Special council meeting called to reconsider failed parking deck contract

Depot Lot / Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

A failed contract resolution for Fayetteville’s replacement parking deck will get a second chance for approval.

A special City Council meeting was called to reconsider the contract at the request of Council Member D’Andre Jones, who was one of three members to vote against the resolution.

The contract is a change order with Nabholz Construction for cost overages for the deck project, which is expected to cost about $3.2 million more than what was originally estimated.

Officials in 2018 anticipated the project to cost the city no more than $10 million, but city staff recently said the pandemic has contributed to rising costs for construction projects because of labor and supply shortages. As a result, recent bids from construction contractors are coming in higher than expected.

Mayor Lioneld Jordan last week told council members to expect more cost overages for bond-related projects, and said construction costs are now running anywhere from 30-35% higher than before the pandemic hit.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat anything,” he said. “This will not be the last overestimate you see.”

Money for the initial $10 million for the deck will come from the cultural arts corridor bond issue that voters approved in 2019.

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.

The new deck will replace the large parking lot across from the Walton Arts Center where an outdoor park and civic plaza called The Ramble is planned. It will be located on what’s called the Depot Lot, a privately-owned parking lot at the northwest corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue. The bond measure stipulated that redevelopment of the lot could not begin until all of the lot’s 290 parking spaces are replaced and ready for use.

Parking deck design concept by Olsson, Inc. (see more images)

The City Council in March approved an initial contract for the deck, and last month approved a second contract for early site work related to the project.

The change order contract was brought forward on Dec. 7 to cover overages related to concrete, masonry, structural steel, waterproofing, glass, glazing, metal studs, painting, elevators, and MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) work.

Approval failed by a 3-3 vote. It would’ve needed at least five votes to pass.

Council Members Teresa Turk and Mark Kinion cast the other two votes against, while Sloan Scroggin, Sarah Bunch and Holly Hertzberg voted in favor. Sonia Gutiérrez Harvey was absent, and Matthew Petty’s vacant seat won’t be filled until after the Feb. 8 special election.

Before the vote, Turk said she has always been against the deck being built in its current planned location, and said she still has some concerns about the project. Turk said she’s never been a fan of the land sale associated with the deck construction, and called the idea “extravagant” and “out of touch.” Kinion agreed, however Jones did not say why he voted against the resolution. Jones simply said “no” when his name was called and the meeting continued.

The City Clerk’s office on Thursday issued a notice that Jones had requested a reconsideration of the vote, and that a special meeting had been scheduled.

The meeting is set for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 14. It will be immediately followed by the council’s regularly scheduled agenda-setting session.