Saints ballpark design delayed, but opening day won’t be, city says

The blueprints for the new St. Paul Saints ballpark won’t be finished until mid-February, six months later than St. Paul’s contract with designer Ryan Cos. dictated, according to the city.

In spite of the delay, the city says the $63 million stadium will still be able to open in 2015, as originally planned.

“We had some flexibility built into the schedule,” St. Paul Parks spokesman Brad Meyer said.

The Lowertown ballpark hit some unexpected obstacles this summer, when the city realized it had underestimated the cost of cleaning up pollution at the abandoned factory that occupies the site. St. Paul also low-balled the cost of constructing the stadium itself.

The city decided to fill most of the $9 million budget gap with a $6 million “internal loan,” and it hopes to find grants to pay itself back later. The Saints also agreed to kick in an extra $1 million.

During the month when the city was grappling with the shortfall, it insisted the project was proceeding on schedule. But while demolition went ahead, Meyer says, the finer points of design development were “put on hold.”

That work was supposed to be largely completed by now, according to the time table spelled out in the contract with Ryan Cos.

While that schedule has been thrown out the window, Meyer says the more important date — the start of construction in April — remains unchanged.

H/t Finance & Commerce.