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brian - can you tell us what percentage of $7m overage in hacker's budget were directly related to material cost increases?

and has the city gone back to the other two design teams to see if they are closer to the target?


I'll look into this, but if anyone else knows, please feel free to write in.


There was "miscommunication" between Hacker and the contractor on some assumptions for determining cost. So there's some materials inflation in the overrun, but there's also bad calculation in it, sad to say. That's got to fall on Hacker IMO, based on their choice of contractor. However, I have to say that of the three bidders, only Hacker spent more time on creating a functioning technical rescue-customized fire house, than on integrating into the "vision" for the neighborhood. So I sure hope--and don't think--they're going back to the bidding process despite the errors.

Certainly Fire did not encourage the other two to skimp on practical considerations in favor of the "look" of Skidmore; that would be PDC if anyone. And thus is PDC's awfully blithe attitude here a little uncomfortable. It was not Fire that was pushing to move 01 three blocks north in a centerpiece waterfront building (although it certainly sounded nice). The Bureau is putting up the money that the citizens approved for 01's remodel in 1997. There's no way this project EVER happens without PDC and the urban renewal grants. So to say "well, somehow the extra money has to materialize" rather than "PDC is committed to this project that it started and pushed for, and we cannot let it fail" bugs me some.


Torridjoe, am I understanding your comment correct in assuming that the amount of money was determined in 1997? 9 years ago??? Imagine buying your house, your car, a jug of milk almost a decade ago--a conservative estimate of inflation (4%) would say the budget would have to rise nearly 50%. I am having a hard time envisioning a scenario where every one sitting at a table looking at a number that old would shake hands, sign a contract, and agree to get it done...


no, not quite. A certain amount--11mil, I believe--was set aside for remodeling and seismic upgrades at Station 1. It's part of a larger bond to build and upgrade stations in the City. 12s on Sandy, 16s in Skyline, and the moving of 9s to 39th from Belmont are examples. Others just closed for remodels but are at the same site.

At the time it was thought major structural work might be needed for earthquake protection. The soils turned out to be OK, so the whole wad was designated for remodeling. At some point--I'm not sure when--PDC got involved with the idea of a new station entirely, as a way to free up prime real estate. To be fair to them, it was part of a bigger vision for the whole Skidmore/Chinatown/Old Town area, and the district does have funding for improvements. But PDC's big objective in this is to get high-end residential/commercial where 01 stands now. Which is why the spokeswoman hopes people won't be too mad when Saturday Market and its celebration of kitsch are moved elsewhere so young men with Fu Manchu beards can sling fish.

I think the move and the general plan for the area have great potential. But this PDC person is making backtracking noises to my ear, and that seems uncool.


Folks, I was in contact a second time with Amy Miller Dowell a second time, and she wanted to clarify herself and respond to the accusation of backtracking on Fire 1.

AMD told me, "I’m trying to bring up that decisions have to be made. Budgets are agreed upon by our commission with a lot of public input. If PDC spends more money on this project, we have to take it away from another project. That’s what I’m talking about."

And I think she's being as open and fair-minded about this as could be expected. PDC obviously wants the relocation of Fire 1 to be successful. But they're also the ones who have to come up with a contingency in case it doesn't work out.


thanks for going back for more comment, Brian. But the only reason that it wouldn't 'work out' is that PDC failed to follow up on the commitment they made to moving the station in the first place. It was essentially their idea, so wringing hands about it now and implying that someone besides PDC needs to cough up the money to cover the shortfall, rings hollow to me. If there's a contingency to be decided on, contemplate that AFTER doing whatever was necessary to make good.

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