The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees voted unanimously Friday to sell its former West Hartford campus to a technology company hoping to establish its headquarters on the property.
The 58-acre piece of land and its buildings were sold to Seven Stars Cloud Group Inc. for $5.2 million, according to UConn Today. The sale and purchase agreement will be finalized next week and the final transition of ownership is expected to take place in early fall.
The campus stopped functioning as an academic property when UConn’s new downtown Hartford campus opened last year. Maintaining it would cost the university $500,000 annually.
Its new owner, Seven Stars, is a NASDAQ-listed global financial technology company that uses artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to transform traditional financial, industrial, media and consumer assets into digital ones, according to UConn Today.
The company plans to turn UConn’s property into its global headquarters. Its $283 million project, called Chain Valley, has the potential to create 330 jobs over the next five years, according to NBC Connecticut.
Seven Stars will need approval from the town of West Hartford to begin development on the property and will be responsible for addressing its environmental concerns, UConn Today said.
“Once the sale is complete, the company will take all of the risks to work with the town in permitting for the use they intend for it,” UConn’s executive vice president and CFO Scott Jordan said at Friday’s meeting.
UConn previously had a tentative agreement with the Town of West Hartford wherein it would buy the university’s property, but the town terminated the agreement and UConn began marketing it directly to potential buyers, according to UConn Today. Public bids were allowed after a 45-day waiting period.
In a statement released last Tuesday, West Hartford town manager Matt Hart said local officials look forward to learning more about Seven Stars and the Chain Valley project proposal.
“It is a tribute to West Hartford, the greater Hartford region and the State of Connecticut that our community has been selected as the preferred site for the Chain Valley project,” Hart said. “The town will now be in a position to apply the vision statement and guiding principles that resulted from our community engagement process to this proposal.”
Seven Stars CEO and executive chairman Bruno Wu said the company is looking forward to building its headquarters on the campus.
“This fantastic location provides access to a highly skilled workforce, as well as more than 40 institutions of higher learning and several major metropolitan areas all in proximity of this site,” Wu said in a statement. “It is an ideal location for our firm to write our next chapter and we could not be more excited to soon join this wonderful community in West Hartford.”
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.