Ideanomics is working to formalize its partnerships and its plans for transforming the former UConn campus in West Hartford into Fintech Village.
By Ronni Newton
Ideanomics officially took ownership of the University of Connecticut’s former West Hartford campus on Oct. 10, and since then has been working behind the scenes on plans to transform the campus into Fintech Village, the company’s global headquarters for innovation.
Ideanomics, formerly known as Seven Stars Cloud Group, announced its intentions to purchase the bucolic 58-acre former UConn West Hartford campus, which includes five buildings, in July, and closed on the $5.2 million deal on Oct. 10.
In a news release issued Monday, Ideanomics said that it “has received regular partner inquiries, ranging from private businesses to colleges and universities, each of which declared an interest in participating in the Company’s plans for Fintech Village.” The company previously stated that it plans to establish a number of research hubs on the site, and form partnerships with universities, research institutes, and other businesses from throughout the world.
On Monday, Ideanomics said that discussions are also ongoing to bring up to 10 leading fintech companies – from Asia, Israel, and Europe – to establish innovation operations on the West Hartford campus where the focus will be on collaboration.
Ideanomics has previously noted its plans for an investment of at least $238 million to make Fintech Village “an ultra high-speed computing facility and laboratory for developing new and leading edge fintech solutions utilizing artificial intelligence, deep learning, IoT, and blockchain.” The company has committed to bringing 330 jobs, and significant tax revenue to the Town of West Hartford.
Ideanomics President & COO, Alfred “Alf” Poor, who is also divisional President of Fintech Village, said Monday in a statement, “While the planning for the redevelopment of the site is underway and on schedule since closing in October, we are extremely pleased to acknowledge another meaningful area of activity – the level of outreach by both private industry and the education sector, which has exceeded our expectations. This outreach, in conjunction with our own business development efforts, has demonstrated a desire from a variety of businesses to participate with Ideanomics at our planned global innovations headquarters in West Hartford, CT.”
A zoning change is needed for any use of the property other than single-family residential, even educational use, West Hartford Town Planner Todd Dumais said previously, and while that process has not yet started, the company received a wetlands permit in early December to begin testing the soil and groundwater conditions and conducting a geotechnical evaluation of the site.
On Dec. 20, Poor sent a letter to property owners abutting the campus informing them of the nature of activity that will soon be taking place on the property.
“Right now we are working on the initial stages of mapping out our plans, which will feature robust engagement with the West Hartford community at large, our neighbors like you, and your local officials,” Poor said in the letter.
The preliminary work, Poor said in his letter, “will allow us to design effective wetlands restoration/enhancement, stormwater management and landscape planning systems for the site – all important to preserving the parklike setting for enjoyment by the community.”
Poor described Fintech Village as “a dynamic, Silicon Valley-like innovation center that will incorporate locally inspired design, green technology and community connectivity features. We are very excited about the work that lies ahead, and getting to know and work with you, your neighbors and the people of West Hartford to inform and shape the creation of Fintech Village.”
A project website is under development, Poor said.
“Fintech Village will serve as a destination for fintech innovation and education to help support the evolution of the financial services industry, as well as contribute to other key industries including healthcare and supply chain. We are proud to be doing this in the front yard of the financial services sector, on the East Coast, in close proximity to Wall Street in New York, the major buy-side firms in Boston, and the insurance and hedge fund industries that call Connecticut home,” Poor said.
Partnership involvement will allow Fintech Village to host “a mix of education, use case, and application development for key industries which are positioned to benefit from blockchain, AI, and big data technologies” for industries that include banking, insurance, accounting, law, healthcare, and others. The company is also looking to partner as a sales and licensing agent with companies that are looking to market their technology and other services in North America – creating an additional revenue stream.
Initial partnerships should be named in the next few weeks, the company said.
For information and background about West Hartford’s history with the campus, the purchase plans, and interviews with company principals, click here.
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