Originally created 07/13/06

3 firms make proposals to build county complex



AIKEN - And then there were three.

The Aiken County Council heard proposals for the construction of a new county complex from a trio of developers Tuesday and Wednesday.

H.G. Reynolds Co., of Aiken, and M.B. Kahn Construction, a Columbia firm, presented their proposals to the council Wednesday. FineDeering, which has offices in Aiken and Houston, made its presentation Tuesday.

A fourth company, Foster, Saad & Co., also in Columbia, withdrew from consideration. Council members Chuck Smith and LaWana McKenzie said they did not think the firm gave a reason.

Robert Temple, the vice president of Kahn Development Co., said the top priority was choosing the best location for the building.

He said his company has about 50 acres on University Parkway near South Carolina Highway 19 under contract. This property would cost them about $40,000 an acre, he said, and the county could enter into a lease-purchase agreement with the Kahn companies.

However, he added, "We're open to any possible land location."

The Kahn representatives also said their team would oversee the design and planning phase in addition to the construction phase of the project.

Richard Fine, a co-chairman of FineDeering Development Group, said his company would donate about 50 acres of land on the corner of Trolley Line Road and South Carolina Highway 118 to the county for the project. He said the property is valued at about $5 million.

"The key for all this is the programming to get the building to work for the government and the taxpayers," said Mr. Fine, who listened to Kahn's presentation.

He said his firm would leave the contractor selection process up to the county.

"We wanted to give them the choice of a general contractor and when they could bring them in," Mr. Fine said.

McDonald Law, of Hughes Beattie O'Neal Law Architects and part of the H.G. Reynolds team, said designing a building that offered efficient work space for county employees and a user-friendly format for customers was a key component of the project.

"We are the local guys. I think we have the expertise to do what you need," Leland Reynolds said.

The county owns its building on Richland Avenue. However, County Administrator Clay Killian said the county would like all of its services under one roof.

He said $12 million from the second round of 1-cent sales tax money, which the county will begin receiving this fall, has been earmarked for construction. However, Mr. Killian said, the final price tag for the complex could double that amount.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

WHAT'S NEXT:

The Aiken County Council could select a firm to oversee development of its new municipal complex at its meeting Tuesday.