The Gastineau Apartments at Franklin and Front Streets has been left vacant since a fire on November 5, 2012.

The Gastineau Apartments at Franklin and Front Streets has been left vacant since a fire on November 5, 2012.

Gastineau Apartment demolition pushed back

The Gastineau Apartments will be hanging around a few months longer than previously planned.

Public Works Director Rorie Watt announced to the City And Borough of Juneau Assembly on Monday that the timeline for the demolition would need to be extended if the city hopes to attract contractors capable of taking on such a big project.

“In the construction world, time, risk and profit are all kind of intertwined,” Watt said during a Tuesday interview. “Basically, what contractors saw was not enough time and too much risk.”

In an effort to remedy this, the city is extending the demolition deadline from the end of the year to the end of April 2016, and pushing back the bid process. The bid opening date is set for Oct. 8, and the contract should be awarded Oct. 20

“I think we scared a lot of contractors away with the time,” Watt said. “We put it out there to see if it was possible; turns out it was a little aggressive. So now we’re just responding in a responsible fashion.”

Watt said he thinks extending the time frame of the project will help to ease contractors’ worries about the conflicts inherent in such a job.

“Time versus safety, construction noises versus holiday shopping; the extra time will smooth over these things,” Watt said. That and it will yield better prices and more competition.

Many of the companies that have expressed interest in this demolition project deal primarily in excavation and or road building, according to the project’s planholders list. According to Watt, a project of this size will likely require heavy equipment and experience in demolishing large structures.

The estimated construction cost is $1.2 million, but Watt said the price tag will likely be higher by the time the work is complete.

The city doesn’t plan to seize the property through eminent domain after demolishing the building, Watt said. Instead, it will place a lean on property for the cost of the demolition.

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