Renovations, repairs and upgrades to the new City Hall are bringing the total cost of the project closer to $11 million, according to a update to the mayor and City Council.
The city recently borrowed nearly $10 million to pay for the 45,000-square-foot City Hall building on Ashford-Dunwoody Road and cover renovation costs. But as designs for the building wrap up and construction is set to begin in July, total cost of the project is higher than projected, City Manager Eric Linton said.
“We borrowed the max at $10 million and we have $800,000 currently in the budget for City Hall — anything additional has to come out of the budget,” Linton said during the council’s retreat on Feb. 10.
The city paid $8,050,000 last year for the former Community & Southern Bank building at 4800 Ashford-Dunwoody Road. Dunwoody currently pays about $599,000 a year to rent space at 41 Perimeter Center East for its city offices. The lease expires at the end of this year.
The numbers on the new City Hall building are still preliminary as architects and construction plans continue to be laid out. Construction is scheduled to begin in July and be completed in December. City staff and the police department are expected to begin moving into the new building in early January 2018.
Eric Johnson of Comprehensive Program Services, who heads the renovation project, explained the project is “fiscally still a home run.”
Some of the costs also come with paying for relocation of current tenants of the building who were locked into leases when the building was sold and are being paid by the city to get out of the leases. On Feb. 13, the council approved paying $129,000 to a tenant to break its lease and cover relocation costs.
The city cannot yet get out of a lease with Elite Radiology of Georgia, which focuses on MRI services and is located on the second floor of the building. Its lease expires in 2021. Design plans show the city’s administrative offices being located around the MRI office, which takes about 2,500 square feet of space.
The city also owns a building at 4470 North Shallowford Road, where police training and large evidence storage can be located.
Both of the buildings need new roofs, however, and the North Shallowford Road needs better insulation, Johnson said.
The schematics shown to the mayor and council show most of the police department located on the first floor to the right of the lobby. The mayor and City Council chambers, which will double as space for municipal court, will be located to the left of the lobby. The mayor and council members will sit on a raised platform where the bank tellers were once located.
The new space increases public seating to for council meetings to about 150 seats, or double the capacity the city now has.
City administrative offices and some police department commanders will be located on the second floor. The second floor is where the public will go to receive most city services, such as permitting and vital records.
The bank’s vault will likely be repurposed as a holding room for the police department. The bank’s drive-thru area will be enclosed to serve as a warehouse bay area, where a car can be processed for fingerprints, for example.
The parking lot will be resealed and restriping to add seven additional spaces, for a total of 160 spaces. About 100 spaces are in the front of the building.