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Deal reached on convention center guaranteed minimum price?
The Committee of 100 on the Federal City
May 20, 1998

Media Advisory, May 20, 1998
For more information, (202) 789-7864

Deal reached on convention center guaranteed maximum price?

Authorities claim price will be fixed —
But new study predicts escalation in Mt Vernon convention center costs —
Union Station offers better and cheaper alternative

Inside sources say an agreement for a “guaranteed maximum price” of $650 million for the Mt. Vernon proposal for a new convention center may have been reached. But a new study says the proposed convention center at Mt. Vernon Square cannot be built for $650 million as officials have stated and will actually cost taxpayers about $900 million, excluding bond interest.

Sources said a preliminary agreement was reached between Clark Construction and the Washington Convention Center Authority to build the Mt. Vernon convention center for $650 million. Many members of the D.C. council said they would not support the Mt. Vernon plan if its price exceeded that figure.

But a new financial study prepared by the prestigious Committee of 100 on the Federal City says the Mt. Vernon convention center would actually cost almost $900 million.

The study will be released Thursday, May 21 at 11 am at the Sumner School, 17th and M Sts. NW, Ground Floor.

The release of the “guaranteed maximum price” agreement and the new study raises questions as to how much the Mt. Vernon center would actually cost. The Mt. Vernon proposal has come under heavy fire as costs have escalated from $450 million to $737 million before one shovel is in the ground. Critics have charged that a “guaranteed maximum price” may include loopholes that could cost the city millions of dollars once construction begins.

The new Committee of 100 study, prepared with the help of nationally recognized financial and construction cost consultants, makes the case that a convention center at Union Station could save the city an immediate $227 million and be open for business as soon as the proposed Mt. Vernon version.

The D.C. Council has planned a hearing on convention center finances May 29. The Control Board and Congress must also approve any convention center financing plan.

For more information, contact Beth Solomon at (202) 789-7864.

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