Bronin Announces Hartford Stadium Deal Signed, Allowing Construction to Resume | Connecticut Public Radio

Bronin Announces Hartford Stadium Deal Signed, Allowing Construction to Resume

Oct 18, 2016

Things may be looking up for Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park, as the city and the insurance company for the developer have finally signed an agreement that should get construction at the stalled baseball stadium going again.

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Luke Bronin announced the deal with Arch Insurance has been signed, his spokesman confirmed. (The copy provided by the city was only signed by the city.) The move comes more than six weeks after an agreement in principle was made between the parties, but Bronin said the details took time.

"We want to make sure that it's clear that Arch had a responsibility of fixing those things that Centerplan had messed up as well as delivering a complete stadium," he said at an afternoon press conference.

The initially-estimated $60 million stadium for the minor league Hartford Yard Goats was supposed to be done last spring in time for opening day. But that deadline and many others were missed.

Eventually, citing delays and millions of dollars in cost overruns, Bronin decided to terminate the contract with developer Bob Landino and his firm, Centerplan Companies.

Now, the cost to complete the overwhelmingly city-funded stadium is over $70 million; Bronin has said the related infrastructure improvements bring the total for the project up to around $100 million.

And while the city blamed the developer, the developer blamed the city back -- saying the cost issues and delays were the city’s fault, a product of fluctuating architectural targets and change orders that never seemed to stop.

Multiple lawsuits are pending, including at least one from a roofing contractor who had yet to be paid. That, though, may now all be the stuff of litigation to come. For now, the question of why the stadium couldn’t be completed isn’t as important as who will now move forward and complete it.

Hartford Yard Goats players toured the field last season, but never got to play on it.
Credit Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Arch Insurance is the surety company backing Centerplan. It has brought in the firm of Whiting Turner to resume work on the project. Arch had the option of bringing on Centerplan to complete the project, but that was an option it apparently refused.  Bronin said he doesn't know how much finishing the stadium will cost, but Arch likely does.

"They may have an estimate of how much it's going to cost them," he said.  "They haven't shared it with us, but it also doesn't really matter to us. They have an obligation to get it done. We're not putting more money into this project at this stage of the game."

An email from Sean Fitzpatrick, the city's director of development, to Hartford's city council and stadium authority.
Credit City of Hartford

But while it may oversee the completion of the job, Arch won't be left to pay for it  -- the company has also begun to try and get nearly $20 million back from Landino, Centerplan, and their related companies, according to court documents.

Meanwhile, Bronin said he was happy to move on from Centerplan.

"Whiting Turner has experience building stadiums, unlike Centerplan," he said. "Number two, they are a large, national, professional organization and, thus far, our experience has been very different than dealing with Centerplan."

Immediate efforts to reach the the Yard Goats and a lawyer for Centerplan were unsuccessful. Arch Insurance did not respond to an email for comment.