Thursday, October 27, 2005

Haney Family Offers to Cover Stadium Cost Overruns for D.C.; Bid for Nationals Includes Financial Commitment for Anacostia Ballpark

To: Metro and Sports desks

Contact: Bill Mashek, 202-354-8275

WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Underscoring his commitment to the future of baseball and Washington, D.C., District businessman Franklin L. Haney today presented City officials with a commitment to pay the cost overruns for the construction of a state-of-the-art ballpark along the Anacostia River if he and his family are selected by Major League Baseball to be the owner of the Nationals.

"As possible team owners we view it as very important that the new stadium be completed as presently planned and scheduled," Franklin Haney wrote in a letter sent to Mayor Anthony Williams. "We also think it is important that the stadium be build in an attractive destination area such as the Anacostia site."

Haney estimates the actual land acquisition and construction costs of the Anacostia ballpark could be $150 to $200 million over budget. Factors for the cost overruns include inflation, increased steel and concrete prices in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, uncertainties regarding the cost of environmental remediation, site acquisition, relocation and rising interest rates.

Haney is proposing that if his bid for the Nationals is successful, he would join in a public-private partnership with the City to develop a ballpark at the Anacostia site of the quality and vision outlined by the City. In his letter, Haney stated, "All costs above the originally budgeted $535 million would be our responsibility to finance without recourse to revenues dedicated to the City."

"Because of these project overruns, there has been talk of moving the ballpark to the current site of Robert F. Kennedy Stadium. That would be a mistake," Haney stated and would "not be in the best interests of the team, its fans, Major League Baseball, or the people who live in the RFK neighborhood."

"When the business community agreed to a financing plan for the new ballpark that included increases in certain business taxes, we did so because of our support not only for baseball in the district," Haney wrote, "but also because we believe that the re-vitalization of Southeast is important for the continued growth and vitality of our City."

In return for financing any cost overruns of the Anacostia ballpark, Haney would request to be named co-developer of the ballpark and be given sufficient control over contracting in conjunction with the City to control costs while still assuring quality.

In addition, the Haneys would seek to be awarded the development rights in the Ballpark District following the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation's Request For Expressions of Interest so that an integrated development plan could be pursued to control costs -- or that they be awarded the right to purchase enough land in the Ballpark District to be able to develop the baseball related retail, museum, hotels and parking.

"Our proposal on the Ballpark District, as well as our effort to purchase the team, evidences that we are committed to baseball in the Nation's Capital in the long-run, not just to make a quick profit by selling the team," Haney said in his letter. Haney, his wife Emeline, and three of their five adult children live in Washington, D.C.

Haney is the founder and chairman of the Franklin L. Haney Company, LLC, a privately owned and Washington-based full service real estate financing and development firm. Haney's company has joined with Berger Devine Yeager, Inc., The Louis Berger Group, Inc., AEPA Architects Engineers, and Merrill Lynch to bid on the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation development area.

Haney presented his offer to MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday. A copy of a letter Mr. Haney sent to all City Councilmembers is attached to this release.

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