WASHINGTON -- The final cost of the Washington Nationals ballpark is expected to be $693 million, or $62 million more than the price tag anticipated when the city agreed to use public money to provide a home for its new baseball team.
The final tally was over budget because the cost of securing the property and the subsequent environment cleanup work were greater than expected. Those were two items exempt from the spending cap created by the District of Columbia Council, which had intended Nationals Park to cost no more than $631 million -- with $611 coming from the city and $20 million from the team's owners.
"We successfully managed the costs that we can control, and those ended up coming in below the cost caps established by the council," Bill Hall, vice chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, said Thursday. "It was recognized from Day One that there was uncertainty about the land costs, and it was those costs that resulted in the higher figure."
The Nationals played their first season in the new ballpark in 2008 while some areas unseen by spectators remained under construction. The team refused to pay rent for much of the year because it claimed the facility wasn't finished.
The work is now near completion, clearing the way for the sports commission to sign a final agreement with the ballpark's builders.