Price of Aspen’s city office project swells to almost $32M |

Price of Aspen’s city office project swells to almost $32M

A rendering of a new city of Aspen office building, as a shown from the Rio Grande Place entrance, was approved by City Council in April of 2017. It is the subject of two lawsuits levied by citizens, which has delayed the project from getting off the ground.
Courtesy image

The price tag of the city of Aspen’s municipal office building at Rio Grande Place is going up at least $1 million now that the contractor has set the guaranteed maximum price to almost $32 million.

City Finance Director Pete Strecker presented the cost change to Aspen City Council on Monday during a work session.

He noted that the overall price tag of the work, which includes a renovation of the current City Hall, is still within the $46 million to $49 million estimate that was presented to voters in November when they were choosing between the Rio Grande location and another one downtown.

Council also agreed to increase the contingency budget from the current 5%, or $1.5 million, to 10%, which is standard for a project of this magnitude.

“A project of this size and scope is going to have some moving pieces,” Strecker said.

That’s been the case for the past four years as the project was first envisioned, said Jack Wheeler, the owner’s representative for the city.

The contract with Shaw Construction to build the 37,500-square-foot building between Rio Grande Place and Galena Plaza, along with the remodel of the adjacent Rio Grande building, will go before council May 13 for final approval.

The work at 425 and 455 Rio Grande Place will cost a maximum of $31.7 million.

The City Hall renovation, which is not part of the current contract with Shaw, is estimated to cost $13.9 million.

Any significant change orders with the current contract will be presented to council in the future, Interim City Manager Sara Ott said Monday.

Council was presented with a significant change order related to the project last month when engineers discovered inadequate road base beneath Rio Grande Place after it was excavated for utility work.

Council reluctantly agreed to the nearly $380,000 additional cost.

Jeff Pendarvis, the city’s capital asset director, said after Monday’s meeting that a realistic contingency amount should’ve been attached to the utility project to cover unforeseen work.