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CDA approves bids for arena demolition, asbestos removal

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Bids to demolish and remove asbestos from the Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena, Shopko Hall and the former Packers Hall of Fame building to make way for the construction of a new expo center were approved Tuesday, March 19, by the village’s Community Development Authority.

Village Manager Allison Swanson said the company that previously did an assessment of asbestos on the site, North Star Environmental Testing of Appleton, put together the bid specification for the environmental remediation.

Swanson noted the two bids received were $124,210 from Balestrieri Environmental and $849,678 from Asbestos Removal.

Representatives from Miron Construction, the project manager for the expo center, were on hand to discuss the bids with the CDA.

Kurt Wolfgram, project executive at Miron, said the bids varied by more than $700,000 because “Balestrieri’s number took the bid document verbatim.”

“They are removing only what is required by the (Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources) to remove and what is required in the abatement report,” Wolfgram said. “The second bid from Asbestos Removal, Inc., they took the liberty of saying, ‘Hey, there’s some lead in there, we don’t know if you guys want to remove it all, we’re going to include all these extra costs…’”

When the extra items were removed from Asbestos Removal’s bid, Wolfgram said the two bids were within $15,000 of each other.

He noted the work was budgeted at $140,000 as specified, and Miron found both companies that submitted bids to the reputable.

The CDA approved Balestrieri’s bid of $124,210 on a unanimous voice vote.

Demolition work

The company that handled the demolition of the Bradley Center in Milwaukee has also been awarded the demolition contract to clear the way for a new Brown County expo center.

Veit’s low bid of $663,190 was unanimously approved by the CDA out of five bids submitted.

The other four bids were all higher than $1 million with the highest exceeding $2.4 million.

Wolfgram said Brandenburg, a company out of Chicago that does demolition work, took a “high-level look” at the demolition planned to make room for the expo center and gave Miron a budget number of $2.6 million.

“That’s where our budget was derived from, so it wasn’t a number that Miron just kind of threw a dart at the wall,” Wolfgram said. “We actually reached out to someone that looked at it.”

Though the low bid is about one-fourth the amount budgeted, Wolfgram said Veit is a reputable company in the Milwaukee area.

“They’re not someone that we would feel would walk away or have an irrational number,” he said. “They’re probably one of the top three in the nation for demolition. They’re that big.”

Wolfgram said Veit claims its demolition methods “are cleaner than the competition.”

“They intend to take this down piece by piece, not imploding it, which some of the other contractors I know have talked about doing,” he said. “They looked at recycling benefits, all of that, to get their number as low as possible. They also said locally they can provide equipment… That gave them a competitive advantage there. Add them all up, they’re very confident in their number.”

When asked about the timeframe for Veit to do the demolition work, Wolfgram said the company indicated it could do that in less than four months.

“As soon as the abatement contractors wrap up in areas, they’ll be right behind,” he said.

The final concert at the arena is set for April 6 when Bret Michaels has a performance scheduled, after which demolition could begin.

When asked after the meeting about a demolition schedule, Wolfgram said inside preparations could begin the middle of April with items being removed, prior to any external demolition possibly beginning in early May.

He noted construction on the new expo center could begin while demolition is taking place, such as with concrete footings possibly being put in place in early June.

A memorandum of understanding between the village and the county to build the expo center is similar to what was put together for the construction of the Resch Center.

The village’s CDA issued revenue bonds with the county taking on that debt while leasing the space prior to the county owning the facility once the debt is paid in full.

The expo center has a total budget of $93 million with funds to pay for the project including $4.5 million from the stadium tax refund, the village working with the county to raise a total of $8 million in naming rights with another $15 million coming from the new half-percent county sales tax and the bulk of the funds coming from room tax dollars.

The project, which is being designed with more than 120,000 square feet of usable space and would connect to the Resch Center, has a targeted completion date of January 2021.

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