LARGO – The city’s mission to build new headquarters on the 400 block of West Bay Drive continues.
âWe have just completed the schematic design and are moving on to formal design development,â said Deputy City Manager Maggie Paluch recently. “We hope that the full design documents will be ready by October through November.”
She said the city is well on its way to breaking ground in March and that the roughly $ 55 million project is expected to take two years to build.
The new community complex will include two mixed-use buildings totaling 100,385 square meters with 18,000 square meters of commercial space on the ground floor.
A multi-storey car park with 308 parking spaces is being built in the western part of the property. The property will also include a surface parking lot with 23 parking spaces and 12 parallel parking spaces on West Bay Drive.
A major reason officials chose West Bay Drive is because of the bustle of the downtown area, where numerous businesses have come and gone over the years.
For this reason, according to the city, the project will also include a public square that offers options for outdoor dining and event spaces both indoors and outdoors.
The eastern building will be the town hall. The first floor will include mixed-use commercial space that will extend around the building together with the town hall lobby. The remaining floors above are intended for the city departments. The parking garage will also be surrounded by commercial space and a terrace on the second floor.
In order to get a head start in activating this commercial space, the city has put out a tender for a landlord.
“We are considering entering into a contract with a leasing agent to rent this space and getting this person on board now so we can work on contracts for the next few years,” said Paluch, adding that the broker is in the Will be able to hope to register retail stores, grocery sellers and possibly a microbrewery.
Getting to this point has not been cheap and it will not get any cheaper in the future.
To secure the 400 block, the city had to purchase five lots at a total cost of $ 2,845,000.
Of the five tenants, three, including the Rib Shack BBQ, have signed a lease with the city through December 31st.
In order to pay for the most expensive project in the history of the city, the employees want to issue bonds. The city estimates it will borrow $ 60 million, according to finance director Kim Adams. However, this figure includes the funds needed to rebuild the park administration.
The forecast interest rate is currently 3.5 percent. If it took the city 30 years to pay the $ 60 million, the final payout would be more than $ 90 million. Adams said this has yet to be decided by the commission, adding that interest rates fluctuate so these numbers are tentative.
The turbulence on the raw material markets, which is leading to rising building estimates, is also contributing to the rising costs.
“One of the things we are struggling with is inflation,” said Paluch. âSo the number will be a little bigger than originally expected, and that’s all due to inflation. At the national level, we see this with building materials. “
Despite that increase, she said the budget is still in line with city expectations.
Contact and feedback
While design and budgeting are still ongoing, Paluch says the city plans to do more public relations with stakeholders like some of the downtown businesses.
She said plans are in the works for a community talk this fall, when the design is more advanced, so the public can see something more “tangible”.
Up to that point, she said the comments on the project had been positive.
“Some of the common themes that people really like are sustainability in the building, from the solar panels to the EV charging points,” she said.
Like the city’s community center, the goal is for the project to be certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the most widely used rating system for environmentally friendly buildings.
“We really consider this building to be something you’ve never seen before in this area in terms of sustainability,” she said. “Our goal is to make this building as green as possible.”