Homestead City Council amended its proposed cyber-library contract for design work at a special call meeting on Thursday February 16.
DLR from Los Angeles was hired in December by Council to do $70,000 of preliminary architectural and engineering design work. Council budgeted $3,865,000 in capital project funds for the cyber-library planning work at its December meeting.
In January, Council approved City Manager George Gretsas’ request to amend the contract with Landmark Entertainment by $700,000 (taken from contingency funds) to provide the architectural engineering firm with completed documents in order to finish its work by April. The firm in question was DLR.
Landmark Entertainment is the company the City chose to design and manage the entertainment sections of the multimodal/parking garage building.
The preliminary conceptual design with Landmark for $500,000 was signed in March 2016. The total design component cost of $1.2 million now delivers plans in four and a half months instead of ten months.
Asked by Councilwoman Patricia Fairclough at the January Council meeting why the rush order on design was “mission critical”, Gretsas explained final architectural and engineering plans had to be “shovel-ready” by April 24 to qualify for grants under the new market tax credit program. Those tax credits could allow the City up to $4 million in additional project funding.
The law firm of Greenberg Traurig was hired at the January Council meeting for two projects, each at a price of $250,000. The projects were to implement new market tax credit financing for the planned multimodal transit center and for the Homestead cyber-library.
The purchase order before Council on Thursday for final design with DLR before April 24 was at an additional cost of $469,880 plus $46,988 in estimated reimbursable expenses. The contract says any renderings and 3-D drawings are an extra expense.
“Can you explain what estimated reimbursables are?” asked Councilman Jon Burgess.
City Staff explained the term was a 10% contingency for items like site travel, document copying, and extra expenses. This does not mean the money will be used and the City must approve every item claimed.
“What is the next step in this project and what is the timeline?” asked Councilman Jimmie Williams.
The City Manager said Council must approve each part of the project, hopefully with new market tax credits in place, through final procurement and building.
“The April deadline is for tax credits,” said Gretsas. “If we don’t get them, then that shifts the financing search to other sources. There is a potential shortfall on the garage and entertainment complex that we’re looking to close with the tax credits also.”
The City is seeking to close a funding gap of $800,000 from $7.6 million cost to actual funds of $6.8 million. The Manager said although both projects are on the same site, they are being treated separately for financing.