The City of Monroe is moving forward with the second phase of public infrastructure work at the former La-Z-Boy World Headquarters.
On Monday, Monroe City Council voted unanimously to award the Phase 2 Infrastructure Construction Contract for the 26-acre, city-owned property along N. Telegraph Rd. to E.R. Zeiler Excavating, Inc. of Temperance. The contract covers the extension of Huber Drive from its current dead end to Greenfield Avenue, a culvert carrying Huber Drive over the Mason Run Drain, a common detention basin to serve the entire site south of Mason Run Drain that is designed to hold water continuously as a design feature, extension of Holiday Drive to meet Huber, and construction of a raised and decorative concrete intersection, and corresponding utility extensions and relocations.
Agenda packet: June 30 Monroe City Council meeting
The firm's $1,790,130.50 bid for the project came in 14% below the engineer's estimate - a savings of nearly $300,000 from the estimated cost. Completion of all work covered by the contract is scheduled for July 31, 2023.
Patrick Lewis, the city’s director of engineering and public services, said that the multi-season nature of the project was a big factor in both E.R. Zeiler's low bid, as well as the slightly higher bid of the other firm that applied.
"This will essentially be the big enchilada, if you will, of the remaining construction work for public infrastructure (at the site)," Lewis said. "...We did only get two bidders, but the two bidders are both county contractors deemed to be responsible bidders by the terms of our ordinance. The good news is (the low bid) was about $300,000 under our estimate, which is a very positive development given what we've seen in the construction industry."
The city has been working for the past few years to transform the site of the former La-Z-Boy World Headquarters into a mixed-use development. The first business on the property is a Dairy Queen, which is currently under construction, but several other projects have gotten under way and more are expected.
"There are so many moving parts so many pieces (to this project)..." Lewis said. "It certainly has been enjoyable to work through the process."
Also on Monday, council unanimously agreed to the purchase $94,800 worth of wetland mitigation credits from the Niswander Environmental Banking site, which is within the River Raisin watershed area, to offset the removal of what has been deemed low-quality, disconnected wetlands on the undeveloped portion of the La-Z-Boy site east of Huber Drive.
Lewis explained that the city is required by the Michigan Department of the Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), to replace .53 acres of the wetlands that are to be removed at an off-site location in an area where they can serve a useful purpose, at a rate of 150 percent of the acreage that is to be removed.
"While disconnected, and really not supporting any habitat, they were still classified as wetlands," Lewis said. "We were required to remediate them somehow. We did mock-ups of what could work, and we did incorporate one of the smaller areas into a supplemental pond... (for the remaining) .53 acres of wetlands that are to be displaced, we had to purchase wetland credits.
EGLE also designated the Niswander Environmental Banking site as the mitigation location. The purchase price of the wetland credits at the site is $120,000 per acre.
"We are essentially purchasing credit into a wetland area that already exists," Lewis said. "...Basically, we're paying somebody else for something they already constructed in another area of the River Raisin watershed, that is functional wetland..."
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: City of Monroe awards Phase 2 of La-Z-Boy site redevelopment contract