The City of Allegan has revised its plans for city hall to reduce its cost. At top is an artist’s rendering of how it would look from Trowbridge Street and beneath it is the view from Chestnut Street. (Drawings provided)

Allegan city hall design scaled back

Bids on first design went over budget
By: 
Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

Renovations for the new city hall at 231 Trowbridge St. are not going as planned. Bids came in nearly 20 percent above the highest estimate for the project. A tight bidding market and inflated costs due to the placement of tariffs were attributed to high bidding prices.

This past fall, a bond for $2 million was approved to pay for the city hall project and improvements at the Griswold Auditorium, the Regent Theater and construct new riverfront restrooms, storage and a service window for concessions.

A contract was approved for Progressive AE of Grand Rapids for design services in the amount $95,000 and an estimated $198,000 to serve as the builder for the project, which was based on a percentage of the estimated $1.8 to $2 million building renovation project, which included purchasing the former Allegan Professional building for $275,000 and $49,000 for asbestos removal.

Progressive AE designed the building to house all administrative functions, including all city council and advisory committee meetings, to be accessible to residents, have better integrated technology, and allow for confidential, productive meetings, and other secondary goals.

The bidding process included receiving multiple bids for each sub category of the project, including individual bids for plumbing, HVAC, electrical, general carpentry, etc.

Of the 12 sub categories, nine had only one or two bidders. Bids for the overall project came in at $2.4 million.

Since Dec. 20, when the bids were received, city staff has been working to scale back the project within budget while not abandoning the original goals of adding employee offices, council chambers, a reception/cashier space, garage/storage space, conference rooms, a break room, lobby, and public restrooms.

Final details of the new drawings and project schedule were shared with the council on Monday, Jan. 14.

Those plans include using the existing entrance to the building and cutting out the “fin,” a two-story brick wall rising above the rooftop to display a clock.

“It was not necessary to make the building functional,” said city manager Joel Dye.

The new design also reduces some of the ceiling to floor windows; reduces some ceiling to floor office walls to 7-feet but keeps some offices from ceiling to floor for confidential meetings; eliminates the fireplace; and uses cement fiber board finish for the exterior instead of wood.

“We’ll still keep 2,000 feet of leasable space in the building as an income generator,” Dye said.

The elevator and second staircase will be on hold for the future, if needed, since all offices will be on the first floor.

Six of the 12 bids that exceeded estimates will be rebid and in February, a recommendation on those bids will be brought back to council in the pre-session meeting to discuss moving forward.

Dye said plans are to put the current city hall on the market in March and moving into the new city hall is still anticipated for this summer.

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