After firing the contractor responsible for the botched construction of the Mitchell Park Library and Community Center, Palo Alto officials will on Monday select a new company to finish the job.
The City Council is set to bring in Big-D Pacific Builders to complete the project, which voters approved in a 2008 bond and which has fallen far behind schedule because of disputes between the city and the hired contractor, Flintco Pacific. The city fired Flintco on Jan. 10, citing the company's consistent failure to devote sufficient personnel to the project and to meet deadlines. Since then, the city and Flintco's surety have negotiated a takeover agreement that will allow a new company to finish the job.
The city selected Big-D largely because of its previous experience in working with the city. The company was in charge of the recent renovation of the Palo Alto Art Center, a project that was completed on time and under budget. More recently, the city had hired Big-D to be its "on call" contractor for Mitchell Park, the largest of the three library projects voters approved when they passed Measure N in 2008.
City officials said in a statement changing the contractor so late in the game will come at "little or no cost" for the city. As part of its agreement with Flintco, the company had to post a performance bond to protect the city's interests in case the company is unable to complete the job. The takeover agreement caps the total liability for Flintco's surety at $28 million, with the city expected to contribute any additional contract funds that might be needed. The city's announcement noted that "due to the significant delays already occurred, it is anticipated that little if any contract balance funds will be paid to the surety."
In a statement, City Manager James Keene said Big-D has "a good track record with the City, and we are hopeful they will be able to come in and finish this project. Public Works Director Mike Sartor concurred and noted that the company is already familiar with the Mitchell Park project.
"We had previously retained Big-D to perform work that Flintco was unable or unwilling to do and so they are already vetted to work on the project," Sartor said.
Initially pegged for 2012 completion, the library at 4050 Middlefield Road is now expected be finished this summer.