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Hartford: We Doubt New Ballpark Will Open on Time

Dunkin' Donuts Park

Hartford city officials are openly skeptical that Dunkin’ Donuts Park will be ready for a May 17 occupancy deadline, as the opening of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) ballpark could slip past the currently scheduled May 31 date.

The developer is working toward “substantial completion” for the May 17 deadline; that’s when a temporary certificate of occupancy from the city could be awarded. From the Hartford Courant:

“We have grave concerns at this point,” said Sean Fitzpatrick, Hartford’s director of developmental services.

Some of those concerns were outlined in the monthly report to the authority from Kevin Greene, executive vice president of International Facilities Group, which is overseeing construction for the city.

Greene noted in his report that the developer is forecasting that several key items for completing the ballpark won’t be finished until the deadline or just before, including the team store and ticketing areas, projected for May 15, and the right of way on Trumbull Street, projected for May 17.

Greene also noted in the report that even though the developer is employing double-shifts and six and seven day workweeks that should make it possible for the stadium to receive a temporary certificate of occupancy by May 17, work related to “significant completion” would go beyond the date stipulated in the contract with the city and team.

For instance, work on a center-field elevator has not yet started, much less completed.

There is much at stake here — much more than just another blown opening day. May 17 is the date that triggers a clause in the contract calling for $50,000 on the first day and $15,000 every day afterward to be paid to the city from the contractor until the ballpark is certified as substantially completed. In addition, if the ballpark is not substantially completed, the Yard Goats don’t need to pay the $500,000 in yearly rent for 2016 and will not need to pay the $2 million pledged toward cost overruns.

Image of Dunkin’ Donuts Park from May 2 courtesy Hartford Yard Goats.

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