Politics & Government

State signs contract with Sellen-ZGF team for design of new State Patrol headquarters

Washington officials have signed a $65.5 million contract with Seattle-based Sellen Construction and project partner ZGF Architects to complete design and ultimately build a new State Patrol office building on the state Capitol Campus.

Curt Hart, spokesman for the state Department of Enterprise Services, said the three-part contract that includes design, demolition and construction was signed Friday. DES is overseeing development of the high efficiency building project which is scheduled to be completed in 2017 if money is secured from the Legislature to build it.

The Legislature authorized $13 million in 2013 for design and other preparatory work, but a partisan hang-up between the Senate and House has forestalled the approval of construction funds for the $82 million project.

“The final approval beyond the $13 million is contingent upon final approval by the Legislature,” Hart said.

Officials also issued a formal determination this week that the project covering a square city block at the corner of 11th Avenue and Capitol Way is not environmentally significant.

There is an escape hatch built into the Sellen-ZGF agreement that lets the state cancel the demolition and construction pieces if lawmakers fail to come up with remaining $69 million needed to complete the building.

Sen. Jim Honeyford, the Sunnyside Republican who writes the Senate’s capital budget, is opposed to the high-efficiency “green” building project, which he recently called a costly “demonstration project.’’ Honeyford has favored restarting the process with a smaller project located off campus that could be state owned or leased from a developer.

House Capital Budget chairman Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, and Gov. Jay Inslee want to push ahead with the green project, which is to be built to the highest energy efficiency standards and may be equipped with solar panels. Besides the State Patrol, the airy 215,000-square-foot structure with a large atrium would house a handful of small legislative agencies and portions of the Office of Financial Management.

The first contract phase is predesign, which is a detailed rendering of how to build the project; the second phase is for demolition of an existing office and two parking structures. The third phase is to build the five-story building.

If it moves to completion, the project provides an easy way for the state to empty out the aging, nearby General Administration Building, then demolish it. GA is considered costly to maintain and vulnerable to earthquakes.

Besides Sellen and ZGF, two other design teams made the final cut for the State Patrol project, which is known legally as the 1063 Replacement Block Project. One is a partnership of Hoffman Construction of Portland, Belay Architecture of Tacoma and GBD Architects of Portland; the other is a partnership of the Kirkland office of Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction and the Seattle branch of SRG Partnership Inc.

Each runner up team is paid an honorarium of $200,000 that is meant to defray some costs of participating in the design-build bid process. Under that process, the winning team designs and builds the project and in this case the project must meet performance standards for energy usage and costs to operate.

“It was a very competitive process because all of the teams submitted highly creative, responsive bids,” project manager Rick Browning said in an agency news release. “We appreciate the hard work that all the teams did to give the state the most value for taxpayer dollars.”