Landrum works to lower cost of depot project

Published 7:32pm Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Landrum City Council members stopped short of awarding a contract to Daniel Owens Contracting for renovations to the city’s historic depot last week.

“They wanted to see if we could fine-tune the proposal a little bit and squeeze a little bit more savings out of it,” said City Administrator Steve Wolochowicz.

Council members first approved a bid from Daniel Owens Contracting in July of this year amounting to $415,667. At the time Owens’ bid was the lowest of three submitted, despite it coming in $115,000 over what council originally anticipated spending.

What council didn’t realize until later in the month was that Owens’ calculations were off and didn’t include some elements council expected.

This caused council members to toss the proposal and put the project back out for bid.

This time only two bids were submitted and again Owens came in the lowest.

Owens bid this go around was for $442,669, while Sossamon Contractors came in with a bid of $464,420. The difference between the two was over $20,000.

Wolochowicz said council has been reluctant to push the project further at such a high cost.

Earlier in the year, council approved a bond issue in the amount of $300,000 for the project.

The bond is scheduled to be repaid over the course of seven years with hospitality tax funds. While Wolochowicz said the city has additional monies in the hospitality tax fund to cover the project over and above $300,000, council is attempting to push the total cost closer to that number.

“I think they are looking at everything and anything to possibly do that,” Wolochowicz said. “There are a lot of things the council may consider including possibly eliminating the circular pergola that was proposed for outside the depot. That alone could save $55,000.”

Wolochowicz said council is considering changes to everything from using different hardware and lighting fixtures to making changes to the type of ceiling that will be installed.

Council requested that Wolochowicz sit down with architect John Walters and Owens to look at other methods of cutting costs. Wolochowicz said he hopes to bring their suggestions and a lower bid back to council at its next meeting Jan. 8.

He said the project is a little under the gun though because construction products are expected to rise as a result of Hurricane Sandy. The demand for plywood, for example, could skyrocket as insurance claims for structures in the northeast are processed allowing business owners and homeowners to begin making repairs.

Owens’ proposal accounts for construction time taking about 180 days or six months to complete.

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