Downtown Square property costs could add $1M to project
Property costs for a proposed new downtown square could add $1 million to the estimated $5.6 million project. Initial estimates for Site A for the project, at the corner of Sims and Villard, did not include the costs of property acquisition, only...
Property costs for a proposed new downtown square could add $1 million to the estimated $5.6 million project.
Initial estimates for Site A for the project, at the corner of Sims and Villard, did not include the costs of property acquisition, only the concepts desired by the community after a public forum held in March.
"We were never given an official budget to design to. We were told to design based on the comments and in this price range," Zach Mathern, JLG Architects, said.
City Commissioners on Aug. 7 asked for those costs to be determined.
The costs were revealed at Thursday's meeting of the Downtown Task Force.
Three pieces of property are needed: 24 Sims St., owned by Rosie and Roger Decker; and 36 and 38 Sims, owned by Bernal and Paulette Marsh.
The Deckers are asking $495,000 for their property and the Marshes are asking $650,000 to $750,000 total for their properties.
The amounts are about 20 to 25 percent over assessed value.
Task force members debated if the cost was too much, citing an informal cap of $1 million for property acquisition.
The estimated project cost of $5.6 million includes demolition costs and associated costs such as possible asbestos abatement, Mathern said.
The figure is also "not a hard number" and elements can be removed or redesigned.
"We can still massage that as we decide how much we want to build," he said. "I'd be careful about starting to add those numbers up because they may already be added in our estimate for the project."
The Decker building and one Marsh building would be demolished. The other Marsh building would be renovated for use as part of the town square, half as storage and restrooms, half as public vendor space.
"We already have in our numbers money for renovating that space," Mathern said.
Of the total project cost, $2 million would come from the city and the rest from fundraising, led by the Downtown Dickinson Association.
If City Commissioners deem the property costs too prohibitive, they will look at costs for Site B, a city-owned lot across on Third Avenue West, across from American Bank Center.
Commissioner Jason Fridrich, a task force member, said he preferred Site A.
"Site A is the site," he said. "It's worth the extra money. I don't think Site B is going to get the use we want. It's off the beaten path a little bit."
Commissioner Sarah Jennings-Trustem, also a task force member, said the information needs to be presented to the commissioners, which has not been done yet.
"The commission has never had a presentation outside of the forum," Trustem said. "We just have to get that conversation started at the commission level."
Commissioners will discuss the property costs and hear a presentation on the project at their Sept. 11 meeting.
"I think we're moving forward quickly in terms of getting those numbers back," Trustem said. "We're going to be able to provide some direction in what we recommend. They can provide feedback for we're looking for. Do we continue with the acquisition of these properties or do we look at other options?"