Montreal Impact stadium bids too high, ask again later

It looks like an innocuous enough article, noting that the expansion of the Montrreal Impact‘s Saputo Stadium will be delayed a couple of months, forcing the team to begin its first MLS season next spring at Olympic Stadium. Down in the fine print, though, there’s some cause for concern:

Team president Joey Saputo and vice-president Richard Legendre, responsible for the stadium, met the media prior to Sunday’s North American Soccer League game against the Atlanta Silverbacks to announce a second call for bids concerning technical specifications for infrastructure will proceed next month after what was deemed “unsatisfying results” with initial proposed bids.

“The cost was globally too high,” said Saputo. “It is not a question for us to exceed the total public money awarded (by the Quebec government) for the expansion project.

“We have worked hard over the last few weeks with the different people involved to find solutions to expand our stadium to 20,000 seats, under a roof, while respecting the initial budget,” he said.

So what’s actually happened is the province put up $23 million for the stadium expansion, but nobody was willing to actually do the job for that price. Legendre said he’s confident that a second set of bids will bring the price down, and maybe he’s right — but if not and there are cost overruns, it’s going to be interesting to see who pays for them.

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4 comments on “Montreal Impact stadium bids too high, ask again later

  1. Two things that make this interesting: Saputo Stadium is a nice and brand new place (it is also bigger than San Jose’s place). Saputo gains a lot of architectural pizzazz by using a view of the much maligned Olympic Stadium (which is a bizarre place to see a soccer game–the concourses are huge in places and the inside is just massive).

  2. Well San Jose’s place is temporary. Saputo is supposed to be the permanent home of the Impact. Just hope MLS doesn’t reconsider their franchise as a result of this. They were already leery of Mr. Saputo anyway.

  3. Surprised they wouldn’t pay the million or so for a soccer field turf top and play at Stade Molson downtown instead of the O.

  4. It’s unlikely they will spend much time at Olympic stadium, if any. Saputo put $15m into the stadium to begin with, so it seems unlikely that he (or Papa Lino) will balk at an extra couple of million… they’ll lose big time revenue (and fan support) if they play inside at the big Owe.

    You suspect that two things are in the works here…

    1) they want MLS to approve a smaller expansion, say keep the grandstand seating in one end, then build a permanent stand in place of the ‘grandstand’ along the south (if I’ve got my directions right) touchline. A capacity of 18k or so should be attainable, and no additional money necessary. 18k is more than adequate for their needs in the short term.

    or 2) They really, really think they can get even more money from various levels of gov’t to get to 20k… given that questions are now being asked about the Alouettes taxpayer funding for the expansion of Molson stadium at McGill… I know which one seems most likely to me…

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