Centerplan Co. and DoNo Hartford had a pretty good gig: construct a new ballpark for the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) and develop the surrounding area. The ballpark contract was terminated after delays, and now Hartford has fired the pair on the development side as well.
When the original Yard Goats ballpark plan was developed by the city, it was pitched as an economic-development plan for an underutilized part of downtown Hartford. The new ballpark would generate foot traffic in the area, which would then be developed with hotels, office, restaurants, retail and more.
That was the plan in 2014. By 2016, the ballpark opening had been delayed — too many change orders, say Centerplan Co. and DoNo Hartford, incompetence, says the city — and the Yard Goats were forced to play the season on the road, with Whiting Turner brought in to complete the Dunkin’ Donuts Park construction.
Now, with 16 acres surrounding the ballpark available for development and none of the grand plans proposed by Centerplan Co. and DoNo Hartford taking place, the city has decided to pull the plug on the development side of the agreement. Probably not a hard decision, given the inactivity and the acrimony surrounding a lawsuit related to the ballpark-contract termination. From the Hartford Courant:
On Monday, [Mayor Luke Bronin] said Centerplan and DoNo “never should have been chosen to build the ballpark.”
“In failing to deliver the ballpark on time, failing to do the work well and failing to pay numerous subcontractors, Centerplan violated the development agreement that covers the surrounding parcels,” he said. “By terminating the Master Development Agreement with Centerplan today, we hope that we can begin to move forward with finding a strong and capable partner for the next phase of development that is so essential to the city of Hartford.”
Bronin did not say when the city would issue a request for proposals for the parcels around the stadium.
It may be a while; you can expect Centerplan Co. and DoNo Hartford to challenge the decision in court.