Year in review: June 2012, 'IDA moves forward with new maintenance facility'

 
 

 

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Members of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority Board will move forward with construction plans for a new maintenance facility, but at a price that has left them with sticker shock — $2.2 million.

The board is expected to approve a construction proposal for a one-story, 6,700-square-foot facility Thursday, June 21. A workshop of supervisors from Lakewood Ranch Community Development Districts 1, 2, 4 and 5 and the IDA will be held that day to discuss details that are driving the up the costs, which include a state requirement that the building withstand 140-mph winds.

At last week’s meeting, IDA representatives asked about potential ways to further trim project costs, which put square-foot costs at $220 to $237, but Town Hall officials indicated the proposal was as “bare bones” as possible. Changes in the size and configuration of the proposed facility had already yielded $1 million in savings, but did not leave much, if any, room for growth of the operations department as Lakewood Ranch continues to expand, they said.

“(The last thing we want to do) is compromise the functionality (of the facility),” IDA Chairman Tom Green said. “We want to get the best result for what we spend our money on. But, we do need to make sure we’re getting a comparable value for what construction would go for around here. We need to make sure residents understand (what we are paying for).”

Christopher Sharek, project manager for Atkins North America, the company assisting with development plans, said per-square-foot costs are higher than many other projects, because the building is not large in size and many costs are fixed. At the supervisors’ request, he will bring back per-square-foot costs of comparable buildings in the area.

Fixed costs for the IDA’s operations facility project include more than $520,000 in expenditures for site work, including clearing the land, excavation and backfill, exterior improvements and utility installations.

Using concrete masonry for the project adds between $67,469 and $131,206, compared to wood-frame and metal-frame structures, but also increases the building’s life expectancy by 20 to 35 years, Sharek said.

IDA supervisors moved forward June 14 with site preparations for the project, authorizing work with Atkins North America for a topographic survey, a traffic study and other necessary preparations.

“This will get us to a point of where we need to be with Manatee County to provide us with due diligence (required for permitting),” IDA Attorney Scott Rudacille said of the approval.

The IDA currently leases, from Lakewood Ranch developer Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, a property adjacent to the Pinnacle Academy on Lorraine Road for its operations department. The lease expires September 2013, when construction of the new facility is expected to be finished.

To ensure operations could continue without interruption in case of construction delays, supervisors last week also approved an agreement with SMR to extend its lease on the property for an additional six months, with a 30-day opt-out option, if needed.

Contact Pam Eubanks at peubanks@yourobserver.com.

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