I read with amazement, concern and disbelief the article on Page 2 of the December 27th issue of The Spotlight, “Renovations need to start STAT.”
While no longer a resident of the town of Bethlehem, I still own commercial properties within the Town. It seems the Town Board members have voted in favor of spending upwards of $5 million dollars to re-purpose an old town-owned building at 114 Adams St.
I was amazed because the building can not be much larger than 10,000 sq. feet and spending $5 million to rehab it and add a second floor works out to $500.00 per square foot, way, way more than what any new building might cost.
I was concerned that this vote took place at the end of the year in a “Lame Duck” session of the Board and that those involved with the decisions at hand were not experienced in the building industry and had been perhaps misled.
I have personally taken many existing commercial structures and expanded and remodeled them, as well as done new construction throughout eastern NYS and never came close to spending over $100 per square foot.
This sounds exorbitant for the citizens of the Town to bankroll. I do believe the building is adaptable for the DBEMS folks, but why spend this enormous amount to create a second floor in this roughly 70 year old structure, just to house some water department employees as well?
My suggestion would be to rehab the existing space for the EMS people and have the water department people rent or locate elsewhere. (Ideally in a consolidated location for all the DPW departments under one roof).
It is with disbelief that the good citizens of the Town of Bethlehem would or could be hoodwinked into spending upwards of $500.00 per square foot, ($5 million divided by 10,000 sq.ft.), to reconstruct an old town garage building. In addition, the plan is to swipe $900,000 from the sewer department reserve funds when there are needed pump stations, sewer line replacements and extensions awaiting infrastructure spending. Unbelievable.