Urban renewal board decides to ask for business park bids

Contractors in need of work expected to bring down cost

By Sandra L. Lee of the Tribune

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Balancing between being the only entree at a table of hungry contractors versus a possibility of lower interest rates, or even an influx of federal money, the Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency board opted for dinner Tuesday.

“There’s really nothing out there for contractors to bid on right now” in the Northwest, Port of Lewiston Manager David Doeringsfeld said to the agency board.

With companies looking for work, bids usually are lower and should more than offset the present higher interest rates, he said.

Board members opted to go ahead with advertising for bids to subdivide the port’s Business and Technology Park east of Juniper Drive and north of Wal-Mart.

A bid award is likely at a March 24 meeting of the board. Bonds won’t be sold until a satisfactory bid is obtained.

If the port and agency opt to wait, the state of Idaho is likely to take any federal stimulus money for its own projects, and lower interest rates likely will be offset by higher bids and materials costs because demand will be up, board members and Lewiston Community Development Director Laura Von Tersch said.

The project itself is important because it creates several smaller lots that can be marketed for multiple uses, she said. They would provide more jobs and a larger tax base.

Construction and related costs are estimated between $800,000 and $1 million and will be repaid with property tax increases incurred since Jan. 1, 2005. That’s about $102,000 a year at present, but will grow as land in and around the park develops or increases in value.

For example, Wingers restaurant plans to break ground near Village Center Cinemas in the next few days, Von Tersch said. She expects it to generate between $50,000 and $80,000 toward payments on the project over the life of the bonds.

The port also has about $100,000 that can be used, and the agency has about $125,000 set aside in previously collected property taxes.

In a worst case scenario where bids come in too high, the project can be shelved for awhile and the only expense will be about $7,000 for engineering costs associated with the bid process, Doeringsfeld said.

Lee may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2266.