New East Bank water park months behind completion schedule

Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 2:16pm

Completion of Nashville’s Cumberland Park — the first piece of the Cumberland River redevelopment project on the East Bank — is months behind schedule, which could force its general contractor to contractually pay Metro $500 in liquidation damages each day construction lingers.

The penalty would go toward covering additional expenditures that accumulate with the delay. For now, project leaders say its construction isn’t over budget. 

But Stan Hardaway, president of Nashville-based Hardaway Construction Corp., contracted to build the park, said his company has asked for an extension for the project and believes it should be granted because delays were caused by several factors outside its control. 

“I think it’s imprudent to be throwing out that any liquidation damages would be charged because that may not be the case,” Hardaway said, referring to the requested extension.

“It’s a very unique design,” he said. “It’s something totally different than even the city or architect has done before.” 

The Metro Development and Housing Agency, which is overseeing the project, had originally targeted a June 30 opening for the new park, sandwiched between the Shelby Street Pedestrian and Korean War Veterans Memorial bridges on the East Bank of the Cumberland River. Construction initiated in October 2010.

The park, which citizens recently dubbed “Cumberland Park,” is to include several water features and emphasize ecology. San Francisco-based Hargreaves Associates designed the green space.

MDHA’s contract with Hardaway Construction originally outlined a June 30 completion deadline. The company received a 33-day extension, but that passed Aug. 2. 

Contractors tasked with constructing the park have run into several complications, according to MDHA officials. Now project leaders say an October opening is more likely.

Ed Owens, the agency’s waterfront redevelopment director, said a rainy winter and spring slowed things down from the outset. Complicating matters further, he said everything in the new park is custom-made. In addition, he said the park’s 7.5 acres sit on a brownfield; hence, environmental concerns must be addressed at every turn.

“Quality, integrity and attention to detail have always been a higher priority than expedience,” Owens said. “All of it is a very customized design, and sometimes it just takes more time than anticipated originally.”

But MDHA is also pinning the responsibility for the delay on Hardaway Construction; as such, the agency has opted to impose $500 in daily liquidated damages.

“They are ultimately responsible for bringing the project in on time,” Owens said. “No question about it.”

Owens said Hardaway Construction would pay the liquidated damages in full after the project is completed.

Though Hardaway, the company’s president, said he plans to ask for an extension, MDHA spokeswoman Julie Oaks said that the agency ultimately would decide whether to grant one.

Owens said the water-centric green space is still within its $12.3 million budget, which is carved out of the $29 million total budget for Phase 1 of the comprehensive riverfront redevelopment project. To date, he said $4.7 million has gone toward the park, acknowledging most expenditures would come at the tail end of the civic space’s completion.

Dollars for the riverfront redevelopment undertaking originated from Mayor Karl Dean’s 2009-10 capital spending plan.

Meanwhile, MDHA officials say renovation of the riverfront’s NABRICO building (now called the Bridge Building) is one month from completion. Officials hope the building will be certified LEED platinum.

MDHA recently issued a request for proposals in search of a developer to complete the building’s interior. The Metro Parks and Recreation Department will operate an office in the vintage structure.  

14 Comments on this post:

By: JeffF on 8/25/11 at 3:43

It's not like Hardaway Construction's owners have a history of filing bankruptcy toavoid debts and fines or anything. Oh wait....

By: Dr Danny on 8/26/11 at 5:20

It’s a very unique design,” he said. “It’s something totally different than even the city or architect has done before.”

Hardaway submitted the bid based on the most reliable information that they had at the time. Whenever Contractors start using the buzz words - unique, totally different, that to me means that they are either -

a.) way over their head and don't know what they are doing or
b.) are behind schedule and looking for an excuse to extend the end date.

By: bfra on 8/26/11 at 6:25

What associated with Karl's name isn't behind schedule or over budget?

By: producer2 on 8/26/11 at 7:06

Yet, if they had given the contract to an out of town contractor with more "similar" experience you would have complained about that as well....

By: bfra on 8/26/11 at 7:34

producer2 - bet Karl hasn't invited you to the country club yet?

By: sickofstupidity on 8/26/11 at 7:47

Oh Darn, the bath tub for the bums and ghetto scum is behind schedule.

By: producer2 on 8/26/11 at 8:07

Not sure what that really means bfra, but your instance that somehow I am connected to the Mayor continues to amuse me. The simple fact is many people (a vast majority in Davidson county) agree with many of the projects that the City is currently undergoing. It's called a democracy and if there are so many haters of the administration out there, where were they on August 4th?

By: bfra on 8/26/11 at 9:17

producer2 - As Karl only got 50,300 votes out of over 200,000 registered voters, guess most didn't feel it worth their time! But we sure rammed The Fairgrounds down his throat.

By: Stanh on 8/26/11 at 9:18

JeffF doesn't know what he is talking about. Hardaway's owners have never filed bankruptcy and worked out all of their real estate loan problems in the early 90's filed every other developer in town DID file bankruptcy so get your facts straight before commenting on here. Dr Danny, don't believe everything you read. Your assumptions are way off base.

By: TRHJR on 8/26/11 at 9:55

I saw ole homeless Jimmy & Joe just raising cane with the construction workers .... wanted their NEW SHOWERS to be completed .... I want to see Julie Oaks standing guard of this " water park " WHAT A WASTE OF MONEY !!!!!

By: producer2 on 8/26/11 at 1:01

nice victory there bfra. the fairgrounds will be gone in less than 4 years...the referendum did not save it, it just requires a few more council members to vote for it.

By: Shadow63 on 8/26/11 at 2:09

I'd like to know how Nashville qualifies their contractors. Remember the Briley Parkway fiasco.
Even finished (sort of) it looks like amateurs worked on it. The concret barrier patterns don't match and look terrible. There are caps on some of the barriers and none on others, the patterns at Briloey and Elm Hill Pk appear to have been purchased at a liquidation sale. Nashville isn't ready for prime time. Too much hanky panky going on with the people in charge I'd guess.

By: Shadow63 on 8/26/11 at 2:22

Nashville voters have no say in major spending and construction projects. Any objection by the citizens at best rate only a token pause. A case in point is the convention center. The city spent freight cars full of money on consultants before it was even OKd. This is our mayor's modus operandi. Face it folks, the fair ground is gone. Just a polite pause and then bam The developers will get what they paid for. What's happening about the Sounds baseball stadium that was voted down by the voters? LMAO

By: catenarykat on 8/26/11 at 4:26

Producer2 is right: Many of us like what's going on in Nashville now. Wisecracks may sound more snappy, but we're working together for a better Nashville!