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Stalled Civic Center Is 'Substantially Complete'


For the first time in months, the Beverly Hills City Council received some good news this week about its much-delayed Civic Center.

The city's construction management consultant declared Tuesday that the city's new police facility was "substantially complete" within the contractor's agreed-upon deadline and that satisfactory progress was being made on the other two areas involved in completion of the Civic Center project.

Gary Turk, project executive for Lehrer McGovern Bovis of California Inc., told the City Council: "The building is ready for a temporary certificate of occupancy," pending receipt and review of final architectural drawings. He said J. A. Jones Construction Co., which is involved in a $14.5-million payment dispute with the city, "worked a number of weekends and increased their level of manpower and materials to achieve substantial completion. The library is coming along in the same way."

The construction company "is really making an honest, strong effort to meet our dates," Turk said.

In an interview after the meeting, Turk said his firm had not yet asked the city Building Department for a temporary certificate of occupancy.

"We'll only ask for it when we're ready to move in. Right now, we're testing communications systems and training personnel in maintenance procedures and operation of the central plant system, fire safety, operation of jail equipment. All that has to be done, and we're not moving until summer," he said.

Asked what a projected move-in day might be, he replied, "That is difficult to say." He estimated that training and testing would be complete in a couple of weeks.

At the council meeting, City Manager Mark Scott said the temporary certificate of occupancy "does not coincide with move-in; it just means that the building is up to a certain level in the process." He said that the move would begin July 1, with City Hall, followed by the police headquarters and the library.

"It makes more sense than scheduling an early date that we can't make," he said, adding, "This assumes Jones' being able to adhere to schedule."

The project is at least a year behind schedule, according to Scott, whose predecessor resigned earlier this year after protracted problems had led to at least $9 million in overruns and a walkout by Jones in January in connection with the payment dispute. Beverly Hills and Jones agreed to resume construction of the final stage of the project in March, with both sides reserving the right to go to court or seek arbitration to settle their outstanding claims.

An amendment to the contract provides for damages to be paid to the city for each day of delay beyond scheduled completion for the City Hall, police headquarters and outdoor areas.

After the council meeting, City Atty. Greg Stepanicich said: "We are reviewing all the plans to make sure they're in order and checking work against plans to make sure everything is correct. At this point, it appears there would not be . . . damages (sought) for the police facility."

The council Tuesday approved a revised budget of $12.6 million for completion of the Civic Center. It includes $9 million in construction costs and $3.6 million for contingencies and other costs, such as architectural services, consultants' fees, trailer rental and furniture storage.

Stepanicich said costs incurred by the city related to construction delays would be included in the claim against Jones.

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