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ANAHEIM : Dedication for Overdue Exhibit Hall

Tonight Anaheim officials and community residents will dedicate the newest addition to the Anaheim Convention Center.

In opening ceremonies for Hall D, Mayor Fred Hunter will pitch the first ball from the mound of a temporary baseball diamond constructed inside the new space to illustrate the roominess of the 150,000-square-foot exhibit area.

But amid the festivities there is bound to be grumbling about the Taylor Woodrow Construction Co., whom the city claims was just over six months late in completing the $30-million expansion.

“It’s hurt us,” said Hunter, citing both lost revenue and damage to the center’s reputation.

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The exhibit hall, a parking structure of the same size and an additional adjacent parking structure have been under construction since May, 1988. The additions were scheduled to be finished on Feb. 27.

According to Taylor Woodrow Vice President William Ostfield, the hall “has been usable for its intended purpose since June 4, 1990.”

However, the city maintains that the hall was not ready for use until the middle of this month.

“It could’ve been built in 20 months. . . . It’s just been a battle throughout the whole thing,” said Gary Binger, Taylor Woodrow project manager. “There have been numerous problems relating to subcontractors, architects and the owners. There’s also our own problems. . . . We don’t claim to be totally innocent, but we don’t feel totally responsible.”

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Taylor-Woodrow’s contract with the city holds the company liable for damages of $5,000 for each day past the Feb. 27 deadline that construction was incomplete. Taylor Woodrow has declined to specify reasons for the delay but plans to file claims with the city explaining the problems in coming weeks.

A few dozen trade shows were counting on the new hall to house their attractions, and the city has lost still untabulated revenues from these shows. The convention center generates about $1 billion in revenues annually.

One tenant, International Tile Exposition, filed a $20-million suit against the city in May and sought a temporary injunction to use the facility.

That injunction was denied, but the suit still stands, charging the city with misrepresentation and breach of contract. The city claims that it is not liable under the contract.

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Taylor Woodrow, which has been under fire for its construction delays at John Wayne Airport, notified the city last November that the convention center project would not be finished until May, 1990.


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