CARY, N.C. — The construction company tapped to build Raleigh's new convention center is not getting off on the right foot in the Triangle.
Skanska, Barnhill Construction already owes the Town of Cary thousands of dollars in fines for being late with its new Town Hall. That worries some on the Raleigh City Council.
"We are fairly far behind on our project at this point," said Tim Bailey, Cary's director of engineering,
He says Skanska Construction is doing the job in three phases. Phase one, the parking garage,was two months late.
"We did make adjustments to the contract time for the weather delays based on what we feel like the contract allows," Bailey said.
The new town hall building, phase two, is supposed to open Friday but is also behind schedule. By the end of June, Cary expects to collect just more than $30,000 in late fees from Skanska.
"I'm not surprised, because Skanska has a reputation for that problem, being late," Raleigh Councilor Jessie Taliaferro said.
Taliaferro voted against using Skanska to build the $180 million downtown convention center.
City manager Russell Allen did not check Skanska's references before the vote. He went back and did so and the council heard about even more late projects. A couple of council members are still not convinced.
"I don't have faith in them," Taliaferro said. "I don't think they are really committed as a company to get the projects done on time for their clients."
Andy Whitely, Skanska's regional vice president, says that is not true. He says a "different team will work on the convention center" and they'll "hire more people if necessary" to finish on time.
Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker is not worried.
"If you said you can only hire a company that never had a problem you wouldn't be able to hire anybody. So what you try to do is hire the best in the field and that's what we've done here," Meeker said.
Taliaferro only has one concern.
"We cannot be late on this convention center. It must open on time," she said.
Construction on Raleigh's convention center is scheduled to start in about six months.
Whitely says Skanska will be on top of it, otherwise he said, "that's the first way to lose clients."He says Skanska is disputing Cary about the fine for being late. He says the company deserves more time because of weather delays.