After changes and a second bidding process, the two-year, $30 million renovation of the landmark Madison Municipal Building is back on budget and on time.
In March, the city cut back on some work and rebid the project after receiving initial bids of $29.6 million from Miron Construction and $32 million from Tri-North Builders, which were roughly 50 percent higher than estimates. The city had budgeted $20.3 million for construction, with $10 million more for design fees, city staff time and environmental remediation.
“I’m obviously thrilled that the project is back on track and on budget,” said Ald. Mike Verveer, whose Downtown district includes the municipal building. “After our first failure at bidding for the project, many of us in city hall were worried that perhaps we closed the building prematurely.”
To save money, the city cut back masonry restoration, removed an audiovisual package, separated bids for historic window restoration on the second and third floors and changed a number of smaller items, said Bryan Cooper, an architect for the city’s Engineering Division.
“I don’t think we did anything that would be unsympathetic to the historic character of the building.” Cooper said.
The new bids approximate the planned budget:
- J.P. Cullen & Sons submitted an $18.2 million base bid, plus $376,172 for replacement of existing windows at the basement and first floor to historically appropriate windows, and $125,968 for a green surface on a lower roof.
- Miron submitted a $20.25 million base bid, plus $358,782 for the windows and $163,182 for the green roof.
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“I was nervous, of course,” Cooper said of opening the new bids. “We’re all really excited about this. You know you have a project that can proceed, at least on the monetary side.”
The Board of Public Works is set to consider the bids on May 3, with a City Council decision expected on May 16.
Bids for work on the second and third floor windows will be received soon, Cooper said, adding that remaining masonry work and purchase of audiovisual equipment can be done at a later time. So far, the city has completed asbestos removal and removed an annex to the building that was added in the 1950s, he said.
The city’s rejection of initial bids delayed the renovation by about two months, with major work now to start in early June, Cooper said.
In November 2016, nearly 200 city staff were moved out of the building into leased space at Downtown locations.
The delay won’t mean more lease costs because the city built time into the renovation schedule and intends to have the work done by the end of August 2018, with occupancy two months later when leases for space at other sites expire.
The Municipal Building, located across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from the City-County Building, was built in the 1920s and purchased by the city in 1979.
Engineers say most of the exterior limestone is in good condition, and the structure is sound, but the building has major maintenance problems and wasn’t designed for its current use.