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Date of Issue: May 17, 2007

Bradenton Beach pier costs hike yet again

More increases to replace the city pier restaurant and ancillary buildings have been approved by the Bradenton Beach City Commission, the lastest to the tune of $14,874.

The latest changes are for power equipment for the kitchen area. Total cost of the pier is now pegged at $1,888,410, but contractor Southern Cross Contracting Inc. has said that the price will rise before the work is completed, hopefully no later than late September.

Pier work entails building a restaurant on the pier at the east end of Bridge Street at Anna Maria Sound, as well as a dockmaster office, bait and tackle shop, bath house facilities and providing additional dockage.

City commissioners have borrowed about $2.2 million on the project. Contractor Southern Cross of Sarasota was the low bidder at $1,664,710, and was awarded the contract to do the work last December.

However, changes to the original scope of work, and delays in the project due to permit issues with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection have caused the renovations to be delayed and costs have spiraled to more than 11 percent over the budgeted price.

The restaurant was severely damaged during Hurricane Frances in 2005 and has been closed since, and the pier itself was subsequently closed to the public.

Tom Edwards, with Southern Cross, said that the latest changes would probably push the project completion date back by about six days.

Concerns have also been voiced regarding changes requested by Rotten Ralph’s Waterfront Restaurant, the concessionaire for the restaurant, that go above the budgeted items. Those matters were referred to city attorney Ralf Brookes for review to determine if additional funds should be reimbursed to the city from him, and at what time any such reimbursement would take place.

There are still pending issues on the pier.

Edwards has said that still to come in change orders are costs associated with lift stations for waste-water flow, a grease trap for the restaurant, back-flow preventers, an emergency generator, electrical revisions, hot water installation systems, conduit for utilities and a galvanized water line for fire safety in lieu of cheaper materials previously planned.

There are also some cosmetic changes to the pier restaurant under discussion, Edwards said.