SBD/Issue 52/Facilities & Venues

DC CFO Says District Cannot Raise Cap On Ballpark Spending

DC Officials Standing Firm On
$535M Spending Cap For Ballpark
DC CFO Natwar Gandhi and other local officials “are expected to tell the DC Council Monday that raising a $535[M] cap on spending for a new baseball stadium is not an option, and that the city must scale back the ballpark design or persuade [MLB] to chip in to stay under budget,” according to Tim Lemke of the WASHINGTON TIMES. Gandhi will tell the council that it cannot “budge from the cap and retain credibility with bond raters.” Meanwhile, DC Sports & Entertainment Commission (DCSEC) members said that they will provide the council with details of a new lease agreement with MLB for the ballpark. DCSEC Baseball Committee Chair William Hall: “I’m optimistic that we will work out the issues necessary to make good on the deal from Wall Street’s standpoint, as well as keep ballpark costs at or below that $535[M].” DC Council Finance Committee Chair Jack Evans said that he is “not aware of any discussions to raise the price ceiling,” even though costs for the ballpark have risen from $244M to $337M and land acquisition costs have increased to $98M (WASHINGTON TIMES, 11/23).

LAND IN GEAR: In DC, David Nakamura reports the DC government has told landowners on the site of the proposed ballpark that “they must vacate their properties by Feb. 3 so that the city can begin construction in March.” Officials had said that they wanted the land by December 31 “so they would have time to raze the buildings and address any environmental problems by March 1.” So far, seven landowners have agreed to sell, for a total of $14M, while DC filed an eminent domain suit against the 16 remaining owners, “depositing $84[M] in offers in a court-controlled trust” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/23).

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