SBD/Issue 135/Facilities & Venues

Recount: DC Official Told To Look At Stadium Estimates Again

DC Council Questions Validity
Of Gandhi’s Ballpark Estimates
The DC Council told DC CFO Natwar Gandhi to “reexamine his recent cost estimate” for acquiring land for the new Nationals ballpark, saying that the initial figures “are inaccurate and that the bill could be much higher,” according to a front-page piece by David Nakamura of the WASHINGTON POST. Gandhi last week said that DC would have to pay $77.1M to buy 14 acres on the Anacostia waterfront, but some of the landowners “will seek more money than Gandhi estimated or go to court to block the city from buying or condemning the land.” The dispute “could vastly increase the public costs of the stadium, delaying the ballpark’s opening or forcing the city to look for another site.” Council member David Catania, who opposes public funding for a stadium, said, “If the CFO does his job right, this (land) will cost more, and we’ll need to find another site that costs less.” M. Roy Goldberg, whose trash transfer station on the site was estimated by Gandhi to be worth $7.1M, said, “I have no idea where those numbers come from. They are way low, not even close.” But Gandhi said, “We’re quite confident of the numbers we have, but we’ll look back and see if we made any major errors in our calculation. If so, we’ll correct it.” Council member Jack Evans, the council’s “most ardent ballpark supporter,” said that some colleagues “are challenging Gandhi’s numbers solely because they are trying to stop the stadium construction.” Evans: “A majority of the city council would be thrilled if the stadium did not happen and will work very hard to make sure the city does not get the land” (WASHINGTON POST, 4/7).

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