Rose Bowl renovation $35 million over budget, behind schedule


The price tag for renovating the Rose Bowl is $35 million over budget and the project is now behind schedule because of unexpected construction setbacks, Pasadena city officials said.

Rose Bowl officials said last week that it may now take them until late 2014, about a year longer than planned, to finish remodeling the famed stadium, home of the annual Rose Bowl game and UCLA Bruins football.

The renovation, which includes widening tunnels, new electrical systems and a remodeled press box, began in 2011 and was supposed to conclude late next year.

Officials with the city of Pasadena, which controls the Rose Bowl Operating Co., said they are unhappy about the cost overruns and delays but intend to complete the renovations.

“It’s frustrating because we’ve had a lot of strikes against us in this project,” said Councilwoman Margaret McAustin. But she added: “If we’ve gotten this far, we want to do it right, even if it takes a little longer.”

The bulk of the unanticipated costs are linked to cost overruns on upgrading the stadium’s technology and electrical systems.

But officials also discovered hazardous materials including asbestos and lead paint, which had to be remediated. On top of that, it turned out the city did not have have reliable records of previous work done on the stadium, meaning workers discovered such things as deteriorated steel under the press box when they had been expecting a mixture of concrete and steel. There were also problems with the foundation of the 90-year-old facility.

Another cause of higher costs, said Rose Bowl Operating Co. Chief Executive and General Manager Darryl Dunn, is that the project was designed and bid out in three phases. Although bidding it out all at once may have saved money, Dunn said, doing so would have delayed the start of construction until January of this year — too late for officials’ original completion deadline of Jan. 1, 2014.

Finally, officials said, they are short of funds because a bond issue to pay for the project brought in $12 million less than expected.

The budget gap could increase as work wraps up, said City Manager Michael Beck.

The bad financial news comes as the city is mulling whether to court an NFL team’s presence at the Rose Bowl on a temporary basis.