Riverside County supervisors Tuesday approved a $19 million budget for repairs and modernization work on a building in downtown Riverside that will serve as the new headquarters of the Office of the Public Defender.
The eight-story complex, located at 4076 Main St., formally housed District Attorney's Office personnel, but has been vacant for about three years following the relocation of the District Attorney's Office to a new building around the corner on Orange Street.
County officials decided to turn the Main Street building into the new headquarters of the public defender because it offered greater space. However, inspections revealed numerous problems, including the need for seismic retrofitting, a new roof, new elevator and other qualitative changes.
Fifty-eight prospective contractors submitted bids for the project last summer, and one was selected. However, after the Economic Development Agency identified further issues that would change the size -- and increase the costs - - of the work needed, the project was re-bid.
Glendale-based AWI Builders Inc. was selected.
"I hope we've dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's so we don't have any cost overruns," Supervisor Jeff Stone said today. "Let's do whatever we can do to expedite this project but keep costs under control."
Supervisor Kevin Jeffries, who represents Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and surrounding jurisdictions, wondered about scrapping the remodel and building an entirely new structure.
"Replacing the building would cost twice as much," said Economic Development Agency Director Rob Field. "After we're finished, it will in essence be a new building."
The Board of Supervisors approved a $19.6 million project budget, about $14.7 million of which will go directly toward construction, with the balance going toward furniture, permits, wiring and environmental tests.
Work is slated to begin in the next few months. --City News Service