After receiving three construction bids over the City’s allotted budget, Hillsdale’s Tax Increment Finance Authority is reassessing project plans for rehabilitation on the Dawn Theater.
TIFA received a $1.3 million grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to complete the project, and TIFA had passed a resolution that stated it was willing to help with any overtures up to $1.5 million. The lowest bid, however, was more than $600,000 over budget.
According to TIFA’s consultant Mary Wolfram, First Contracting Inc. submitted the lowest bid of $1,917,435, Foulke Construction submitted a bid of $2,145,000, and Elzinga-Volkers submitted a bid of $2,321,194.
“It’s not an odd thing for bids to come in high and for people to have to negotiate what’s gonna be in the project or what can be done later,” Wolfram said. “It’s a reality. Construction projects typically come in over budget.”
Hillsdale’s zoning administrator Alan Beeker said MEDC has requested that TIFA approach the three contractors explaining that they are all over budget.
“We are changing the scope of the work to reduce the cost and then inviting the contractors to look at the prices and see if they can meet the proposed budget,” Beeker said.
Wolfram said TIFA will be looking closely at the project specifications to see what it can eliminate from the original plan.
“We need to see what things we could live without,” Wolfram said. “More than likely, it will be things we could perhaps do at some later stage, once we’ve raised the money to do them.”
In addition to changing the scope of the project, Wolfram said it has become very clear that TIFA will have to do more fundraising to cover the cost of the project.
“We are now considering fundraising options, which may include a kind of GoFundMe Program for public spaces that MEDC actually provides up to a $50,000 match,” Wolfram said.
Wolfram said she is still hopeful about negotiations with the contractors.
“This is just how it’s playing out, it is what it is,” Wolfram said. “Real estate deals are hard.”