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Transportation center design moving forward

With the clock ticking on dedicated grant funds, the City is moving forward with plans to design the long-planned multi-modal transportation center inside the historic Hotel Del Sol.

The City has initiated a process to hire a design-build team, meaning the City will hire a single contractor to oversee design and construction-design assistance.

The design, however, does not necessarily mean the facility will be built. In fact, the project will not be constructed unless the City wins a federal grant such as BUILD (formerly known as “Tiger”), or obtains a private partner willing to fund the construction of the project. Under the design-build delivery model, the same design-build contractor would be responsible for construction, should it occur.

In such a case, the renovated, long-vacant hotel would house YCAT bus service and the Yuma County Intergovernmental Public Transit Authority, and would host Greyhound bus ticketing, an Amtrak terminal, and a Yuma Police Department substation. The exterior would include a pedestrian plaza, bus and rideshare areas, and designating crossings to the Amtrak depot and Armed Services Park.

Further building uses, such as for the second and third floors, will be determined through the project development process.

The City will use nearly $1.9 million received from two grants from the Federal Transit Authority to pay for the design. The City had held onto the grants as long as possible while trying to obtain funds needed for construction; however, the grant funds would expire on Sept. 30, 2020 if not committed to the project by that time.

The City had been staking the future of this project on the prospect of being awarded additional federal grant monies for construction. Despite having made it to the final rounds of previous grant-award processes, the City has been unable to secure these grants.

However, the request for qualifications process for selecting the design-build contractor allows for the possibility that the private sector may step forward to provide design and construction funding and take over operation and maintenance of some or all of the building.

“We’ve never gauged the private sector’s interest in this project before at this level,” said City Engineer Jeff Kramer.

If the number of parties who took the interest packet is any indication, though, that interest could be substantial. Nearly 100 entities downloaded the packet and attended the virtual pre-submittal meeting, though that does not necessarily mean that many will respond to the request for qualifications.