Saturday, June 10, 2006

do it where its more difficult and expensive:
15’ feet east of the South Capitol right of way

Less space to line up and less places to direct vehicular traffic.

Traffic from the existing South Capitol Street Bridge will have to enter at an entrance at N Street (the first right hand turn), while that from the replacement bridge will have the added option of turning right onto Potomac Avenue and left onto to northbound 1st Street SE to the one additional garage entrance. Contrast that with RFK Stadium’s accessibility from the East Capitol Street Bridge.

Way more underground excavation in a large area near a waterfront with uncertain soil conditions and other underground surprises

While RFK Stadium’s excavation already exists, the Nationals Stadium requires an all new excavation in uncertain conditions with significant variables.

Whereas the 2002 stadium study mentioned the possibility of adverse soil conditions – e.g. high water tables – the initial phase of excavation for constructing Nationals Stadium has found other previously overlooked underground conditions that have already increased construction costs unexpectedly.

Crews beginning site preparation for the new baseball stadium have turned up tanks of oil that will cost far more than is budgeted to clean up. (By Lucian Perkins -- The Washington Post)

The Washington Nationals ownership group firmly told District government leaders yesterday that it expects a new baseball stadium to be completed by April 2008 with aboveground parking garages, insisting that city planners have run out of time to build parking underground to make way for an entertainment district.

Meanwhile, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, which is overseeing the project, authorized spending nearly half of the stadium's $19.3 million in contingency funds just one month into construction.

The commission's board of directors voted to spend $2.9 million in contingencies to help remediate unexpected environmental problems at the site after workers found 53 unreported tanks of oil under the soil. The board also agreed to spend $6.5 million to help create retail space along First Street SE, a concept mandated by the D.C. Zoning Commission.

The day's events illustrate the type of challenges the city is beginning to face as it tries to meet the timetable for construction of the $611 million publicly funded stadium along the Anacostia River in Southeast.

"I remain confident that we can build this stadium on budget and on time," said William N. Hall, a sports commission board member who heads the commission's baseball committee. "I have no reason to believe otherwise."

In a closed-door meeting at the John A. Wilson Building that lasted more than two hours, representatives for the Theodore N. Lerner family, which owns the team, laid out their position that building underground parking is too expensive and time-consuming. City planners, who want to use some of the garage space for retail shops, presented several alternatives featuring at least some underground parking, but the Lerner representatives did not budge.

Perhaps they are afraid that constructing parking underground could reveal further such unexpected costs increases. How would that work with the D.C. City Council's $611 stadium construction cost cap?

What figures would it take to get the Lerner group to start considering the very idea of a new baseball stadium along South Capitol Street as “too expensive and time-consuming”?

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