Site preparation will soon begin on a new office building for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District.
After several years of discussion, a contract between the regional district and MMH Developments Ltd. of Salmon Arm was approved by the board of directors at an in-camera session of last week’s board meeting.
The (net) $6.4 million project includes a land swap in which MMH will take over the Marine Drive property currently owned by the regional district as part payment and construct a new building at 561 Harbourfront Dr. east of Marine Park.
“Effectively we were looking for a turnkey project –- someone who would provide land, design and build the facility and take as partial payment against that, ownership of our offices,” says CSRD chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton. “And we wanted a fixed price on that.”
Hamilton says the regional district still reserves the right to sell the two office buildings within a specified period of time if they can get a better price than is guaranteed within the deal with MMH.
CSRD embarked on a process in 2008 to identify office space, having determined the regional district would require new office space in the range of up to 25,000 square feet within a five-year period.
Over the last number of years, CSRD has considered various development concepts, most recently issuing a request for proposals to the private sectors to undertake the design and build project from March 13 to April 26 of this year.
“We initiated the formal process, received three proposals and we accepted the preferred proponent,” said Hamilton Friday, noting. “Over the last several months, we have been negotiating a master agreement that sets out all the business terms. It was taken to the board yesterday and the board ratified the agreement.”
Hamilton says the MMH bid was the lowest of three local bids being considered.
MMH Developments is local architect Bernd Hermanski, builder Ian McDiarmid and Ross McDonald, a Vancouver businessman who has been involved in Salmon Arm projects previously.
“A comprehensive information package will be released explaining why we went this way,” said Hamilton. “The highest consideration in the planning of this was to keep it as cost effective as possible. That was the over-arching consideration when it came to the evaluation of the various proposals.”
Site preparation could begin as early as this week, with construction beginning some time in the spring.
The 22,000 sq. ft., two-storey building with elevator will accommodate future expansion. It will be built with regionally sourced commercial grade wood and will be a glue-laminated, heavy timber frame structure on a concrete foundation. The exterior will be a combination of stucco and metal cladding.
The HVAC system is a water source heat pump with a geothermal exchange system.
“Notwithstanding anytime a local government elects to build a new facility it’s always potentially controversial,” he says. “The board recognizes that and I have instructions to develop an information circular that will be on the website and circulated explaining all the relevant factors.
Hamilton expects that information will be made available by mid-December.