Though its co-tenants are still considering backup plans, the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will open on time, according to its builder.
As we noted recently, the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals are expecting the ballpark to open in February 2017, but the teams are exploring alternatives in case the facility does not open as expected. Generally speaking this not a bad strategy, especially given the inconvenience caused by delays such as Hartford’s Dunkin’ Donuts Park. However, both the Astros and Nationals have expressed some confidence that Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is on schedule.
Based on recent updates, it appears that that assertion is correct. During a recent tour of the project, Palm Beach County commissioner Shelly Vana asked if Ballpark of the Palm Beaches is on schedule, and was told by a Hunt Construction official that it would take “something pretty catastrophic” for the ballpark to fall behind. More from the Palm Beach Post:
“You’re going to be open by 2017, right?’’ Vana asked Doug Utt, a general manager of Hunt Construction Group, as they rode around the 160-acre site in a golf cart with a reporter.
“Absolutely. No ‘ifs,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’,’’ replied Utt. “I’m excited. I’m already making plans to bring my family to the first game and eat a hot dog.’’
There could be one possible ‘but’ — the weather or, to be exact, a hurricane. The teams are closely watching the tropical weather systems approaching Florida over the final three months of hurricane season. Even if a tropical storm struck West Palm Beach, the teams should finish on time, Utt said.
“It would have to be something pretty catastrophic” to force the teams to delay the opening another year, he said.
As we noted recently, the most logical solution for both teams may be to return to their previous facilities. The Nationals have the option to return to Space Coast Stadium in Viera, while the Astros are lining up the particulars if a return to Osceola County Stadium becomes necessary. For now, though, there seems to be confidence that the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches will be ready for action next spring.
Rendering courtesy HKS.