Written by Jesse Scheckner on February 23rd, 2021
Construction of the new Miami-Dade Courthouse is further behind schedule and has become more expensive due to several unforeseen flaws. However, there is discussion about how much is being discussed by the county and the development group that is constructing the building.
The new civil and probate court to be built on Flagler Street next to the 93-year-old building it is replacing was originally scheduled to open in January 2024. Miami-Dade and the Plenary Justice Miami design-build and management team later agreed to move that deadline back three months to accommodate obstacles not included in the site plans.
The plenary now says that the courthouse will not be ready for occupancy until August 14, 2024. The group has asked Miami-Dade for a second extension of the schedule, a new report from the group shows.
Frank Suarez of Miami-Dade Internal Services, the county’s project manager, told Miami Today that he and his staff are doing “our own push back” on the recent Plenary Justice renewal request by pointing out progress on the project and demanding that the Time is made up for later stages of development.
Miami-Dade also hired AECOM engineering firm, a frequent advisor to the county, to review Plenary Justice’s delay claims and analyze the additional costs expected by the development team.
“I don’t think all delays are legitimate,” said Mr Suarez. “There are things that can be cut. We evaluate your schedule. We disagree with this August date. “
While there is disagreement between Miami-Dade and Plenary Justice about how much time it will take to resolve the issues, both parties agree on what the issues are.
A pipeline controlled by FPL on site, which also serves the nearby Metrorail station, has to be laid. To do this, the FPL had to obtain permits from district and city administrations.
“Plus, finding the vendors that will do the job – the pricing, all that stuff – is a tedious process,” said Suarez, adding that the work should be “done by the end of February, early this year.” March.”
Overall, the cost came to about $ 1 million, split evenly between the FPL and the county, Plenary Justice and Miami-Dade said.
The development team also had to build an access shaft to underground utilities that the county information technology department will use for the existing courthouse, which it will continue to use for the new one.
This cost Miami-Dade $ 200,000, Suarez said.
Shortly after Plenary Justice took control of the land last year, it found a 5G power pole on the southeast corner of the courthouse. AT & T’s Mike Krissel said at the time that “it could be conservative [take] 8 to 9 months “, so that his company can move the bar off the construction site,” provided everything fits together perfectly. “
As with the FPL work, Suarez said the 5G pole is expected to be elsewhere in early March.
Other utilities on or around the package will also need to be routed, including old Crown Castle fiber optic lines and wires.
Plenary Justice officials wrote that Crown Castle received approval to relocate its utilities in October 2020. According to the development team, this task would take more than six months “based on the planning time for Crown Castle”.
A water cooling line must also be laid. The permit required for this was slow as it has to go through the city of Miami and adhere to agreements related to water and sanitation.
“The back and forth took a little longer than expected,” said Suarez. “This approval is not yet available. It is holding us up a bit. “
An old sewer on the property is also in poor condition and may need renovation.
“It’s not in very good shape – the lines are made of clay,” he said. “We have to make sure it can be serviced for the future of this building.”
The construction drawings for the 23-story courthouse are now 65% complete, although the main aspects of the project have already been agreed. The 640,000 square meter building will have 46 courtrooms with raw space for another four, parking spaces for 59 vehicles and offices for court administrators and clerks.
The courthouse project is the first public-private social infrastructure project in Miami-Dade.
Plenary Justice – consisting of the stock investor and asset manager Plenary Group, the architects Hellmuth Obata and Kassabaum Inc., the designer Tutor Perini Corp. and operations and maintenance partner Johnson Controls Inc. – signed the courthouse construction contract with the county on January 24, 2020, according to Dan Chatlos, division director for Miami-Dade Real Estate Development.
Under the terms of the agreement, the plenary is expected to spend $ 267 million upfront on construction costs. Over a 30-year period, the county expects to pay $ 852.2 million to the plenary, beginning with a payment of $ 25.4 million in the first year of construction.
The plenary will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the courthouse, including cleaning, renovating and maintaining the utilities, for three decades. If the group does not meet the agreed standards during this time, the county can cut its annual payments.
Miami-Dade last submitted his comments on the drafts that Plenary Justice submitted so far. Once the team tentatively considers the changes requested by the county by March 17th, the design work should be 95% complete.
“Then we would check it again,” said Mr Suarez. “It takes about 30 days to send you comments. Then we’ll meet again to review the comments we’ve made. You repair it and it is submitted to the construction department for approval. “
To speed things up, Plenary Justice has requested approval to allow the group to start building the building’s foundation while the designs are being finalized. This work, which involves digging in the ground and installing the roots of the building, will take more than six months.
The excavation of the basement, including the removal of contaminated soil, should begin on December 20 and last through April 7, 2021, as previously estimated by the plenary.
“It has not started yet,” said Mr Suarez. “The service provider [has] Consider another method of soil treatment. This approval is not yet available, but will be available within days or weeks of its approval [by the county]. ”
Mike Schutt, vice president of the Plenary Group, declined requests for comment.