During its work session Feb. 7, the council heard a presentation from Tanyan Farley, who is managing the project for Athenian Group. In that presentation, he outlined several changes that are boosting the cost from $180 million to $230 million.
According to his presentation, the changes requiring the added expense can be attributed to added staffing, changes in scope to both the council chambers and tower, increased maintenance issues, changes to the footprint of council chambers caused by floodplain issues, and inflation.
Original estimates planned on moving in 900 employees from various city buildings. That plan has now increased to nearly 1,600, which is requiring the addition of 15th floor space through a lease exchange and updates to planned “as-is” floors due to employee growth and department requirements, according to Farley.
Council chambers will also be altered to comply with federal regulations after the Tarrant Regional Water District informed Athenian Group and the city that the council chambers construction site is in a federal floodway. Changes include redesigning council chambers to three stories to minimize encroachment into the floodway, making associated entry/exit changes and making foundational and structural changes to support the new design.
A total of 13,000 square feet will also be added to the council chambers, with a projected space of 28,000 square feet. This addition allows large spots for an executive session room, green room, catering kitchen, security space, Fort Worth TV staff space and broadcast equipment, elevators and an elevator lobby.
In the tower portion of city hall, updates include lobby pre-council space, media briefing and green room space, mezzanine updates to connect to chambers, and stairwell updates for safety and longevity.
According to Farley, the additional costs can be broken down into the following: about $7.95 million for added staff, about $12.03 million for major maintenance, about $7.61 million for floodway changes, about $9.36 million for added scope and more than $13 million due to inflation.
With an eye on transforming the way that it delivers services, the city of Fort Worth purchased the former Pier 1 building at 100 Energy Way in order to house 22 departments from 14 buildings under one roof. Even with the additional costs, buying and renovating the Pier 1 building is still cheaper than constructing a new city hall, which would have cost $391 million, according to Farley.