By Betsy Dolan
Sugar Land’s estimated $84 million Performing Arts Center will use a team approach, called a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) agreement to ensure that the building process is finished on time and on budget.
On December 17, the Sugar Land City Council approved the plan which includes pre-construction services for $98,500 with Linbeck Group, LLC. The company’s past projects include the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts in San Antonio and the Winspear Opera House in Dallas.
The City of Sugar Land previously worked with Linbeck, along with Barton Malow, in the construction of Constellation Field.
The approximate 6,500-seat performing arts venue will be located on a portion of 38.5 acres of city-owned property in the Telfair commercial district, southeast of U.S. Highway 59 and University Boulevard.
The CMAR process will enable Sugar Land, the design team and Linbeck to work together to ensure design decisions can be efficiently implemented into the construction project within an established budget and project timeline.
“This is a complex project with a budget ceiling”, said Chris Steubing, City Engineer. “Interaction between the owner, designer, and the construction manager is almost mandatory in a project of this nature because of the size and scale”.
The CMAR team will work to ensure Sugar Land’s venue incorporates industry-wide best practices, durable construction, a layout that’s easy to operate and one that will maintain the acoustics and sight lines that accommodate a wide range of performances.
The process will result in a guaranteed maximum price for construction which has not yet been set. One of the advantages to using a CMAR plan, according to Steubing, is to get Linbeck involved in the design process earlier which saves money down the line.
“We can value our dollar and perform everything to the project budget as we go through the design process to make sure that the guaranteed maximum price gets everything the city intended it to have”, Steubing said.
Designs for the venue are expected to be finished this spring.
Councilman Steve Porter said that one of the dangers when a project starts to come together is the temptation to begin adding more amenities and he wanted to verify that any additional costs would be brought before the council.
“We will have a wish list”, said Steubing. “If we start to see savings, we will work with Linbeck to negotiate that change.”
Designs for the venue are expected to be finished this spring. Construction is projected to begin in the summer of 2014 take about 24 months.
Based on voters’ approval of the financing tools in 2008 and the City’s goal to create a financially feasible, operationally self-sustaining venue, the estimated $83.6 million performing arts center will be funded through a unique package of special funding sources. No general fund tax dollars will be spent on the project.
The City’s partner, ACE, will make a $10-million equity contribution to the project. A portion of sales tax revenues that may only be used for economic development purposes and a portion of hotel occupancy tax funds that are restricted to tourism initiatives will be dedicated to the project. Rent revenues generated by the facility will also fund the Performing Arts Center.