Global financial tech firm to locate HQ in Connecticut

HARTFORD — A global financial technology firm announced Tuesday it plans to relocate its headquarters to West Hartford, marking the second announcement from state officials this week about high-tech jobs in Connecticut.

Seven Stars Cloud Group Inc., or SSC, plans to transform the former 58-acre University of Connecticut branch campus after the property is ultimately sold for $5.2 million and the necessary approvals from the town and the UConn Board of Trustees are complete. SCC Executive Chairman Bruno Wu said the $238 million project, dubbed Chain Valley, is expected to create 330 jobs over the next five years.

Wu said the company, which specializes in helping financial and manufacturing industries utilize secure technology for financial transactions, had multiple choices for a new headquarters location.

"But it was Connecticut, the state of Connecticut, that attracted us and we very swiftly made a decision. And here we are," he said, adding how SCC liked how the site is centrally located between Boston and New York. He noted how the state has a highly skilled workforce, more than 40 institutions of higher learning and several nearby major metropolitan areas, including Hartford. He also praised the region's "great restaurants."

The company is receiving a $10 million state loan for renovations to the existing buildings on the campus. Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said the state's loan may be forgiven if the job targets are reached.

Wu said the company plans to keep the open look and feel of the campus, hoping it becomes "more like a public park."

This deal comes a day after state and local officials announced plans to construct what will eventually be a $1 billion fuel cell-powered, high-speed data park in New Britain. The proposed Energy & Innovation Park will be located on a portion of the Stanley Black & Decker manufacturing site. Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said he expects the project, which he thinks will attract more high-tech companies to the state, will ultimately create more than 3,000 direct and indirect jobs to the region over the next decade.

Construction of the first phase is expected to begin early next year, including the development of 19.98 megawatts of grid-connected fuel cells that would be manufactured in Connecticut and installed at the New Britain location. Eventually, an additional 44 megawatts of fuel-cell generated power is planned. It's being billed as the world's largest indoor fuel cell installation. The project also involves creating the data center complex, which is expected to attract other IT-related companies.

On Tuesday, Malloy said the SSC deal and the New Britain project were discussed by his administration at the same time, as part of an overall effort to boost Connecticut's high-tech industry.

"Quite frankly, it's not the only projects," he said, without elaborating.

 

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