Apparently, Gwinnett County is in a bit of a pinch to build the stadium quickly.
The county is under soft April 1 deadline to begin construction, according to its agreement with the Braves, who will as part of the deal relocate their top minor league affiliate from Richmond to play in the park. The agreement requires the county to make “reasonable best efforts” to commence construction by that date.
The agreement doesn’t give the same flexibility on completion. The stadium is supposed to be done by March 1, 2009.
While the Braves agreed to seek a road trip to start the season, possibly giving the county a little more time to finish up work at the ballpark, the agreement warns that the Braves “will suffer substantial damages in the event the stadium is not completed on time.”
While a private developer would have to wait for [Development of Regional Impact program] review completion before doing any development or construction work on a project, [Atlanta Regional Commission] has never had a case quite like this one, Reuter said.
“I’m not sure that we’ve ever had a case where a local government’s on a clock like that,” he said. “I would think we would try to do whatever we could to not hamstring them. I would think we would try to work with them to make it happen.”
Milk costs more at a convenience store than a grocery store because customers are willing to pay for convenience. Call it the 7-11 principle. In the same way, if you want a construction project finished quickly, it is going to be more expensive than with a more flexible timetable. You have less time to seek competitive bids, wait for convenient delivery of equipment and materials, or solve unforeseen problems. The original $45 million cost estimate was low to begin with. Given the time constraints, I expect overruns to be higher than usual. I will not be surprised if the project exceeds $60 million.
The articles also reveals some other interesting information about the surrounding retail space.
Gwinnett Center General Manager Preston Williams, who is managing the construction effort, said his office and Lawrenceville developer Brand Morgan, who sold the land to the county and intends to build a retail complex around the stadium, are working on the DRI application. But he couldn’t say when it would be complete.
The developer who sold the land was in on the deal and he held onto surrounding land that has certainly increased in value. Well, at least they didn’t buy it and give it to the Braves.