Over 180 construction issues were identified by International Facilities Group (IFG) before the city pulled the plug on the developers building Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), leading to further questions as to when the ballpark could have opened.
The reports from IFG came on May 26 and June 9, with the May report presented to the city at a time when there was still a chance the majority of the season could be salvaged. Some of the issues were serious, such as water leaks in the concourse and missing stairs and railings, while others, like a crooked foul pole, could have been addressed immediately. But given the high number of serious issues raised by IFG, such as noncompliant family bathrooms and potential issues with fire sprinklers being painted over, would seem to buttress the city’s contention that the ballpark was never close to completion, warranting the decision by the city to remove the developer, Centerplan Cos. and DoNo LLC, from the project. From the Hartford Courant:
Among the problems cited by the International Facilities Group, a company hired by the city to represent its interests during construction, were: multiple instances of water leaking into the park or pooling in the concourse and seating areas; missing and incomplete stairs and railings; poor workmanship on concrete floors; erosion of the left field porch; and family bathrooms that are not compliant with federal law protecting people with disabilities.
An attorney for the developer told The Courant last week that none of the issues identified were significant. But the list provides a first look at the range of issues that prevented the Yard Goats from playing in Hartford this season.
IFG identified more than 130 areas of concern in the May report, with 90 of them classified as needing action for “substantial completion,” the designation the developer needed to hand over the ballpark to the team. In the reports, IFG acknowledged there was room for disagreement between the city and the developer over what constitutes a “significant completion” item versus a “punch list” item.
It’s hard to say that some of the identified issues aren’t serious, such as building a center-field barbecue stand to the wrong height and water pooling on the concourse and seating bowl. But all of this will be ammunition when negotiations begin over who finishes the ballpark and under what circumstances.
The background: the new ballpark in downtown Hartford was slated to open at the beginning of the season, a deadline missed by developers Centerplan Cos. and DoNo, LLC. After several other deadlines were missed, the city pulled Centerplan Cos. and DoNo LLC from the project and invoked the ballpark’s insurance policy to work on a plan to finish the construction. That plan has yet to be released, and the Yard Goats will have spent the entire season on the road.
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