Stadium authority's director to depart

Hoffman to join private firm after 10 years, 2 stadiums

September 14, 1999|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

Bruce Hoffman, the man who oversaw construction of Baltimore's twin-stadium Camden Yards complex, is leaving the Maryland Stadium Authority next year to join a private company.

Hoffman has been executive director of the stadium authority since 1989. He is leaving the agency to become a regional vice president with Gilbane Building Co.

The firm was hired by the stadium authority to manage pre-construction matters related to the proposed, $90 million arena for the University of Maryland at College Park. Gilbane also managed the construction of the Baltimore Convention Center expansion for the stadium authority.

"It's a tough thing to give up a job like this, but it's a good career opportunity for me," Hoffman, 52, said from his office in the warehouse overlooking Oriole Park.

During his tenure at the stadium authority, Hoffman managed millions of dollars worth of public projects, including the stadiums, a massive expansion of Baltimore's Convention Center and a convention center in Ocean City. Currently, the authority is involved in proposed renovations of the Hippodrome in Baltimore, a conference center in Montgomery County and athletic facilities for Towson University.

"He is the epitome of a professional public servant. He's always been open and honest and has extraordinary ability to handle these very difficult projects and is very well-respected by the General Assembly," said Del. Howard P. Rawlings, a Baltimore Democrat who chairs the appropriations committee.

Of the two best-known projects, Oriole Park came in roughly on budget for $106.5 million. PSINet Stadium, at $229 million, exceeded its budget by nearly $30 million. Neither figure includes land costs, roadwork and a pair of light rail stations that pushed the total bill for the stadiums to more than $500 million.

Hoffman's salary is $185,500 a year -- $65,500 more than the governor is paid.

Stadium authority chairman John Brown said the agency will put together a search committee so that a successor can be named by December. Hoffman will remain, possibly as an unpaid consultant, to aid in the transition period and to shepherd some pending projects through the General Assembly session that runs from January to April.

"I'm happy for him. It's sad for us, but this is a career opportunity for him," Brown said.

Hoffman will, because of Gilbane's involvement, recuse himself from discussions of one of the agency's highest-profile projects: the replacement of Cole Field House at College Park. Funding for the project, now in the design phase, is likely to be an issue before the General Assembly next year as construction is scheduled to begin next year.

"He is disassociating himself totally from that," Brown said.

Gilbane is the nation's fifth-largest general contractor, with $2.2 billion in annual revenues. The privately held firm is based in Providence, R.I., and has a regional headquarters in Laurel.

Pub Date: 9/14/99

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