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Sarasota Friday, Apr. 18, 2014 3 years ago

State Street garage comes with $10.6 million price tag

by: David Conway Deputy Managing Editor

The city now knows the maximum cost of constructing a parking garage at State Street and Lemon Avenue, and though the total is slightly lower than the most recent estimates, it's more than $3 million higher than the projected price when the project was approved in 2009.

At a February City Commission meeting, city staff informed commissioners that the cost to complete the State Street garage could be nearly 50% more than first anticipated.

On Monday, staff will present commissioners with more exact information, as the team selected to design and build the garage has determined its guaranteed maximum price for construction. That price is $10.6 million — less than the last estimate of $11.3 million, but still a steep increase from the $7.2 million first budgeted for the project.

After receiving the estimate in February, the commission directed staff to continue with its work at the garage in a 3-2 vote. Several commissioners expressed concern with how the project had proceeded given the ballooning costs.

“This is a crisis of process,” Commissioner Paul Caragiulo said. “I really don't know how things get out of whack like this.”

Commissioners still need to approve the costs for the construction phase of the project at Monday’s meeting before work can commence at the site. Chief Planner Steve Stancel said, if approval is granted, construction should begin by mid-May. Final completion of the garage would occur in March 2015, Stancel said.

An agreement with Pineapple Square requires the city to have a garage in place at the State Street surface lot by February 2015. In February, Commissioner Susan Chapman said she was upset by the rising costs, but that she believed the city had no choice but to proceed with the project.

“We are bound by limitations of the previous votes of not just this commission, but previous commissions,” Chapman said. “All of those things set us on a path that hasn't been good for the fiscal health of the city.”

Also on the agenda for Monday’s meeting:

+ Commissioners will hear an update on the Lift Station 87 project, which has seen more obstacles emerge as the new engineering team looks to finish the oft-delayed project.
+ The commission will hold a public hearing regarding an ordinance that would ban sitting or standing in roundabouts and roadway medians.
+ Commissioners will discuss transitioning the city’s road impact fee system to allow for spending on multimodal transportation improvements, as recommended in a recent mobility study.
+ City staff will seek approval to lease land to use as a staging area for construction of a deep injection well. The proposed lease could potentially free up a city-owned parcel for use as a regional homeless shelter.

The full agenda can be found on the city’s website.

Contact David Conway at [email protected].

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