The city of Hartford is ready to move forward on development around Dunkin’ Donuts Park, home of the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League), after winning a lawsuit against the ballpark’s original builder.
When construction on Dunkin’ Donuts Park began in February 2015, it was envisioned that the ballpark would open for the relocating New Britain Rock Cats at the start of the 2016 season, and anchor future development in the Downtown North area. However, the construction process was marked by several delays and overruns, prompting the city to terminate its agreement with the ballpark’s original developers, Centerplan Construction Co. and DoNo Hartford LLC. The Yard Goats ultimately played the entire 2016 season on the road before opening the facility in April 2017, while the city later cut all ties with Centerplan and DoNo Hartford by terminating an agreement to redevelop properties surrounding the ballpark.
This week Hartford won a lawsuit brought by Centerplan Construction Co. and DoNo Hartford LLC in an effort to regain the development rights, and almost immediately the city asked the courts to lift liens placed by the developers on the properties surrounding the ballpark. From the Hartford Courant:
In a series of court filings, the city argued that the jury’s verdict bolsters the city’s contention that the firing of Centerplan and DoNo also means it no longer has rights to leases on the land around the park. The leases were part of the original development agreement with the city and allowed Centerplan and DoNo to place liens during the court case.
The city contends in the filings that it has selected a new developer who already has a preliminary development agreement with the city and is ready to move forward with the first phase of a $200 million mixed-use development.
Further stalling those efforts is costing the city critical property tax dollars, especially as the city’s finances are under state oversight for five years, following a $550 million state bailout last year, according to the filings in Superior Court in Hartford.
As noted, the city already has a new deal for developing the area surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park., though the final details need to be finalized. Although plans for new development in the surrounding area stalled amidst the legal dispute, the Yard Goats have had success over their time at Dunkin’ Donuts Park, racking up strong attendance since their April 2017 debut at the facility.
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