Council approves construction contract for new MLT City Hall, expanded police station

Digital rendering of the Mountlake Terrace City Hall and Park Plaza concept facing west.

A new Mountlake Terrace City Hall, public plaza and expanded police station moved another step closer to reality Monday night when the Mountlake Terrace City Council unanimously approved the awarding of a $10. 6 million construction contract to Allied Construction Associates Inc. for the work.

The vote was 5-0, with Councilmembers Seaun Richards and Bryan Wahl absent.

Construction is expected to start in January with completion by the end of 2020.

The council also approved two other items that will add $348,422 to the $10.6 million base bid but are aimed at minimizing yearly maintenance costs and increasing durability and longevity: $155,222 for metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles and $193,200 for high-pressure laminate phenolic wall siding.

The current Mountlake Terrace Civic Campus at 58th Avenue West and 232nd Street Southwest is home to the Mountlake Terrace Library, police station, Fire Station 19 and a vacant site where the former city hall stood from 1962-2010. That building was demolished in 2010, after the council chambers ceiling collapsed in 2008 and the city in 2009 moved its operations to rented space in the Redstone Building off 220th Street Southwest.

Mountlake Terrace voters in 2017 approved — by a 70 percent margin — a $12.5 million bond measure that had been developed by a City Hall Advisory Committee and approved by the city council. The bond measure was aimed at funding design, engineering and construction costs for a new city hall, police station addition and associated parking and landscaping. ARC Architecture Inc. was chosen as the project architect.

Assistant City Manager Stephen Clifton explained that the project scope was modified twice. In 2018, the city identified park impact fees to help pay for the design and construction of a Town Center Plaza. And in 2019, the city received a grant from the Hazel Miller Foundation to help fund the design and construction of a Town Center Plaza water feature

Clifton stressed that city officials worked diligently with ARC throughout the design process to contain costs, especially given that the project was being built in one of the strongest construction markets in the country — which impacts labor and materials costs, among other factors.

Given the competitive construction market, the city was “pleasantly surprised” to receive six bids, Clifton told the council. The bids, which were opened Nov. 19. were in separate parts to reflect the fact that certain elements of the site are being funded by different funding sources. These include

1) City hall, police station and applicable site work (covered by the voter-approved bond measure);

2) Town Center Plaza (funded by park impact fees);

3) Stormwater line realignment (funded by stormwater utility fees);

4) Trench safety allowance (also funded by stormwater utility fees). As aside, state law requires a separate bid for a safety trench – used in construction projects – when they are deeper than 4 feet; and

5) Audiovisual system for council chambers (funded by cable TV fees).

Everett-based Allied Construction Associates submitted the lowest total bid price — $10,647,880 — for construction- and installation-related expenses.

Clifton noted that when the submitted bid amount and estimated “soft costs” (including design/engineering, construction contingency, furnishings, permits and survey/geotech services) are combined, the total estimated project cost is $13,521,001. “Although this is higher that the project budget of $12.5 million, the $13,521,001 amount includes a construction contingency and items that were added to the project in 2018 and 2019, which have different funding sources,” he explained.  “When these funds (park impact fees, stormwater utility fees, grant, PEG, etc.) are applied, the project is estimated to be $543,201 above the project budget.”

However, he stressed that city staff is committed to finding additional cost savings to keep the project budget on track. For example, the city will be moving as much of the existing furniture as possible from the current city hall into the new city hall building, and will continue to work to bring the price down on necessary furniture purchases. And Clifton said that staff will be working with Allied Construction to identify any redundancy in the various bid elements.

Any additional costs beyond the project budget will be funded by real estate excise tax, with council approval, Clifton said.

“We’re looking for all kinds of ways to save money where we can,” he said.

Aerial map including location of right of way for townhome project, courtesy NextMLT.

In other business, the council also approved — after a public hearing — a right-of-way vacation the corner of 218th Street Southwest and 64th Avenue West. Applicants will be required to pay the city a fair market value of $78,000 for the property in addition to a nonrefundable $8,000 vacation application fee. The right-of-way vacation will be part of a project to build 12 townhomes, with more details in a story from NextMLT.com.

And the council also reviewed a list of 2020 priorities for its state legislative agenda. Watch for a separate story on that coming soon.

— By Teresa Wippel

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