Design Update

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Council Postpones Action on City Hall

eugene city hall project teamWe last updated you in April, after staff presented the revised design and project cost estimates to the City Council. Councilors agreed the design met the values and goals established for the project, and approved proceeding to complete construction documents and bid the project in order to determine an actual firm project cost. Staff was directed to then to return to the Council with that cost for direction on next steps.

After the design team completed construction documents, the general contractor, McKenzie Commercial, divided the project into 27 bid packages in order to make it attractive to more and potentially smaller companies for bidding. The contractor and staff did extensive outreach in an effort to generate interest and competition from bidders, and to reach minority- and women-owned and disadvantaged businesses.

Unfortunately, despite the outreach efforts, the general contractor received fewer bids than hoped and bids were higher than the previous estimates. Factors that contributed to the bids exceeding estimates include a saturated construction market, construction cost inflation, and the uniqueness of the design.

At the Council meeting earlier this week, staff presented the bid information. Based on the bids, the general contractor has offered the guaranteed maximum price (GMP) as $18.2 million for construction of the building, which is about $3 million more than the pre-bid estimate of $15.2 million presented to Council in April. Based on this information the overall project cost is approximately $28 million.

Staff also outlined and Council discussed a number options for next steps on the project. Council had a thoughtful discussion - here is the link to the webcast of the meeting.

The Lane County Board of County Commissioners requested a joint work session with the City Council to discuss downtown priority projects such as Eugene City Hall, the Lane County Courthouse and the Lane County Farmer’s Market and that meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, July 14, at 5:30.

In light of the current bids and the upcoming joint work session, the Council decided to take no action this week regarding the City Hall project pending that discussion. The Council tentatively identified a work session on July 18 for its further consideration of City Hall options following the meeting with county commissioners.

The Mayor and City Councilors are taking a thoughtful and deliberative approach to consider the challenge of the cost escalation and determine what is best for the community over the 50 or more year life of the project given the current circumstances. As Mayor Piercy observed at the beginning of the Council’s discussion on Monday, this is a process that has been ongoing for many years, and a City Hall is an important center for the community, a place where hundreds of community members come to access and address their local government on a wide range of issues.

We will continue to keep you up to date as the City Council discussion proceeds.

Project Description
The project includes the Phase 1 City Hall building, public plaza, and parking all situated on the west half of the existing City Hall block. The surface parking area is a land bank strategy to hold space for the future development of a phase 2 City Hall building. The City will retain ownership of the eastern half block and the current design still supports the option of building a County Courthouse on this half of the site as part of a possible partnership and property exchange with Lane County.

Project features include:
  • A four-story building to serve as the civic center of our community and the home base for City government
  • Highly energy efficient – Likely LEED Gold 
  • An important, open, transparent and welcoming place that will support our resurging downtown
  • A welcoming and inviting public plaza, including a water feature, that will relate beautifully with the public space on the first floor of the building, and will connect with and enhance the rest of downtown
  • New and existing public art and references to cultural and natural history
  • Main south-facing façade – lots of glass with use of the reclaimed cedar
  • Council Chamber, large public meeting room and flexible public lobby all open and connected to the public plaza, all double-story height and good-sized spaces
  • Council work spaces and meeting spaces on first floor
  • Second story mezzanine (partial floor) – Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement
  • Third floor – Mayor’s office, City Manager’s office and the rest of CMO staff
  • More meeting spaces throughout that will be available for other City uses as McNutt Room and Council Chamber were previously
  • Shelled fourth floor where additional City services can be located in the future when budgets allow