largest step from blueprint to reality. Here in Connecticut, the front yard of the insurance and financial centers that call Connecticut and the Northeast their home,” Dr. Wu said.
“Fintech Village will be a unique and special project, the likes of which Connecticut has not seen. I thank former Governor Malloy for his support and Governor Lamont for being such a great partner and helping to make this day happen.”
“We have spent the past 10 months with our partners to design a specialized workplace that will stimulate both innovation and collaboration, and be an open campus with features and benefits that West Hartford residents spoke of in their town-wide Community Visioning Process last year,” said Alf Poor, Ideanomics CEO and President of Fintech Village.
Fintech Village will be a walkable campus accessible to the community and designed to fit organically into the natural beauty and scale of the campus’ 58-acre landscape, with:
- Public plazas, open green spaces and recreational features
- Boardwalks and trails through the restored natural habitat
- Environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings
- Traffic-calming measures on Trout Brook Drive
- Small shops and places to eat
- Enhanced parking for the Little League and Miracle League sports fields
- A community center and an art gallery.
Neighborhood and community outreach begins
Poor stated that Ideanomics had begun its activities to engage, inform and solicit input from its West Hartford neighbors and key community organizations.
“We wanted those living closest to campus to be among the first to hear about our plans through our neighborhood outreach program, which will soon spread to the West Hartfordcommunity as a whole,” Poor said, adding that the company will post and refresh information online at www.fintechvillage.us.
He said the company would also use, mail, social media, and traditional media outlets to provide updates on the project and inform residents throughout the public permitting process and project construction. Company representatives went door-to-door in a 500-foot zone around the campus, and will soon place information and descriptive imagery at the West Hartford Town Hall. It has offered to do the same at the Noah Webster Library and the Bishops Corner Branch Library.
Next steps: Environmental cleanup and local zoning and permitting process to begin
Poor said that Ideanomics was preparing to begin the environmental cleanup on site and the local zoning and permitting process with the town of West Hartford.
- Ideanomics has commenced the cleanup of the asbestos and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that were identified on site prior to its sale by UConn. The presence of these materials is relatively common for the type and age of the buildings currently on campus, and a licensed environmental contractor will contain, remove and safely dispose of all contamination.
- Ideanomics has filed asbestos abatement notifications with the Connecticut Department of Health. The company’s contractor has begun preparing for the asbestos abatement, which is scheduled to begin this week, and will last for approximately 3 months.
- The company is waiting for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to approve its proposed plan to remove and dispose of the PCB-contaminated soils. This will hopefully come within the late summer/early fall.
Ideanomics is also poised to begin the zoning and permitting process with the town of West Hartford.
“We will work collaboratively with town planning officials to prepare site plans and permit applications for their review. The process to secure the approvals for Fintech Village will be public, thorough and deliberative—and the town will set the manner and timeline of that process,” Poor said.
The next step will be to seek local zoning approval to create a “Technology Village District” zone—updating the town’s current “Business Office Laboratory” zone.
After the zoning rules are updated, Ideanomics will then submit all the required permit applications necessary to develop and operate the campus, following all the public procedures established by the town of West Hartford.
“This innovation hub will be a center of excellence and collaboration for cutting-edge solutions with applications in artificial intelligence, robotics, clean tech, med tech, accounting, insurance, financial services, transportation and more,” said Dr. Wu.
“We believe it will be a positive cultural, ecological and community asset to our neighbors in West Hartford, and I am so proud to share these plans today.”