Sequim City Hall work progresses just ahead of schedule

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– The new City Hall is taking shape.

“You can start to tell what it’s going to look like,” Sequim City Manager Steve Burkett said.

The barn-style roof of the $16 million, 34,000-square-foot building on the 100 block of West Cedar Street is now evident.

Crews with lead contractor Lydig Construction of Seattle are running slightly ahead of the time frame that calls for the new civic center, which will combine administration offices and the police station for the first time in decades, to be open next summer.

“We’ve got a great superintendent on the job, and he feels things are right on, if not ahead of schedule,” Burkett said.

“I know they hope to get the roof on before the weather gets too nasty so they can keep working on the inside.”

Lydig is building the new civic center, designed by Integrus Architecture of Seattle, under an
$11.85 million maximum contract.

Land acquisition and preliminary design costs account for the remainder of the budgeted building cost of $16,074,200.

A building permit issued to the city last week showed $4,896,737.69 of value to the new construction.

Burkett said that is one of many permits Lydig has acquired for the project on the city’s behalf.

Users of the building should have enough parking spaces, as Burkett said the city has “agreed conceptually” with attorneys for Bank of America to acquire a yellow house at 191 W. Spruce St., that will be demolished.

In June, the city declared eminent domain on the property after the bank, which owns the note on the house, refused to take the short sale price the city agreed to with the house’s owners, Steven and Peggy Sutherland of Renton.

“That got their attention,” Burkett said.

Now, Burkett said, the bank has agreed to accept the purchase price of $89,000 for the house.

The Sutherlands owed $140,000 on the mortgage that was issued by Countrywide, the mortgage firm that was purchased by Bank of America in 2008 after failing because of the U.S. housing market collapse.

The parking spaces that would be sited on the lot are required by city code, which mandates a public building must provide a certain amount of parking in relation to its square footage.

“Things are going along pretty smoothly on this project,” Burkett said.

“This time next year, we should be inside.”

And that’s soon enough for Burkett, who, along with other city staff members, are anticipating the end of their temporary offices.

“It’s about 85 degrees in my office right now,” he said earlier this week.

“So, yeah, I’m looking forward to the new building,” he said.

The city is paying for the project primarily with a $10,439,000 bond issued at a 4.53 percent interest rate last July.

The first payment this year will cost the city $580,000.

The bonds will be repaid from several sources: $275,000 from a public safety tax approved by voters in 2012, which raised the city sales tax by 0.01 percent; $200,000 from elimination of current rent for city office space, including the Sequim Village Shopping Center spaces; $75,000 from the real estate excise tax; and $160,000 from excess budget capacity.

Other funding sources include $2,190,200 in reserved funds from real estate excise taxes and operational savings; $1.5 million each from the water and sewer funds; and $170,000 in expected real estate excise taxes for 2014.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: August 31. 2014 8:47PM
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