Building of fire department's new home facing another delay

by: Tina Terry Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. —

A major construction project that will help Charlotte's fire department save thousands of dollars is facing another delay.

In July, Eyewitness News reported construction on the department's new headquarters would wrap up in December -- but now, the builder may not finish until June 2014.

The $17 million complex is supposed to breathe new life into Statesville Avenue. The facility -- located at Graham Street and Statesville Avenue -- will bring more than 100 employees to the area, and city leaders hope that spurs development.

The project will also give the Fire Department a much-needed home.

"The CFD hasn't had its own headquarters in quite a few years," said CFD Deputy Chief Rich Granger.

The project was supposed to wrap up last July, but that didn't happen. Then it was scheduled for December, but that didn't happen, either.

"Some of it's been weather, some of it's been manufacturing," said Granger.

He said some of the materials had to be specially made, and that contributed to the delays, but he noted that taxpayers won't pay for the delays.

"Delays don't cost us, they actually cost the contractor. If they don't meet the deadlines or contractual part of delivering the building, they actually pay a fee every day until it's done," said Granger.

That fee is $500 a day. That means if the project wraps up by June 1, the contractor will owe the city about $160,000.

"It's a $17 million project. That $17 million doesn't do anybody any good if it only lasts 10 years," said Granger.

He said once the project is complete, the contractor can negotiate with the city to have some of that fee removed. The money would eventually go back into the city's general fund.

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