This has been inevitable for weeks, as the dispute between the city of Hartford and the developers of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, the as-yet-unopened home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), is finally under the purview of the court system.
DoNo Hartford and Centerplan Cos., removed from the project by Hartford, is asking for a court injunction to prevent another developer or construction firm to finish the remaining work on the ballpark. In June, the pair were barred from the ballpark, and last week it was revealed that the city and the Yard Goats were looking as finishing the work on their own. From the Hartford Courant:
Their lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, charges that the city is in default of its agreement with DoNo, having rolled out numerous expensive changes to the plan without the ability to foot the bill.
“The city could not issue a termination notice because DoNo was not in default, was not provided an opportunity to cure whatever the alleged default might be and because it was in material default for failing to pay approved requisitions and not having enough money to pay an anticipated requisition,” the suit says….
The developers dispute the city’s claim that they breached their contract by missing the completion deadline, and say the delays and new round of cost overruns were caused by the city’s requiring more than 100 change orders in April and May.
Most observers expected the dispute between the city and the developers to end up in court, but not necessarily this early in the process. It’s not exactly clear what would happen should DoNo Hartford and Centerplan Cos. prevail: the injunction just ensures that no one else finishes the ballpark. DoNo Hartford and Centerplan Cos. say they can finish ballpark construction, which they estimate at being 95 percent completed — with an additional $4.3 million in city funding, of course. A win in court does not mean the ballpark is completed any time soon, and with eight weeks or so left in the season, it may be best to wait until the 2017 season and have a grand opening far removed from this mess.
There are multiple players involved here — the city, the team, the team’s ballpark consultants, DoNo Hartford, Centerplan Construction, Arch Insurance (who insured the construction project and who may need to pay to have the ballpark completed), and perhaps more — and keeping track of them as this project unwinds in the legal system will be a challenge.
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