click image for larger viewIn an email, Studio/Gang architect Jeanne Gang disputed the numbers quoted in a recent article by Chicago Sun-Times real estate reporter on the costs and status of the proposed Ford Calumet Environment Center, which Studio/Gang won a competition to design all the way back in 2004. Articles around that time quoted it as being s $6,800.000 project.
However, writes Gang, "The project construction budget was established after the competition, in 2006, and was, including site work, $17 million. Now in 2011 the cost is $20 million (not 27). The difference is due to time escalation of cost, NOT cost overruns . . . The budget may have to be adjusted now due to [the current] financial situation, but the project is not cancelled. In fact, they are in the middle of a fundraising campaign."
Having had to deal media flacks his entire career, it's puzzling how Roeder would just swallow a city bureaucrat's latest spin whole. "If your mother says she loves you, check it out," was the mantra for cub reporters at the old City News Bureau, but perhaps the new realities of print journalism make that it impossible.
Being a blogger rather than a reporter, I'm not double-sourcing Gang's figures, either, but my bet is they're a lot more reliable than a second-hand version of a city bureaucrat's spin.
More importantly, the word that fundraising for the project is continuing is encouraging. At the time of competition, it's projected completion date was 2006. If the city had spent half the effort they wasted trying to jam a children's museum in Grant Park, the Ford Calumet Environmental Center would have been completed long before the challenges of the recent global financial meltdown, and people would be coming to Chicago from throughout the world to see it.