DoubleTree by Hilton at the U.S. Cellular Center Should Be Ready in 11 Months
By Rick Smith, Reporter
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Bids opened Wednesday for a major piece of the Cedar Rapids’ downtown hotel renovation project came in under the project’s $17.7 million budget for the work, city officials reported. The apparent low bids for the general contract on the latest round of work and contracts for mechanical and electrical work that are part of it totaled $17.485 million, the officials said.
John Frew, the project manager for the hotel project and for the city’s event center project next to the hotel, said on Wednesday that the city now has contract prices in place on 95 percent of the $146 million total project cost.
Frew and Rob Davis, the city’s engineering operations manager, broke down the current project costs this way: $85.5 million for the construction of the new convention center and renovation of the arena next to it; $45.5 million for the hotel renovation; and $15 million for the parking ramp across First Avenue East from the hotel and a skywalk to connect to it.
The bids opened on Wednesday for the hotel renovation will pay for interior work at the hotel, including walls, electric, plumbing, carpeting and the construction of the 16th-floor lounge and restaurant, first-floor lobby, third-floor meeting rooms and swimming pool and fourth-floor administrative offices, said Frew, a principal with Frew Nations Group. The work also includes metal cladding on the exterior of the hotel and convention center, he said.
Davis noted that the base bid for the latest round of hotel work were expected to come in at $17.3 million on Wednesday. However, the low-bid total was $16.25 million or $1 million less than expected. As a result, the project will be able to add to the base bid and incorporate roof accent lighting, a fire alarm system, a cable TV system and food service equipment into this part of the project’s budget, Frew said.
Davis added that the Federal Emergency Management Agency informed the city on Tuesday that it can steer $1.3 million in disaster funds coming to the city for general flood damage to the parking ramp piece of the hotel and event center project.
Davis called beating the base-bid estimate by $1 million on Wednesday and the FEMA decision the day before as “two real good days in a row” for what will be the city-owned DoubleTree by Hilton at the U.S. Cellular Center when it opens by June 1, 2013.
Frew said the hotel and center will open together, likely with a soft opening on May 1 and a grand opening a month later.
Davis said work should begin next week on the new parking ramp across from the hotel.
In bids opened Wednesday, the apparent low bids came from Kleiman Construction of Cedar Rapids for the general contact, Day Mechanical Systems Inc. of Cedar Rapids for the mechanical contract and Nelson Electric Co. of Cedar Rapids for the electrical work.
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