Thursday, March 31, 2005

HOK-HUM

HOK Sport, designer of 72 of the 30 major league stadiums will get their crack at one more, ours.

They've had some gems (Full list here), but they've also had a dud or two(Comerica sticks out in my mind). They're a safe choice -- especially with the 2008 deadline looming -- and their experience should be a big asset.

I'll reserve judgement til we see a design. The only thing I worry about is that the HOK style is almost becoming a cliche. Spare me the green seats, and I'll be happy.

(I think HOK also has a policy of no support columns, meaning their upper decks are typically further away from the field than some of the older stadiums. That might be a problem for those who have tickets in the upper deck at RFK, which, in places, looms right on top of the field.)

The other important ballpark news is that DC CEO Natwar Gandhi issued the final cost estimate for the ballpark. And in a definite Capt. Louis Renault moment, it's shockingly $46MM higher, and falls juuuuust under the cap set by the Council. (Had it gone over, the financing legislation required a new site to be selected.)
Mayoral spokesman Chris Bender called Gandhi's study a "worst-case scenario" by a "very conservative CFO." In several areas, Bender noted, Gandhi included contingency money that might not have to be spent.

"People should not look at the numbers and assume that's it. We're going to find ways to stay under these numbers," Bender said. "If we can, we'll come in even further under, but even with everything factored in, we're still under the cap. The council set forth a bar, and we did exactly what the council asked us to do."

It's a conservative estimate, huh? Anyone want to bet that the conservative estimate gets blown away by the eventual price? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

Now begins the long legal wrangling over eminent domain. That's always my favorite part of the building process. I'm sure you'll grow to love it too!

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