London city hall: Moving staff to cheaper digs jumps by $280,000 due to renovation costs

 

The cost to taxpayers to move about 200 city employees across downtown has jumped by one-third, to slightly more than $1 million.

While the move is still an overall savings – the city will pay about $800,000 less over five years at Citi Plaza than it would have to stay put at Market Tower – a jacked-up renovation price tag left city politicians unhappy Tuesday.

“This situation has really put us in a difficult predicament,” Coun. Tanya Park said as council’s corporate services committee debated an extra cost they have no choice but to pay.

Added Mayor Matt Brown: “It’s an uncomfortable situation for all of us.”

The move, approved last July, will shuffle city workers from the Market Tower at the Dundas-Richmond streets intersection to the former Galleria, owned by I.F. Propco Holdings.

The space needed renovations, and taxpayers were to spend $850,000 on them. But a pair of complications has pumped up that price, requiring politicians on Tuesday to endorse spending an extra $283,708.

The two issues, detailed by city treasurer Martin Hayward, were:

The property owner got four bids on the renovations, but disqualified three as “non-compliant.” The lone qualified bid was $283,000-plus above the expected cost.

The city needs the work done by March 15, creating a “compressed” schedule that hikes contractor costs, such as overtime pay.

 

Hayward said the extra money will be found in the existing budget.

With city hall at 300 Dufferin Ave. too small for all services, there are city workers scattered at a number of sites in the core. Hayward stressed to politicians that the multi-year lease at Citi Plaza will, by its end, be about $800,000 cheaper than the rate would have been at Market Tower.

The mayor sought to hit a positive note amid the construction cost jump, too.

“From a financial perspective, we continue to be in good shape, as compared to other options,” he said.

 

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