The Mobile City Council, per its rules, will delay for one week a vote on an $18,000 contract with Clark, Geer, Latham & Associates to assess a Brookley warehouse for future use as a host site for Mardi Gras balls.
Mayor Sandy Stimpson said the contract would help the city determine if the 90,000-square-foot 23 West warehouse at the Brookley aeroplex has the capacity to host Mardi Gras balls.
“So, what we’re trying to do now, as I said, is do this facilities assessment to see if this building will be suitable to be renovated,” he said, following a council pre-conference meeting Tuesday. “We don’t want to start spending design dollars to fix it up and realize that we don’t have enough electricity, we don’t have the sewage capacity. So, that’s why we’ve got this contract on the agenda today.”
Clark, Geer, Lathan & Associates, in doing the assessment, will work with the Mobile Airport Authority, Mobile Area Water and Sewer System and others to help make a determination as to the building’s suitability.
“They’ll just look at the structural integrity of the building, the condition of it and do all the homework on volume that could be supplied by the utilities,” Stimpson said.
Stimpson hopes the warehouse can serve as a location to help “fill the void” once work begins on redevelopment of the Civic Center property.
“The only place we have been able to find that is big enough to have Mardi Gras balls for these largest organizations is this facility, and we haven’t had anybody suggest another facility,” he said.
Once the company comes back with a determination, and if it’s positive to move forward, the city would develop a timeline for renovation of the warehouse.
“We’re trying to make sure that we can keep the Civic Center, as it exists today, open through Mardi Gras in 2021,” Stimpson said. “It’s premature to say we would start construction on 23 West. It’s just way premature.”
The two developers vying for work on the Civic Center redevelopment are Stirling and the Cordish Company, Stimpson confirmed. CBRE will meet with councilors for a “download” on the proposals coming from the two companies in the next few weeks. Stimpson said that meeting would not be public due to the possible economic development implications involved.
Following the meeting with councilors and a meeting with the committee appointed to advise the city on the project, Stimpson said the winning proposal would be announced to the public. That could happen as early as July.
In other business, councilors tabled a proposal to amend the city ordinance as it relates to wrecker service because police plan to open up an investigation into several towing companies based on price gouging complaints, Public Safety Director James Barber said during a pre-conference meeting.
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