Daniel Owens wins Landrum Depot bidPublished 5:43pm Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Daniel Owens Contracting received approval from Landrum City Council members Tuesday, July 10 to take on restoration of the Landrum Depot despite concerns regarding the project’s increasing costs.
“Were you at all surprised by the bids that came in?” Councilman Jon Matheis asked architect John Walters.
Walters said he would have liked to see the bids come in lower but knew costs of historic renovations could be unpredictable.
Owens provided the lowest bid for the project at $415,667, while two other contractors Larry Sossamon Construction out of Gaffney and Karaman Properties of Landrum supplied bids at $443,410 and $472,734, respectively.
City Administrator Steve Wolochowicz explained to council that unexpected charges often come up after estimations are made. He said he had hoped the price would have stayed in the high $300,000 range.
“It’s always an educated guess … especially when you are dealing with an historical building, a more than 100-year-old building,” said Wolochowicz to council. “We didn’t know until we tore into the walls, for example, that it needed some additional structural reinforcement.”
Owens’ bid, the lowest, amounts to about $115,000 more than what council had originally anticipated spending to renovate the depot.
During council’s work session prior to the meeting, this discrepancy raised concerns. Council earlier this year approved a bond issue in the amount of $300,000 to be paid over the course of seven years with hospitality tax funds. Matheis said had council known the costs would be closer to $400,000 they could have issued a bond for that amount.
Keeping the project closer to the original $300,000 would have meant potentially eliminating a covered pergola outside the depot, which council members said they feel is an aesthetically essential part of the plan. Construction of the pergola amounts to about $88,000.
“So we got the bond issue and to keep to that cost we’d be eliminating part of what we thought would be in this project,” Matheis said. “In a way it bothers me because… we put all those things in there, we said what we were looking for, now within a year building costs or the costs have escalated that much.”
Councilman Johnny Carruth asked if it would hurt the city at all to dip into the hospitality tax to pay for the pergola. He said he believed the pergola would be useful.
“Do you think the pergola will benefit drawing that many people to Landrum with the building being done?” Carruth asked. “I don’t like the idea of spending more money but I think it does.”
Wolochowicz said council could use additional hospitality tax funds to pay for the pergola if they intended to move forward with its construction, which the council unanimously voted to do.
Owens said he would be able to start quickly on the project and anticipated a total construction time of 212 days, which if not drastically altered, would mean the city could see a completed project by February.