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February 24, 2010 > Amended ROMA Design Group contract

Amended ROMA Design Group contract

By Shavon Walker

Union City Council approved an amendment to the contract with ROMA Design Group on February 9. Originally, ROMA Design was contracted to create construction drawings for the Pedestrian Promenade, the Promenade Plaza, the Retail Pavilion and Business Condos. Redevelopment Agency (RDA) Board appropriated RDA funds to build the Retail Pavilion and Business Condos within the current budget. The 2008 Transit Oriented Development (TOD) grant from the Department of Housing and Community Development included funding to build the Pedestrian Promenade, the Promenade Plaza and Cheeves Way, Berger Way, Galliano Way and the Line M Greenway.

The California Legislature removed $9.3M from the RDA fund the Supplemental Educational Revenue Augmentation Fund (SERAF). Consequently, the RDA no longer has the funds to build the Retail Pavilion and Business Condos. The California Redevelopment Association, with Union City as plaintiff, brought the issue to court on February 5. Whether the court upholds or overturns the state takeaway, the money needed for pavilion and condo construction will be jeopardized, since overturning the takeaway will result in an automatic appeal on behalf of the California Department of Finance. The Pedestrian Promenade and Promenade Plaza cannot be built before the Retail Pavilion and Business Condos; if they are, they could be damaged during the latter's construction.

The amendment allows transfer of the remaining $1,166,038 for the contract to prepare a design for the East Plaza instead. $3.9M from the TOD grant would also help fund East Plaza construction. TOD monies were originally intended for the Promenade and Promenade Plaza but the Department of Housing and Community Development has verbally agreed to allow the RDA to transfer it to the East Plaza project.

Drawings will include a decorative fountain, mounting of the bronze dancers which will be delivered by March 2010, and an interim open space area and future location of either a Fine Arts center or a City Library. The design scope of the drawings includes an extension of utilities for the pedestrian overpass, the fountain's mechanical and electrical system, stubbing utilities for the public building, the electrical and irrigation systems for the plaza and loop road and the civil design of the Loop Road.

RDA has also received a Department of Housing and Community Development 2009 Infill Infrastructure Grant to create a pedestrian entrance on the east side of the BART Station and a pedestrian crossing over the Union Pacific Oakland Subdivision railroad tracks (BART Phase 2). Completion of construction of BART Phase 2 and the East Plaza is expected to coincide with the opening of Mid-Peninsula Housing Coalition's development on Block 4 in the Station District in 2012.

Currently, staff is applying for an FTA Grant to pay for the construction of the Loop Road. Space is available to elevate the Oakland Subdivision railroad tracks without damaging East Plaza and Loop Road when funding is available. Also, Capital Corridor is applying for High Speed Rail funds through a Federal Rail Administration Grant to fund the acquisition of the Oakland Subdivision, to raise the tracks and, thus, enable Capital Corridor to provide service to Union City at the Intermodal Station.

The city will attempt to obtain supplementary construction funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission's Transportation for Livable Communities (TLC). Up to $6M in grants are awarded. The funding could be used to build the Pedestrian Promenade and Promenade Plaza. There is no impact to the city's General Fund since the monies to be used will come either from an existing appropriation or another source.

For more information, visit www.UnionCity.org

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