Lawsuit Over Disney Hall Cost Overruns Settled

Classic Arts News   Lawsuit Over Disney Hall Cost Overruns Settled
A multi-million dollar lawsuit over who should pay for the unexpectedly high costs of the Frank Gehry-designed Walt Disney Concert Hall in downtown Los Angeles has been settled, reports The Los Angeles Times.

Eleven builders and contractors will split a $13.3 million settlement from the hall's parent corporation and an additional $4.5 million from Gehry's professional liability insurance policy, according to the paper.

Disney Hall opened in October 2003, six years late and at a total cost of $274 million — $174 million over budget. The lawsuit was filed less than a month later, when the project's general contractor said it and many subcontractors were owed $43.3 million because design changes and flawed construction plans had led to delays and cost increases, according to the Times. Disney Hall Inc. countersued, saying it was entitled to more than $6 million from builders who had been given advance notice to master the complex plans.

The required payouts have reportedly not yet been made and are due by September 14.

According to the paper, the main contractor, Minneapolis-based Mortenson, will receive $1.5 million and ten subcontractors will share payments ranging from $98,000 (for the company that insulated pipes) to $6.1 million for ACCO Engineering Systems Inc., which installed the hall's plumbing, heating, ventilation, air conditioning and fire safety systems. As a result of the settlement, the price tag for Disney Hall has now reached $284 million.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, an ex-member of the Disney Hall Inc. board, told the Times, "It's a classic settlement that no one is 100 percent happy with. The important thing is that it's a manageable amount, the maximum range of what was manageable for the concert hall. To pursue a trial on either side would have been senseless, because it would have put a lot more money at risk than this."

Paul Cossette, the Mortenson senior vice president who was project manager for Disney Hall's construction, told the paper that the settlement "was something that needed to be done to put it behind us. It's important that no one lose perspective on what a great building it is, and all of the accomplishments of the people involved to build that beautiful, complex structure."

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