According to reports out of Seattle, the Oak View Group (the folks behind the Seattle NHL franchise drive) may jettison their current contractor, Skanska, after expense estimates have climbed over $ 200 million beyond their original budget.

Skanska, who originally figured about $600 million a year ago, now says the project could hit $825 million, especially since OVG wants to add extra initiatives inside the building.

According to Jason Rantz, who hosts a popular morning talk show on conservative talker KTTH in Seattle, as well as the Seattle Times,  Skanska refused to sign what is called a Guaranteed Maximum Price document.  Pretty simple, it legally binds them to NOT exceed a certain level of expenses, regardless of outcome.  These generally force contractors to really squeeze to maximize dollars and quality.

Rantz says this should not really come as a surprise, as the City of Seattle is "pretty awful" at their own construction projects. As for people saying 'what's the worry because public dollars are not involved?'  Rantz says 'not yet.'  He believes there may be some form of public assistance or (bailout) coming in the future.

Rantz and others say OVG doesn't have a firm grasp on the project, as evidenced by what he says are naive' statements about traffic issues or snarls on game nights.  The situation continues to grow more interesting.

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