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.

Montreal MLS team approved, to play some games at Big Owe

The Montreal Impact have been officially designated as MLS’ 19th franchise, starting in 2012.

As part of the elevation of the team from its current second-tier league (which has a crazy-long name that you really don’t want to try to understand) to the bigs, its brand-new Saputo Stadium will be expanded to hold 20,000 fans; as a condition of being granted the expansion team by MLS, the $23 million Canadian cost is being paid for by the province of Quebec, even though the stadium itself is owned by team.

The promotion of the Impact will also mark the return of regular pro sports to Olympic Stadium, which has been mostly vacant since the Expos left town after 2004, and will now be used to host “select matches” of the soccer team. Now, to bring back Youppi!