MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The project to build a parking deck at the Mobile Civic Center was budgeted to cost $30 million; however, due to higher construction costs brought on by national inflation, that price is closer to $39 million.
An item before the Mobile City Council would allow the city to transfer the additional $9.7 million from the city’s General Fund to a Capital Improvements Fund to fund the Civic Center Renovation project got its first read in Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.
District 6 Councilman Josh Woods raised initial concerns about the price hike at the pre-council meeting. District 4 Councilman Ben Reynold interrupted the conversation soon after, pointing out that the price increase was 30% of the original budgeted price.
However, Mayor Sandy Stimpson said that with the cost of materials and labor inching higher, this increase didn’t come as a surprise.
“Almost every single project that we are doing, it’s costing 20-30% more,” Stimpson said.
The parking deck will boast 1,026 parking spaces, but with an inflation-adjusted price, that’s just under $40,000 per parking space.
Stimpson said the parking deck is only a fraction of a greater project to renovate the entire civic center.
“You cannot hear what we’ve heard and what we’ve recognized as a price increase on the parking deck without being concerned about the total project,” Stimpson said.
The price to renovate the entire civic center was budgeted to be $170 million to $180 million, however, the city said that figure could likely increase by $30 million to $40 million for the same reasons.
Engineers, according to city officials, have only designed about 30% of the entire civic center renovation project, something Stimpson said gave the city a chance to take a step back to reevaluate funding after each leg of the process.
“That gives us some time to set things in motion to make sure we don’t get a surprise because of what as saw on the parking deck,” Stimpson said.
The city hopes they begin construction on the parking deck by the end of the year; however, if the city council does not vote to transfer the $9 million, it could push the groundbreaking back which could hinder the city’s plan to have the parking garage done by Mardi Gras of 2025. Construction is expected to last one year.
The item went before the city council as a first read on Tuesday and has been table to next week per council rules.