Bids come in below cost estimate for Atherton civic center project | March 6, 2019 | Almanac | Almanac Online |

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News - March 6, 2019

Bids come in below cost estimate for Atherton civic center project

Council expected to award construction contract on March 6

by Angela Swartz

Three out of four bids for the construction of a long-awaited new civic center in Atherton have come in below the estimated project cost of $48 million, according to a Feb. 27 town email.

The town received a bid of $44.2 million from SJ Amoroso's, a $44.4 million bid from Stronghold Engineering and a $44.9 million bid from BHM Construction, according to the town. (A fourth bid by Sausal Corp. came in at $55.4 million.)

Staff plans to recommend that the City Council at its March 6 meeting award SJ Amoroso, a Redwood Shores-based company, a contract for the project, the town's project manager Marty Hanneman said in an email.

"We were quite excited when we opened the bids," Mayor Bill Widmer said. He added that it was reassuring that three out of the four bids came in around the same price because that meant that the bid wasn't a "low-ball" offer.

SJ Amoroso built the Trousdale residential care facility in Burlingame, renovated Palo Alto's main library, and constructed a clubhouse at the Sharon Heights Golf and Country Club, according to a list of projects on the company's website.

The civic center project, which would rebuild the town's police, administration, library and planning division buildings, ran into a roadblock last June when initial bids for the project came in 40 percent higher than the project estimate of $40.5 million.

In December, the City Council voted to go out for new bids on the project. To cut costs, the council removed hoped-for improvements in the corporation yard, simplifying site access and logistics; deleted all required tree removals; and demolished the library and public works buildings prior to going out to bid, Hanneman said. The council also decided not to include new council chambers as part of the project unless the town can come up with additional funding for it. (SJ Amoroso estimates it would cost about $2.9 million.) Overall, the council cut project costs by $4.3 million.

The town has not yet set a date to break ground on the project, deputy city manager and city clerk Theresa DellaSanta wrote in an email. In December, the town estimated the new civic center would open at the end of March 2021.

The March 6 study session at which the council will consider awarding the contract will start at 4 p.m. in the council chambers at 94 Ashfield Road in Atherton.

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