80th Ave. Metra Station to Have Underpass, $10.1M Price Tag
The Metra station upgrade came in well under expectations, but some village officials have concerns about whether the company can pull off the job.
The long-awaited renovations to the 80th Avenue Metra stop will come in more than $1.1 million under budget if the contractor the village is eyeing can get the job done.
On Tuesday, the village board's Finance and Economic Development Committee looked at the bids from contractors vying to turn the current Metra stop into a top-of-the-line station with a grand hall, full-service kitchen, warming shelters, restrooms, Internet cafe and more.
The project will create what Trustee Mike Bettenhausen called "a level of service and design similar to Oak Park Avenue (station)."
While the village estimated the work would cost nearly $9.3 million, the lowest qualified bid (meaning the lowest bid from a company that could feasibly do the work) came in at $8.1 million, leaving more money for a possible pedestrian underpass. ZCORP's bid for the underpass was under budget as well.
"We actually estimated that at $3 million and ZCORP's price came in for that at $2 million," Village Manager Scott Niehaus said.
This means the entire renovation – station and underpass – could cost $10.1 million. The full board must approve the contract by Oct. 26 (60 days after the Aug. 27 bid opening) to secure the bid price.
Metra will pay $5.4 million for the station construction portion. Of that, nearly $1.6 million will be to pay Metra workers for needed platform work. This covers more than $3.8 million of ZCORP's $8.1 million price for the station work.
Also, if the Metra work costs less than $1.6 million, the village gets the difference.
"Anything they don't spend goes to our pocket," Niehaus said.
Metra has a similar offer for the underpass, providing $850,000, of which $400,000 is set aside for Metra workers required underneath the platform. Again, the village gets what Metra doesn't spend.
This leaves one question: Can ZCORP pull off for a total of $10.1 million what other companies thought could cost up to $13.2 million?
Unlike some other companies, ZCORP hasn't completed a project of this scale before. They only have one completed project – a subdivision – that has topped the $4 million mark, according to an evaluation by consultant firm Project Management Advisors.
"They don't have this precise experience. They have a job similar in scale in Bolingbrook that's going well," PMA's Roger McCarron said, referring to ZCORP's $12 million Bolingbrook police station project set to complete Nov. 1.
This lack of a track record can be overcome by securing subcontractors with expertise in some of the areas ZCORP does not have experience, the evaluation said.
Another concern is the company's finances, which the PMA evaluation said should be enough to cover unforeseen circumstances, but not with a lot of wiggle room. An excellent bond rating and a large untapped line of credit were points in the company's favor.
"They don't have a lot of runway there," Trustee Greg Hannon said.
The work on the underpass will be done over weekends, with Metra removing tracks so work can proceed, then replacing them in time for Monday commuters, Public Works Director Dale Schepers said.