The former Arnolt Corp. building will be demolished. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
The former Arnolt Corp. building will be demolished. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Seven bids for the demolition of the former Arnolt Corp. building, 2525 E. Durbin St., Warsaw, varied from $178,800 to $370,000.

The Warsaw Board of Public Works and Safety opened the bids during Friday morning’s meeting. They were taken under advisement and the bid will be awarded at 10:30 a.m. June 3.

The city took ownership of the Arnolt property about three years ago after it had been in receivership for a number of years. Real America plans to develop the property into multi-family housing, with the Warsaw Board of Zoning Appeals approving a use variance for it in August 2020.

Before the bids were opened, Mayor Joe Thallemer said, “(We’ve been) anticipating this, anxiously awaiting this project.”

The bids received Friday for the demolition included: Green Demolition Contractors Inc., Chicago, $178,800; Saber Demolition Corp., Warners, N.Y., $370,000; Dore & Associates, Bay City, Mich., $292,300; Chuck Shane Excavating, Akron, Ind., $198,000; Kreager Group Inc., Fort Wayne, $247,690; Advanced Excavating & Demolition LLC, Macon, Ohio, $217,750; and Baumann Enterprises, Garfield Heights, Ohio, $368,000.

City engineer Aaron Ott said, “I think due to the nature of this bid, we need to review all for responsiveness and that probably can’t be done too hastily.”

He said some of the bidders the city was unfamiliar with so they will do their due diligence on reviewing the bids and bidders.

The Board of Works unanimously voted to take the bids under advisement and make the award at the June 3 meeting.

Ott then asked for permission to move forward with public bidding for the Center Lake Pavilion improvements.

He said the project started a couple years ago and there was a “funding opportunity” for the improvements so they were requesting to go ahead and request bids.

Thallemer said, “We talked to the Parks Board about this. This is a project that originally was going to put the park offices in the pavilion, and they were going to go upstairs and it was going to require elevators and it was a pretty expensive project.”

The city pivoted, he said, and it was decided to put the park offices into the new maintenance facility along East Fort Wayne Street.

“It lessened the amount to do the rehabilitation on the pavilion. The idea is to open the pavilion up, move the kitchen, open the pavilion up to the lake, expand a little bit the meeting space and just go through and remodel the entire pavilion,” Thallemer said.

The project was a little bit down on the priority list because the important part of it was the park offices, he said.

“Since those have been taken care of and now we’ve received a significant donation to do a large portion of this, we want to move ahead and do the bidding now because we feel, as history has told us these last six to 12 months, the longer you wait the more it’s going to be and the more it’s going to take to get it done,” Thallemer said.

At the April Parks Board meeting, Thallemer announced a donor has pledged $2.5 million toward the pavilion improvement project. The donor has not yet been named as a memorandum of understanding is in the works and will go to the Parks Board first to be approved, which is when the donor is expected to be named.

The architectural and engineering drawings are done, he said Friday.

The current estimate for the project is $3.1 million, up from the original estimate of $1.8 million about a year ago due to the rising cost of materials and labor.

“So we want to try and get these bids out to try to keep it as close to that price as possible and hopefully get started this summer,” Thallemer said.

Ott said hopefully the project will put some local contractors to work because it will include HVAC, plumbing, roofing, exterior work, etc.

Thallemer said a good thing about it is that there’s no steel involved so they won’t have to wait eight to 12 weeks out for steel.

Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer said, “This is something that I feel is a community building that offers so much to our community. It’s helped us through the pandemic. Many people have their weddings, receptions, all kinds of things, all kind of events go through that building, and I feel the need to preserve that building and this is a great opportunity to do that. What an opportunity when you get a $2.5 million donation to take a lot of the funds away the city has to pay, so a great opportunity.”

With the improvements, the pavilion will be able to have two rental spaces simultaneously, Plummer said, or a person can rent out the entire pavilion with a view of the lake.

“It’s a very, very exciting project,” he said.

The pavilion was built in 1935. It was remodeled after a fire in 1991.

Board of Works member George Clemens made a motion to allow the solicitation of bids for the pavilion project, with Councilman and Board member Jeff Grose seconded it. It was approved 3-0.