Favorable bids drop City Center cost

Building construction price comes in more than $2 million under budget


Clint Riese
News Editor

For the first time, the estimated overall price tag for the Forest Lake City Center project has dipped below $20 million.

Brian Hook, project manager with the construction management firm Kraus Anderson, shared good news at Monday’s Economic Development Authority meeting. Bids for construction of the public safety and city hall building came in far below estimates. With 27 of 29 work scopes awarded, construction costs stand at $13,365,697. The previous budget included a construction estimate of $15,538,780.

“In general, we’re happy with the bids,” Hook said. “We’re happy with the coverage that we had, with the exception of the two (scopes) that we didn’t get, and we’re looking for a successful project.”

The new figure brings the overall project price down to $18,575,179. The city has $21,210,000 available, primarily from bond proceeds.

“Obviously as projects move along, there are things that come up, but we anticipate that there will be a solid balance available,” said City Administrator Aaron Parrish, noting the budget will firm up once earth work is completed.

Hook agreed.

“The first big hurdle is getting the structure in the ground and the second big hurdle is getting the structure up and getting enclosure for winter,” he said.

The City Center groundbreaking is set for 4 p.m. on Monday.

Bid details

No bids came in for elevators or for aluminum entrances and glazing. A combined $460,000 is reserved in the budget for those scopes, which will be re-bid.

The city used the best-value contracting method for bidding, meaning it was able to select eight work scopes in which bidders were ranked in categories such as proximity and experience, in addition to cost, by the project’s Building Committee.

The city chose to use this process on most of the main work scopes: earth work, concrete and masonry, precast walls and structural pieces, roofing, aluminum entrances and glazing, drywall, mechanical, and electrical. The low bidder in each of these cases turned out to be highest-scoring bidder based on the best-value attributes.

“There were some firms that made jumps maybe from fourth to second or fifth to third or things of that nature, but at the end of the day, it basically vetted out that the low bid was also the highest scoring,” Hook said.

The low bid for mechanical work provided significant cost savings. It was awarded to Thelen Heating & Roofing in the amount of $1,624,000. The Brainerd company will use a relatively new system that requires significantly less piping for air ducts than a traditional system.

For the non-best-value work scopes, the city was required to accept the lowest responsible bid.

Several local companies will contribute to the building project. Columbus-based Minnesota Utilities & Excavating Inc. was awarded the bid for earth work in the amount of $933,869.

In another value-based area, electrical work, Vinco Inc., of Forest Lake, submitted the winning bid of $1,472,900.

North Branch-based Northern Lights Steel Fabrication will provide structural steel and metal fabrication. It submitted the low bid of $581,355.