Fayetteville Government Channel
On the agenda…
Reconsideration of a failed change order agreement for the downtown parking deck.
A special meeting of the Fayetteville City Council began at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021. It is lived streamed on the city’s YouTube channel, and held at City Hall in Room 219, or virtually on Zoom.
Listed below are the items up for approval and links to PDF documents with detailed information on each item of business.
Present: Sonia Harvey, D’Andre Jones, Mark Kinion, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Sloan Scroggin, Sarah Bunch, Teresa Turk, Holly Hertzberg
1. Nabholz Construction Corporation Change Order No. 8 – 2019 Cultural Arts Corridor Bond Project (Details)
A resolution to approve Change Order No. 8 to the contract with Nabholz Construction Corporation in the amount of $10,373,888.00 for the guaranteed maximum price related to the Cultural Arts Corridor Replacement Parking Deck Project, and to approve a budget adjustment – 2019 Cultural Arts Corridor Bond Project.
– Pass 5-2
This item failed 3-3 at the Dec. 7 meeting.
Council member D’Andre Jones requested a reconsideration of the item, which is why it is back before the council today.
City staff recently told the council that the pandemic has contributed to rising costs for construction projects because of labor and supply shortages. The downtown parking deck was initially estimated at $10 million, but has now grown to be about a $13.2 million project.
In order to make up the difference, the city plans to use $2.9 million of the nearly $12 million of unreserved money in the city’s general fund, and another $300,000 in street funds.
This change order is for overages related to concrete, masonry, structural steel, waterproofing, glass, glazing, metal studs, painting, elevators, and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) work.
Dec. 7 Discussion:
Turk said she voted against the deck being built in this location and she still has some concerns about the project. She said she’s never been a fan of the land sale and still thinks the idea is extravagant and out of touch. Kinion said he agrees.
Dec. 7 Decision:
The council voted 3-3 so the item failed. Jones, Kinion and Turk voted against. Jones did not say why he voted against.
Dec. 14 Discussion:
Jones moved to reconsider his no vote. That motion passed 7-0.
This item has become even more time sensitive, staff said, because the deadline for subcontractor contracts expires Friday.
Jerry Davis, general manager for 21st Amendment and Los Bobos Taqueria, said he’s glad this was reconsidered. He said he thinks the planned location for the deck is the best possible spot for more parking.
Peter Lane, President and CEO of the Walton Arts Center, also spoke in support of the resolution. He said it’s critical that this project get started since it was approved by voters and needs to move forward in order to get the cultural arts corridor built. “We have been working on this for over three years,” Lane said. “It’s now time.”
Brian Crowne, owner of George’s Majestic Lounge, said while it’s unfortunate that the cost has increased, it will be worth it in the long run to have the project completed.
Turk, on behalf of a constituent, asked if there is anything preventing the developers from selling their right to build up to two additional stories on top of the deck for their own use at their own expense, as is spelled out in the contract. Belden said there’s nothing prohibiting that, but he and his partners have no plans to sell those rights.
Turk asked if it’s true that the city has spent money on this project which is planned on property that the city doesn’t yet own. Chief of Staff Susan Norton said yes, and that is because the City Council approved a measure to direct the city to do so. Norton said the property sale is pending this contract approval and it will happen as soon as this resolution is passed.
Harvey said this project needs to move forward as soon as possible if the council’s investment in the arts is ever going to come to fruition. “Investing in this deck is investing in the creative economy,” said Harvey.
Kinion said he thinks the project is great for the creative economy, but the public-private relationship the city is getting into with the parking deck deal has always concerned him. He said he would’ve liked more discussion about why the developers aren’t responsible for at least some of the cost overruns. “It’s a matter of fiscal responsibility,” said Kinion.
Scroggin said it’s unfortunate that there are cost overruns, but he thinks it will still be a net gain for the city.
Jones said he wanted to reconsider the contract because he is a champion for boosting the creative economy, and because the voters already approved this project.
Turk said she, too, is a supporter of the arts, but she doesn’t think the location of the deck was fairly evaluated. The swapping of the properties still gives her pause, she said, and that’s why she object to this particular item. “There are many components of this deal that I don’t think were made transparently,” she said. “Those issues should’ve been discussed much more openly.”
Bunch disagreed, and said the council talked for hours about all the possible locations for the lot before making a decision. “I feel like we had quite a few meetings about the different parts of the contracts,” she said. “I think it’s the best location and it’s unfortunate that there are cost overruns, but we need to move forward on it.”
Decision: The council voted 5-2 to approve the contract. Kinion and Turk voted against.
This meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.