Nine bids have been received from construction companies who want to build the city of Novato's new city offices in Old Town, and city staff is reviewing the bids now to make a recommendation to the Novato City Council.
City engineer Julian Skinner said Friday the council could be presented the package at a special meeting on July 5 or at its regularly scheduled meeting July 10. If approval to the winning bid is given, a groundbreaking ceremony most likely would take place July 17 and the construction firm would begin the estimated 13-month job to create a two-story office complex for about 60 city employees steps away from and the long-closed Novato Community House.
The city, which for decades housed its employees in a cluster of smaller buildings downtown before they were declared unsafe, has been pressed for time on the project because of a scheduled lease hike for the office space it uses at 75 Rowland Way. Following a staff downsizing prompted by budget cuts, the city leases 21,582 square feet of space at 75 Rowland for $625,000 a year. The price tag is expected to jump by about $100,000 in late 2013, so city staff is eager to get shovels in the ground at the Machin site.
The building's cost is expected to run in the neighborhood of $14 million with most funds coming from the sale of redevelopment bonds. Of that, $12 million will come from the bond sale in March 2011 that yielded $14.5 million for citywide capital improvements.
Kitchell, the project/construction management company, is in charge of managing the project, and RMW Architecture and Interiors have completed the design.
When completed, the 18,000-square-foot building will include parking underground as well as surface parking where the existing lot is now.
One of the first things a contractor would do is put up a fence around the existing lot so it can be used for equipment storage, Skinner said. Most likely that would take place July 23 or sometime that week, he added.
The lot, designated partly for the public and partly for city vehicles, is just across Machin Avenue from the Novato Police Department. Police personnel have used the lot for their personal cars as well as police cruisers, but they'll have to find alternate sites while the construction is going on.
Meanwhile, the police department is doubling the number of parking stalls on the west side of Machin in front of the police station. Extended curbs previously limited parking to 10 vehicles, but the extensions have been removed so that 10 more slots can be painted in.
Police Captain Dave Jeffries said options are being checked so that seldom-used vehicles parked in the police station's underground lot might be moved so more room would be available for the vehicles that used to park across the street.