Architectural design work at Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park will start again as early as Wednesday, a move Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin said was an “important step” towards restarting construction at the shuttered, unfinished minor league baseball stadium.
In a statement, Bronin said that the architecture firm Pendulum has the job of “completing a scope of work, which is necessary to re-open the project site and complete the ballpark.” The development is the result of an agreement between Pendulum and Arch, he said.
“Despite all the distractions, threats, and gamesmanship, we’ve stayed laser-focused on getting Arch Insurance to take over construction of the ballpark, because it’s the best result for Hartford and for Hartford’s taxpayers,” Bronin said in a statement. “Arch has not yet taken full responsibility, but by formally engaging the architect, they’ve taken a significant step forward in that direction.”
The Hartford Yard Goats have already announced they will miss their entire inaugural season in the more-than-$60 million stadium the city built for them. Team owner Josh Solomon has said he has lost millions as a result of the delay, and the situation has jeopardized his relationships with minor league baseball and the major league Colorado Rockies. The delay also has the prospect of costing the city money that it desperately needs to pay off the funds it borrowed to build the stadium.
Now the focus is on 2017. Last week, Solomon told the city he’d be forced to move the Yard Goats if the minor league ballpark isn’t finished in time for next year’s season. The city responded by saying that steps were underway to reopen the construction site “soon.”
The city kicked the developers -- Centerplan Companies and DoNo Hartford LLC -- off the site back in June because the stadium was still over budget and overdue. The result of that move was to invite Centerplan’s surety, Arch Insurance, to evaluate the project and figure out the best way to complete it. The move also put Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin and Centerplan’s Bob Landino at further odds, which could complicate their agreement to build another $300 million worth of developments around the stadium.
The questions now are both who will finish the job and who will pay for it. Neither appears to be answered just yet. In the short term, Bronin said the city will be paying Pendulum nearly $250,000 for past invoices unpaid by the developers at Centerplan and DoNo LLC. He also said the city has reserved its rights to seek reimbursement from Arch for that money.
Centerplan’s attorney Ray Garcia praised the news.
“We’re happy to see these necessary first steps being taken,” Garcia said. “They are crucial to the completion of the project regardless of who finishes the job.”
As to the invoices overdue to Pendulum, Garcia said this: “We haven’t paid them because we don’t owe them the money and the city is aware of that.”
Yard Goats owner Solomon declined to comment.