Union’s new city hall project is moving forward and picking up speed.
Navigate Building Solutions, the city’s project manager for the work, updated aldermen on the status of the project at Monday’s board meeting. Navigate’s Jen Kissinger provided the board with an updated time line and budget.
Kissinger said work is set to start soon on the city’s portion of the building demolition. Last week, demolition started on previous owner Darren Newbank’s portion of the building.
When the city purchased the building from Newbanks, a deal was reached where the city would be responsible for removing the brick part of the building and Newbanks would take down the metal addition.
Kissinger said a special meeting is needed Monday, June 17, to keep the demolition on track. The city is expected to award a contract to an abatement vendor.
The goal is to start the abatement work by Monday, June 24, she said, and have it wrapped up by Friday, July 19. At that point, large-scale demolition will begin.
The city is expected to award a contract regarding the demolition in July.
Kissinger said the demolition will be done in phases. Because of the way the building is set up, the first phase will be just getting rid of the structures.
For a while, the site will just have the building’s original concrete slab, she said. Once a general contractor is selected, they will be responsible for finishing up the demolition.
Kissinger told board members the project is trending over budget, but she’s not concerned.
The city’s target for the entire project is $4,050,000. In March, early estimates for the project came in at $4,037,296.
Plans have been tweaked and finetuned since then and anticipated construction costs have increased because of the impact of tariffs. Now Kissinger said the project’s estimated price tag is $4,077,667.
Kissinger said she isn’t concerned by that number. She said with other projects Navigate has seen bids come in under budget and she expects this one to follow suit.
The city is expected to finalize the construction documents in July. Once that is done, the advertising process will start for bidders.
Navigate hopes to have the contractor on site and working in September. Substantial completion is set for September 2020 with city staff moving in the following month.
The city agreed to purchase the former Fricks grocery store in late March 2018 for $475,000 from Central Markets Inc. The city stated it intended to use the site for the first permanent designated city hall in Union’s history.
The city has never had a building designated specifically for city hall. Through the years, it has shared space with the fire department, police department and now the city auditorium.
The auditorium has encountered Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues. Last year the city hired Horn Architects to conduct a feasibility study on the current auditorium.
The firm studied remodeling city hall, purchasing an existing building and renovating it to meet ADA standards, or building a new city hall.
When Horn Architects presented its ADA accessibility findings to aldermen in July 2017, it described the city’s situation as “death by 1,000 cuts.”
Based on the study, the city decided the best way to move forward would be to leave the auditorium and build a new city hall. Renovations to the auditorium will be the next step in the process.