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Developers Miss Deadline for Dunkin’ Donuts Park Occupancy

Dunkin' Donuts Park

There won’t be any early June Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) home games at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, as the ballpark’s developers missed today’s deadline to secure a certificate of occupancy for the beleaguered project.

A deadline of May 17 was set by the city, developers DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan Cos. and the Yard Goats ownership to ensure the team could begin play at the new Hartford ballpark at the beginning of June, but an inspection this morning didn’t yield the results all sides wanted, leading to a determination that the ballpark was not substantially complete. (Not a surprise: On May 3 city officials openly expressed doubts about the viability of the May 17 deadline.) There are some some serious financial consequences to missing this deadline: 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.

So what’s next? The team hasn’t announced, as the Yard Goats have played recent May “home” games at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Ct., home of the Connecticut Tigers. That may be the short-term plan, as the C-Tigers don’t open their season until June 22, and all sides concerned may have a better idea of the Dunkin’ Donuts Park completion date by then. And Hartford will need to decide how to proceed against the developers, per the Hartford Courant:

The city now has the option of removing the developers, DoNo Hartford LLC and Centerplan Cos. from the construction of the ballpark and begin levying fines of $50,000 on the first day past the deadline and $15,000 a day after that until construction is “substantially completed” allowing the team to take possession of the 6,000 seat stadium in “turnkey” conditions.

The city can also file a claim with the insurer of the ballpark in what is known as calling the performance bond. If the insurer agrees that the city has a claim they would cover the remaining cost of finishing the ballpark, expected to be about $2 million.

The official said the city was assessing all its options and planning to meet with interested parties. It is unclear when that meeting will take place the officials said.

All in all, not the outcome the Yard Goats ownership wanted to see when the team’s move from New Britain was first announced.

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

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