Developer misses construction deadline for Dunkin Donuts Park - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Developer misses construction deadline for Dunkin Donuts Park

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Stadium construction continues in Hartford. (WFSB photo) Stadium construction continues in Hartford. (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

Tuesday was the deadline for the Dunkin Donuts Park in Hartford, but developers missed the deadline and the stadium will not be ready for the minor league baseball team.

By missing the deadline that means they could face penalties for breaching their contract with the city.

Construction crews worked around the clock to complete the stadium for the Double-A Yard Goats.

DoNo LLC and Centerplan Construction signed a funding agreement on Jan. 20 to build a $65-million stadium. The contract signing came after it was clear the stadium would not be completed by projected opening day and at the original budget of $55 million.

Despite the 24 hours-7 days a week schedule, the May 17th deadline will come and go without the stadium being substantially completed.

"Today is the deadline for the developers to reach substantial completion on the baseball stadium, there is a certainty that they will not reach it," Mayor Luke Bronin told Eyewitness News.  

Bronin said it's clear they also won't be finished by the one week grace period, May 24th.

"I think it's very unlikely based on where they are that they're going to have it done by the 24th either so we're assessing all of our options,” Bronin said.

The home opener was originally scheduled for April 7, but was moved back to May 31.

The Yard Goats wanted to be able to get in the stadium at least two weeks before to get their personnel trained and familiar with the facility.

“Obviously we all have an interest in getting this thing open as quickly as possible and having baseball played,” Bronin said. “But, we also need to make sure we are protecting the city's interests."

It's been an aggressive project from the start. Developers wanted to build a brand new stadium in downtown Hartford in just 14 months.

But now, the penalties for not having the park done are steep.

City officials said there's a fine of $50,000 for the first day and $15,000 for every day thereafter until construction is complete.

"There are liquidated damages that the developer has to pay starting today, if they haven't met the deadline,” Bronin said.

Bronin said he now needs to sit down with the team, the league and the developers to figure out what the best option is moving forward.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Owner of the Yard Goats John Solomon said "We’re extremely disappointed the deadline for substantial completion has been missed, again. We encourage Mayor Bronin and the Stadium Authority to do everything in their power to get the stadium completed so that the team can come home to Hartford and play ball at Dunkin’ Donuts Park this summer. The Yard Goats remain committed to our fans and sponsors, to bringing professional baseball back to Hartford with the best park in minor league baseball."

There is no word right now on an opening date for Dunkin Donuts Park. In the meantime, the Yard Goats are playing their first home games in Norwich.

The Eastern League also must deem Dunkin Donuts Park ready for play before the home opener.

The team played at Dodd Stadium in Norwich on Tuesday night, where fans braved chilly temps to see the team play.

"I told some people at work I was going to baseball game and they said 'oh it's too cold for baseball' so I'm wondering if it will pick up a little bit in July," said Bryan Young, a Yard Goats fan.

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