Civic center will cost Del Mar $17.8 million

Civic center will cost Del Mar $17.8 million
Based on recently approved design plans the new estimate to build the civic center complex is $17.8 million. Courtesy rendering

DEL MAR — Armed with final design plans at the Nov. 16 meeting, staff presented a revised and more accurate budget for the civic center complex of $17,845,443, which council members unanimously approved.

The figure is more than the original estimate of $12.4 million to $16.4 million that was adopted in March and based on general calculations of probable development costs and raw square footage.

It did not include work in the public right of way, equipment for Del Mar TV, an increase in the size of the Town Hall and the addition of a catering kitchen and restroom.

It also assumed construction would begin in January 2016, a start date that has been pushed out a few months because of delays in finalizing the design that resulted from community input and a council desire to “get it right.”

The new $17.8 million estimate is all-inclusive, with construction cost escalations and contingencies factored in.

“The objective was to come up with a design that the public liked and at a cost that we felt comfortable (with),” Mayor Al Corti said. “It took us a little bit longer to come up with a design but it appears that we got one that we like.”

Corti noted the design team initially was within the original budget range.

“We, as council, kind of broke the budget with spending more money on extra things or delays,” he said.

“It’s a lot of money for our little city,” Dwight Worden said, adding that the overages “are well worth it.”

“That’s a core part of what the community wants out of this project so I’m totally comfortable with that,” he said.

Council members approved the final design at the Nov. 2 meeting.

Plans call for a 9,250-square-foot City Hall that includes a 300-square-foot kitchen, a 3,200-square foot Town Hall that includes the TV studio, a 910-square-foot breezeway that can be used as flex space, 160 parking stalls and a 21,500-square-foot plaza.

The next phase will focus on entitlements, preparation of construction documents, solidifying financing, finalizing a plan for the temporary relocation of City Hall and developing a community outreach plan to facilitate community involvement in art, use of the plaza and potential fundraising.

To help keep the project on schedule — each additional month will cost the city $50,000 — and within budget, council members were assigned to subcommittees to make decisions that don’t necessarily require full council input.

Corti and Don Mosier will focus on the design process. Corti and Terry Sinnott will work with financing. Mosier and Worden were assigned to sustainability features. Sinnott and Sherryl Parks will address community outreach, fundraising, donation opportunities and public art.

Council members at the Nov. 16 meeting also authorized staff to complete the financing application through the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank, also known as IBank.

Assistant City Manager Mark Delin said the new cost estimate of $17.8 million for the project is well within the city’s financing capacity of $38 million.

IBank currently has the lowest fixed interest rate and costs of issuance and requires the least amount of staff time, he said. It is the same state agency the city used to secure financing for the sewer project.

Annual payments could range from $975,000 for an $18 million loan to $760,000 for a $14 million loan. It could take about 90 to 120 days to lock in the interest rate, currently at 3.5 percent, but Delin said IBank is not anticipating any significant increase.

The loan can prepaid with no penalty after 12 years.

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