WI: Eau Claire to approve final $5.6 million package of transfer center bids

5 May 2022 9:35 AM | WIPTA Admin (Administrator)

City leaders are poised to approve $5.59 million in bids from contractors to finish construction of Eau Claire's new downtown transit transfer center.

The third set of bids in the project is up for a vote by the City Council during its Tuesday afternoon meeting.

"This is the final one for the city," Tom Wagener, manager of Eau Claire Transit, said of the bid package.

There are 21 different companies slated to do a portion of the work needed to complete the center, which has been under construction since fall.

Market & Johnson, the Eau Claire firm also serving as construction manager for the project, is set to get $1.9 million to do the masonry, carpentry and providing gypsum board.

The contractor poised to get the second-highest amount from the latest package is Design Point Exteriors of Stevens Point, which bid $971,000 to provide the metal clad walls for the building.

Other contracts for plumbing, structural steel, weatherproofing, doors, glass, tiling, flooring, painting, fire sprinklers and elevator work are also among items in the bid package.

These final bids are coming just a month after the City Council gave its approval to increase the construction project's budget, in part due to materials price inflation.

"It was the last bid package so we wanted to get them out as soon as we could because prices keep going up," Wagener said.

The project's first bid package was approved in July for $6.76 million in site work, utilities, paving and concrete, with the majority going to Market & Johnson.

The second bid package, which was for $1.33 million in electrical work, went to NEI Electric of Eau Claire in February.

Higher prices and increasing the city's share of the public-private project led the council to unanimously vote March 22 to increase spending on it.

The public portion of the center was previously estimated to cost $8.9 million to build, but the council's vote grew that to $17.2 million as costs rose.

The six-story project will have a bus transfer center on the ground floor, two levels of parking above it and then a three-level apartment building with "workforce housing" on top. As originally conceived in 2017, city and federal funds were supposed to pay for the ground floor and a level of parking with a private developer covering the rest.

However, difficulty getting a housing developer to sign on under that arrangement led the city to expand the public share of the project last month to include the second level of parking, a large concrete slab above that for the apartments to stand on and more of the structure's infrastructure.

After another developer had previously walked away, the city has been in talks since late last year with Rice Lake-based Impact Seven to build the workforce housing.

Including the housing is seen as critical to the city holding onto a $5 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery it was awarded in 2018 to kick-start the transit transfer center.


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