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Cost Escalation Forces Convention Center to Reject Construction Bid

For immediate release
October 16, 1997

The controversial proposal for a convention center at Mt. Vernon Square teetered closer to collapse today as the Washington Convention Center Authority announced it will reject the sole construction bid for the project due to lack of funds

"They don't have the money to build this project, in part because the choice of the Mt. Vernon site has added about $200 million to the total cost," said Beth Solomon of the Shaw Coalition. "Trying to shoehorn this huge building into the Shaw site started the cost spiral that is jeopardizing D.C.'s hopes for a new convention center."
The WCCA said it has abandoned the "design-build" construction method due to lack of funds, going instead to an "at-risk construction manager" to build the proposed center.

"The term "at-risk" is appropriate," said Solomon. "This whole project is at risk."

Critics of the Mt. Vernon site, including the Shaw Coalition and the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, have favored an alternative convention center plan at Union Station North that they say would be less expensive to build and allow for future expansion in the ever-growing convention market.

The Committee of 100 report summarizing the Union Station North proposal, along with an explanation of spiraling costs at the Mt. Vernon site, is available here.

For more information, call the Shaw Coalition at (202) 789-7864.

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