"Larry, when will The Cottages open?"
A close second is:
"Are The Cottages open yet?"
So many people have asked so many times in so many places with such interest that I feel the need to give you the "inside scoop" on why this creative project has taken us so long to complete.
And, I get it! We intended to open the project in the fall last year, already!
So, here are the reasons--not excuses, reasons:
1) 2015 turned out to be the wettest year on record in Texas. Rain, heavy rains and storms slowed the earliest, muddiest times of the year, and then some.
2) We endured a few "technical issues." Early on, civil engineering challenges were a factor. Our contractor made a big mistake when he ordered a big shipment of the wrong materials for the houses. The order had to be resubmitted, delaying us several weeks. There were other fairly typical matters that you just expect, but taken with the other matters simply added to our "days behind" count.
3) Our General Contractor got sick and almost died. Our project was a tough one, made tougher by the 6-week plus absence of the leader of the company in charge of the project due to serious health problems.
4) We finally landed a competent project superintendent who shortly thereafter suffered a serious heart attack on the job! Shortly after surgery, he was back on the job and will see it to completion. Still, a very disruptive event for our project.
5) Our award-winning design strategy turned out to be very difficult to construct, requiring artisans to address the challenging metal work, a slow, tedious process.
6) More recently , the General Contractor underestimated the amount of material needed to complete a crucial aspect of the build out--another time draining mistake.
7) In general, across our region, labor is in very short, highly competitive supply. We have not been able to keep enough workers on our job, our comparatively smaller job. Our staggering progress is the result of this labor reality.
Thankfully, we negotiated a guaranteed cost contract, so cost overruns are not a big concern.
It's all about time.
As I read back over my list, I can tell you again I don't intend these to be excuses.
There is no excuse for this ridiculous delay.
Every day we delay means that 50 people have no home to call their own.
No one is more upset by the time delay than I am, unless it is CitySquare's Neighbor Supportive Services team and/or John Greenan, our leader at the Central Dallas Community Development Corporation.
I'm sure I've overlooked something else that has slowed us down. The Cottages will be wonderful. They've been too hard to bring to life for the result to be anything but terrific.