Call to action regarding BI overspending for police station

  • Tuesday, January 19, 2021 2:49pm
  • Opinion

To the editor:

Regarding information that the city of Bainbridge Island overspent on the new police station, a few of us with relevant professional experience convened to evaluate the allegations:

Harrison was appraised as a successful clinic at $500 a square foot as if near hospitals, with a high demand for their space. Harrison was not a successful clinic, and Harrison was trying to unload it, and COBI chose to pay nearly $9 million.

The Harrison value as a shell for conversion to another use likely less than $150 per square foot, or about $3 million, which is what a generic office building on BI would sell for. To pay more would be economically unwise – as the more economic alternative would be to start from scratch.

Anthony Gibbons, Bainbridge Island

As the corporate officer responsible for all company projects for Nordstroms with billion of dollars in construction costs and as past president of Callison Architects with worldwide projects, I offer this opinion. Gibbons is correct in that the COBI significantly overpaid Harrison, which should have been valued as an impaired asset as the improvements and furnishings were of no value to a new use. The only use that could have been considered is a generic office building, which was in oversupply on Bainbridge Island A comparable generic office building would cost $4,450,000 less demolition costs, or $3,450,000, – not the $8,975,000 COBI actually paid. City Council has an obligation as a custodian of public funds to stop work and have an independent investigation before moving further ahead.

Dave Lindsey, Bainbridge Island

I want to share my thoughts on the police station as an Islander. I really think that our local government has not stepped-up in the past six years to move this project along in a way that is fiscally responsible. The police station project started in 2014 – the same time the new Fire Station 21 was underway. I was the president of the firm designing that project. Based on my experience with the design and construction of police facilities throughout Puget Sound, had the city kept pace with BIFD I believe the cost of the project would have been less than $10 million. So, the “struggles” have resulted in a doubling of costs for Islanders. Further, the city overpaid for Harrison roughly by $5 million. The city has appeared to commit to manage the project to not exceed $20 million. That won’t be easy work, as the project is a remodel, and it’ll take a level of care in watching costs and managing people that just hasn’t been done to date with this project.

Rich Mitchell, Bainbridge Island

My company has built many quality commercial and residential buildings on Bainbridge Island over the past 40 years. Property appraisals are an integral part of the process. The overpayment for the Harrison building reflects extremely poor financial stewardship on the part of the city. COBI should take a leadership position, transparently investigate and take corrective action before proceeding further.

Tad Fairbank, Bainbridge Island

P.S. – Please pass on this email. We do not have much time to get the City Council’s attention. One-hundred-plus responses will get the council’s attention at the Feb. 2 council meeting. A majority of the City Council must approve what we are requesting and that will require your appeal to council@bainbridgewa.gov.

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