WASHINGTON, DC-Last September–upon rumored confirmation that Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig would settle on DC as the new home of the relocating Montreal Expos–District Mayor Anthony A. Williams revealed that a proposed baseball park for a new Washington Nationals team would cost approximately $434.7 million. But a cost study just released by Washington, DC CFO Natwar M. Gandhi has put the price tag for the one-million-sf facility at far more significant $581.2 million.

The steep increase in projected hard costs, however, is not as dramatic as it seems on its face. Natwar released his first cost study of the project in October, following the city’s official agreement to become host to team. At that time, the report concluded that $534.8 million would be needed to realize the development. And yet another set of numbers, issued in November by the Office of the DC Auditor, put the project’s total cost at $583.8 million; just slightly more than the figure noted in the CFO’s most recent study.

The stadium will occupy a 21-acre parcel on S. Capitol Street SE in an area along the Anacostia River. In addition to its 41,000 seats, the sports facility will have 40,000 sf of office space for team management; a 30,000-sf central commissary; a 20,000-sf baseball clubhouse with such amenities as a 2,500-sf weight room, spa and laundry; and a 4,000-sf to 6,000-sf Hall of Fame museum.

As for financing this development, much of the funds will come from private sources. Proposals for private financing were due at the Office of the Chief Financial Officer on Jan. 17; eight were received but only two were certified by the CFO earlier this month. Deutsch Bank’s proposal got the thumbs up, as did that of the Gates Group.

The Nationals will play their first home opener at the existing RFK Stadium on April 14; if all goes as planned, the team will play its first game at its new stadium in 2008.