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Avondale Estates City Commission approves design, construction contracts for town green market pavilion

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Avondale Estates City Commission approves design, construction contracts for town green market pavilion

The commercial development of the Avondale Estates town green will be along North Avondale Road. On the back side, the development will feature an expanded promenade for outdoor dining and walking. There patio will be connected to the town green and playground area by stairs. Photo is from the Avondale Estates city website

Avondale Estates, GA — The Avondale Estates City Commission, at its Nov. 10 meeting, approved contracts for the design and construction of the market pavilion on the town green, which will be on the corner of North Avondale Road and Oak Street.

The City Commission approved the contract with a 4-1 vote. Commissioner Dee Merriam abstained from the vote saying she needed more time to digest the information.

The city will work with Fabric Developers to design the pavilion and the contract amount is not to exceed $92,000. The city will also amend its current contract with Reeves Young to include construction of the pavilion in an amount not to exceed $850,000, according to the resolution.

The town green project includes the construction on four acres of the land. About two acres will be a park and the other two acres will be the commercial development. The site is located along Highway 278/North Avondale Road between Lake and Oak Streets. Construction is ongoing and work is anticipated to be completed in spring 2022.

At the Sept. 22 City Commission meeting, Jerry Miller, founder and principal of Fabric Developers, presented plans for a two-part commercial development. One area will be a multi-use pavilion and possible parking area.

The estimated cost of the pavilion will be about $1.1 million, although the city expects the cost to be less. The amendment, however, is about $850,000 that would be added to the current contract with Reeves Young.

The city plans to dedicate $250,000 of contingency funds to the pavilion. That money is built into the current contract with Reeves Young and is already pledged to the town green project.

“We’re looking at a total of the $850,000 amendment plus the $250,000 contingency, so that’s $1.1 million, but we expect it to be less than that,” City Manager Patrick Bryant said. “So $850,000 in new money pledged is what this resolution purports.”

At the Oct. 27 meeting, the board discussed a $915,000 amendment, but that also included the design cost. The city pulled the $92,000 design cost out of that amount and was left with about $823,000. This amendment wouldn’t necessarily take into account potential unknowns.

“I also want to say that the $915,000 amendment that was being discussed in the last work session actually included the $92,000 design cost in it,” Bryant said. “I have settled on a recommendation to you to approve me to enter into that contract amendment, when necessary, for an amount not to exceed $850,000. Even though we do believe the actual cost of the amendment will be much lower than that.”

He added that in order to mobilize Reeves Young to build the pavilion, and have it completed at the same time as the park, the city needs to move quickly on the contracts and get to the design phase.

“Any continued prolonging of that decision could result in their inability to perform that work,” Bryant said. “Therefore, we would have to solicit another contractor, which could further skyrocket the eventual cost of building the pavilion.”

Commissioner Lisa Shortell added that she thinks of this as a change order to the park design.

“It’s important to understand that by going ahead and working with the current designers, Reeves Young and Fabric, that we are able to save money just on that fact alone,” she said. “We’re working with the folks who are already there. It’s going to be finished along with the park. That’s the idea. That is in our economic interest.”

The City Commission discussed multiple ways in which they could fund the pavilion in October. Options include asking the Downtown Development Authority to help fund the pavilion; using American Rescue Plan funding to cover the stormwater cost and reallocating the money already in the budget for stormwater toward the pavilion; or using the bond anticipation note to cover the whole cost.

The City Commission, however, has not made a final decision on how the pavilion will be funded yet.

“It is highly possible that this thing gets done without the addition of any funds,” Bryant said.

The city also has not finalized the design and will do so at an upcoming City Commission meeting. The city will also learn the final construction cost once the design is complete.

City staff envisions there will be some tweaks and changes made throughout the design process, and opportunities for the public to provide input.

“[With] the design here, I don’t think we can do a robust public process like we did for the design of the town green, but as we continue to discuss it with Fabric and in public meetings, I think we would welcome any input from the public that we could get. We would, of course, try and incorporate that, if it makes sense, into the design,” Bryant said.

The proposal discussed in October included a pavilion that was about 6,000 square feet. The size will be reduced to 4,200 square feet and feature an uncovered multi-use pad behind the pavilion. That area could be used for temporary parking, food trucks, as an unloading and loading zone, or a potential area for Uber and Lyft drop-offs.

He added that the city and developers are contemplating adding a roll curb or bollards to separate the multi-use pad from the general access road. Some concerns have been raised about the parking area being used consistently for parking and having drivers think the area is permanent parking.

“This is our parking that we control 100%,” Mayor Jonathan Elmore said. “It’s not public parking, unless we want it to be. I think this works a lot better.”

The consensus of the City Commission has been that they don’t want the area to be consistent public parking, but the idea is it could be used as an unloading area for events or for getting product into the commercial space, Mayor Pro Tem Brian Fisher said.

The city would have multiple opportunities to program the pavilion and the park. Bryant said the smaller pavilion size will probably work better for the city.

“We were a little worried that because of the size of that space, sometimes it would sit empty, or oftentimes it might sit empty or partially filled, and not hold the corner like we would like it to visually,” Bryant said. “We think that the reduction in pavilion makes it easier to program, and if empty would not look as detrimental to the corner hold. So we believe that this concept actually works better for the future of the city.”

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