Memo for fiscal year 2021, updated 2020-02-27

[Archived] Question # 34: What are the ROM costs of the major components of the City Hall Renovation project? What alternatives to the full project scope have been considered?


What are the ROM costs of the major components of the City Hall Renovation project? What alternatives to the full project scope have been considered? (Mayor Wilson)


The major component replacements for the City Hall Renovation project represents approximately $35 million (present value in today’s dollars) of the proposed project costs. This amount consists of the following major components and systems:

Component/System Group Estimated Present Value Cost (in millions) Percentage of Total Cost
Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing $12.47 35.63%
Exterior Preservation $10.35 29.57%
Fire Protection/Life Safety $2.07 5.91%
Structure/Interior Construction $10.11 28.89%
Total $35.00 100%

The $35 million represents the raw replacement costs, however factoring in design and project planning, along with cost escalation to the anticipated construction timeline, this cost is estimated by General Services to increase to $56.4 million for major component replacement. This amount of funding would replace the major components and systems of City Hall, however this amount would not contemplate any programmatic changes or space allocation for City Hall to align with the changing needs of staff, City Council, or the public in general. For example, implementation of new office space standards or expansion of community meeting spaces would not be included in the $56.4 million cost.

The Proposed CIP recommends a budget of $79 million for the renovation of City Hall, structural repairs of the Market Square parking garage, and outfitting a swing space for staff during these renovations. This proposed project budget represents 75 percent of the project cost estimate, which is based on recently experienced costs (per square foot) of renovating and modernizing (and replacing of major systems) historic buildings in the DC metro region. The square footage cost was the basis of the budget estimate along with industry standard percentages for Architect and Engineering services and other project related costs. The renovation would include design, new furniture and fixtures installed in accordance with City space standards, building improvements, and building system replacements.

Staff have considered several alternatives, including a scenario in which only major systems are replaced ($56.4 M), along with staged renovations that would include partial closures of City Hall. The staged closure scenarios dramatically increase the overall project costs but do allow for spreading the costs of the renovation project over several fiscal years. This approach has the disadvantage of ‘piecemeal’ replacements of major systems, and a longer period of disruption of regular operations at City Hall. Staff did not recommend a staged renovation due to the lack of overall cost savings, and the potential negative impacts of a prolonged disturbance period and the inefficiencies likely to result from piecemeal systems replacement.

Staff will continue to explore alternatives and to develop a more specific plan and costing in the FY 2022 CIP (design) and FY 2023/FY 2024 CIP (construction). 

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