Gahanna City Council members have learned the Creekside project is expected to cost the city another $500,000.

Gahanna City Council members have learned the Creekside project is expected to cost the city another $500,000.

Development director Sadicka White told council's finance committee Monday night that the department has been working diligently to come up with final payments for the project. She said the development department needs $532,774 for three change orders.

The first change order was for unsuitable soil conditions. She said the original contract allocated a certain amount of money for unsuitable soils, but it wasn't enough money to cover the unsuitable soil.

"We always indicated that we didn't have a good idea what the unsuitable soils (cost) were," White said.

The second change order was for the relocation of the pond pump room. Originally, the pump was in the rear (west side) of the development. Because of engineering required to circulate water and the size of the pumps, the pond pump room had to be moved.

A change order was required to reconfigure the location of the stage to accommodate strollers and wheelchair access to the bridge off the stage.

"We had to reconfigure that to make it ADA- (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant," White said.

White said $100,000 was left over from funds allocated to the project. She needs $380,476.24 for unsuitable soil conditions, $156,261.21 for moving the pond pump room and $96,036.99 for moving the stage. With the carryover, additional charges are $532,774.50.

White said the development department is asking council to consider a waiver of second reading and to pass the legislation by emergency during the July 7 council meeting.

The development department will offset some of the additional costs because Buck Mulligans is renting a portion of the pond pump room for restaurant refrigeration.

"When you are remodeling a house, it never comes out (even)," council member John McAlister said.

He asked for the total cost of the project, including parking garage and Creekside Plaza.

White said the city's total investment in the project is $16.65-million. She said the original price tag for the project in 2004 was $10.5-million. Several change orders since have been approved by council.

Council member Beryl Anderson asked how long it would take to recoup the cost of moving the pond pump room with the revenue from Buck Mulligans. White said revenue from the restaurant was a way to help pay for the increase and she would provide council members additional revenue information.

McAlister said no one expected the project to cost $10.5-million. He said it was projected to take the city 15 years to earn the $10.5-million back with tenant and garage revenue.

White said the city is receiving more income tax than expected because of inflation. Additional revenue also is expected from the tax-increment-financing plan and rising property values.

White said four factors contributed to the increase in project cost. She said Hurricane Katrina caused supply materials and contractors to head south. The cost of both steel and concrete increased and gas prices jumped.

"Who could have predicted that in 2004 or 2005, this much change in our economy?" she asked.

McAlister wanted to know if Creekside developer Stonehenge Company came in on budget. White said Stonehenge Company's initial investment was $25- to $26-million. She said company president Mo Dioun hasn't completed the condominiums and already has spent $40-million.

Council member Nancy McGregor said she was concerned about the project not being ADA-compliant.

"This is what we pay designers to do," McGregor said.

Council member Shane Ewald said the change orders represent a 3-percent in-project cost. He said material and labor costs have increased, as has gas.

Council member David Samuel asked how businesses were performing.

White said because the city decided to have local businesses instead of national or regional change, there is a learning curve. She said the city needs to be a spokesman for them.

"We have to do more to help them acquire business acumen," she said.

Anderson said she would be interested in seeing a spreadsheet describing the changes that were made to the project and the reasons behind the changes. When council members talk to constituents, he said, they can explain why the project was better than envisioned.

Council agreed to have a first legislative reading July 7.