Jones Lang LaSalle, the firm working on the project, requested the increase to cover current overages and “to provide a responsible ongoing project contingency.”
The increase includes $450,000 for added space for restrooms and ground floor expansion in City Hall, $500,000 for deep foundations, $23,000 for gas lines and street lamps, $500,000 for a pocket park, $30,000 for wood flooring in City Hall, $35,000 sprinklers and $40,000 for added glass in city hall.
The budget increase was approved with a 5-2 vote, with Councilmen D.C. Aiken and Jim Gilvin opposing.
Gilvin noted that the Council had already approved the addition of more restrooms in City Hall and said he believes there must be ways to save money “somewhere in this $30 million.”
The city plans to complete the civic components of the Downtown Development project in August of 2014. This will include a new 50,000-square-foot city hall, a town plaza, a five-acre park, a 450-space structured parking facility and connecting avenues and sidewalks.
Later in 2014, Fulton County plans to open a new public library on the three-acre site the city donated for that purpose.
City Center has been an active goal for the city of Alpharetta since 2005 when officials first put forward a plan for spurring business and development activity in the community’s downtown district by leveraging city-owned property.
Discussions first centered on a three-acre tract and included only a small expansion of city hall and the creation of a central public plaza fronting Main Street.
By 2006 the city was pursuing partnerships with private sector interests to expand the footprint and scope of the project, expanding its vision to include 10 acres that would be home to the plaza and city hall expansion as well as a five-acre park and commercial development opportunities.
In 2011, after the third iteration of the project stalled, the city began acquiring additional property so that it could control the destiny of the project.
Within months, Alpharetta had struck a deal to bring the new branch of the Fulton County Public Library to the project and saw 73 percent of its citizens vote to finance the project using $29 million in general obligation bonds.