HARTFORD, CT — The greater Hartford region is fast becoming a “technology hub” and the latest addition to that innovation ecosystem may be Seven Stars Cloud, a Chinese company hoping to use artificial intelligence and blockchain technology to transform financial markets.
The publicly traded company is hoping to purchase the University of Connecticut’s former West Hartford campus for $5.2 million. The sale of the 58 acre campus will be discussed Friday by the UConn Board of Trustees.
The project that the Seven Stars Cloud is called “Chain Valley” will also require local approval.
If all goes as planned, Bruno Wu, executive chairman and CEO of SSC, plans to transform the former campus into his company’s North American headquarters.
“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. “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.”
The $283 million project is expected to create 330 jobs over the next five years. The state is investing $10 million.
SSC’s plans for the site includes a combination of rehabilitation of existing structures, the razing of others, and modest new construction. The company intends the site’s redevelopment to maintain the open look and feel of the campus.
The $10 million loan to help with the renovations of the existing structures will be forgiven if the company reaches its job targets.
“The fact that Dr. Bruno Wu, Executive Chairman & CEO of SSC, chose Connecticut, and particularly West Hartford, to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in private equity, illustrates the quality of life and highly skilled workforce Connecticut has to offer,” Rep. Joe Verrengia, D-West Hartford, said. “I am looking forward to seeing this facility take shape and for the high-tech jobs that will be created.”
Wu said they had “multiple” choices when they were discussing a North American headquarters.
He said West Hartford has a high-quality of life and there’s access to a talented workforce.
He said Hartford is the insurance capital, but it’s also a financial services hub where the company focuses its technologies.
“At the end of the day, the talent has to be here and I think Hartford’s got it,” Wu said.
He said the digital economy is about to take over and “we’re at the edge of the transformation.”
“The number one thing we can promise is that we will use our best efforts to deploy some of the best technologies world wide,” Wu said.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said as soon as UConn and local officials sign off on the project then construction could begin within six to eight months.
“We’re presenting an opportunity. An opportunity that fits in with the public discussion,” about how to use the former campus, Malloy said.
Connecticut is fast becoming a hot spot for innovation and technology.
Just yesterday, the state joined with the city of New Britain in announcing that a former Stanley, Black & Decker factory will become home to an Energy and Innovation Park, with what is expected to be the world’s largest fuel cell and a data center with 3,000 employees.
That’s in addition to an announcement earlier this year that Infosys would be building one of its one of its four innovation hubs in Hartford and promises to create 1,000 jobs before 2022.