The Insurer that guaranteed the construction of Dunkin Donuts Park has finally finished its due diligence and will move forward to complete the ballpark. Here is Steven Goode’s story in today’s Hartford Courant:
Accord Set To Finish Ballpark
Insurer To Handle Construction
HARTFORD — A monthslong shutdown of construction work at Dunkin’ Donuts Park appears to be near an end with the announcement Tuesday of an agreement to finish the ballpark in time for a home opener next April.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said the city had reached an agreement in principle with Arch Insurance to have the bonding surety company take over construction of Dunkin’ Donuts Park and pay for the cost — a plan that would have the Hartford Yard Goats play their first-ever home game on April 13, 2017.
Still to be determined is who finishes the work. The city terminated the ballpark’s developers, Centerplan Construction Co. and DoNo Hartford, in June after they failed to meet a May 17 deadline for substantial completion. Arch could choose to rehire them or find another contractor.
Bronin said the takeover agreement announced Tuesday was the solution he envisioned when the city fired the original contractors. “I have no doubt it was the right thing to do, but that doesn’t mean it was the guaranteed outcome,” Bronin said.
The city is still expected to contribute the remaining $4 million-plus it has on hand for the project, but Bronin said no more taxpayer money will be spent.
Bronin said that Arch has been meeting with subcontractors in anticipation of getting back to work and that he expects the company to make progress toward getting back to work in the coming weeks.
When asked about the possibility that Centerplan be brought back to the job, Bronin said that was up to Arch. City officials have said publicly that they don’t think Centerplan should be brought back, based on two failed deadlines to complete the project and cost overruns that have seen the construction costs go from $56 million to more than $70 million.
Raymond Garcia, an attorney for Centerplan and DoNo Hartford, declined to comment Tuesday.
The developers have claimed that the city is responsible for cost overruns and delays at the 6,000-seat minor league ballpark because of more than 100 change orders it submitted in the months leading up to the deadline and beyond.
They have filed suit claiming wrongful termination and an injunction to prevent the city from hiring another contractor to finish the job. The city and developer are engaged in mediation.
Arch officials were not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
On Monday, the team, the Double A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, completed its inaugural season with a 74-67, record, third place in the Eastern Division. The closest the Yard Goats came to playing in Hartford was at Thomas Dodd Stadium in Norwich.
Last month, Double A Eastern League officials said this was the first unplanned entire season on the road for any league team, prompting league President Joseph McEachern to threaten to move the team out of Hartford if the ballpark was not ready for next season.
Reached Tuesday, McEachern declined to comment on the announced agreement.