Mayor: Developer defaulted on Hartford ballpark agreement - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Mayor: Developer defaulted on Hartford ballpark agreement

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

The developer behind the basbeall stadium being build in downtown Hartford defaulted on its agreement with the city, according to the mayor.

Mayor Luke Bronin sent a letter to Centerplan Construction, telling it that he called the $47,050,000 performance bond for Dunkin' Donuts Park.

Bronin said the stadium for the Hartford Yard Goats should have been completed by May 17.

"This afternoon, the city formally notified the surety, Arch Insurance Company, that the developer has failed to perform their obligations, and that the surety has a duty to make sure the project is completed at no further cost to the taxpayer of Hartford," Bronin said in a statement. "Back in January, when it became clear that the developers were far behind schedule and millions over budget, we brought all parties to the table to finance the gap. That was the right thing to do to keep things moving."

Bronin said at this point, however, the developers have repeatedly missed deadlines and continue to run over-budget.

"We have no choice but to bring the surety to the table to manage and finance completion of the ballpark," he continued. "The developer has threatened to abandon the job if we call the bond, but to do that would be another breach of contract. They have a clear obligation to keep working, and if they believe that calling the bond wash¹t necessary, they can prove it by finishing the job as soon as possible with the resources they've been given."

The Hartford Stadium Authority called in the insurance company earlier this week because it was concerned Centerplan didn't have the money or resources to complete the project this season.

Centerplan, however, said that the cities repeated requests for changes to the project are what caused the delays.

"There have been multiple changes issued from the city of Hartford for us to change the design of the ballpark," said Jason Rudnick from Centerplan. 

The insurance company could keep Centerplan on the job or hire another company. A meeting with the insurance company will happen on Tuesday. 

"During the course of 2015, every single meeting we raised the question, are you on time?' and 'are you on budget?'" said Charles Matthews from The Hartford Stadium Authority. "We were assured we were on time and on budget." 

The developer told Eyewitness News that they are 95% done, but that's debatable. There's still elevators that are not working as well as unfinished railings and steps. 

Despite the officials complaint, Centerplan put out a statement saying, " We have people there now. We will have people there over the weekend. We are continuing to work to finish the stadium."

"They have an obligation to continue to work, I hope they work as quickly as possible," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin. "We would like nothing more than to see them finish this job in a reasonable time frame. 

A reasonable time frame could eb weeks or months depending on what happens with the insurance company. 

Here is the letter Bronin sent to Arch Insurance:

Dear Ms. Latham:

We are writing on behalf of the City of Hartford and the Hartford Stadium Authority, obligees under the above-referenced Performance Bond.

This correspondence serves as formal notice that your principal under the Performance Bond SU1127633, Centerplan Construction Company, LLC, ("Centerplan") is in default of its Design Build Agreement for the Minor League Ballpark in Hartford, Connecticut (the "Project").  The defaults of Centerplan include, but are not limited to; (1) its failure to reach substantial completion by May 17, 2016; (2) its failure to pay liquidated damages that have been claiming since that date; (3) its failure to post a letter of credit regarding said liquidated damages; and (4) numerous construction deficiencies and code violations that remain on the Project. Also, Centerplan has publicly threatened to walk off the jobsite, which if done, will constitute yet another serious default.

We look forward to meeting with you at 2pm on May 31, 2016 to discuss these defaults.  We trust that Arch will honor its obligations to its obligees, the City of Hartford and the Hartford Stadium Authority.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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    Construction has been rolling nearly around the clock at Dunkin' Donuts Park in downtown Hartford, but still the stadium for the Hartford Yard Goats remains unfinished.

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