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Franklin to pay contractor for 13 percent of work, hire another

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Franklin will pay a contractor it fired from a downtown facade project, and the new construction company is expected to start this week.

Project architects reviewed all of the work that had been done on eight downtown businesses by Advanced Restoration Contractors and determined the company is owed about $68,000 by the city. That amount represents 13 percent of the $512,000 construction project. The city is waiting for the company to approve the amount, which would allow Franklin to then hire a new company to finish the work, Franklin Mayor Joe McGuinness said.

Terstep, the new company the city plans to hire, could start almost immediately and complete the work. Advanced Restoration Contractors finished none of the eight buildings but did complete some work, such as painting, that will not need to be redone.

The new contractor should be able to finish the project with the $444,000 left for construction, McGuinness said. Fishers-based Terstep originally put in a bid for the project that was about $130,000 more than Advanced Restoration Contractors but has since reduced its price to fit within what the city can spend, he said.

The new construction group can be in Franklin to start working within 24 hours of the city giving the OK. The company can’t start yet because the city can’t have two contracts for the same project at the same time, McGuinness said. If Terstep is able to start within the next week, work could be substantially completed by mid-May, McGuinness said.

“They’re going to mobilize as quickly as possible,” he said.

The state office overseeing the $250,000 grant that was given to the city hasn’t yet approved a time extension for those funds past March 31. But state officials are aware of what the city has been doing to change contractors, and McGuinness expects the extension would be approved once the new contract with Terstep is completed. The extension would give the city another six months to complete the project.

Project architects from DLZ reviewed all of the work that had been done by Advanced Restoration Contractors on each of the eight buildings and determined what percentage of that work was complete. The architects then put a dollar value to each one of those buildings, coming up with the total, McGuinness said. According to the state, DLZ has the final say on inspecting the project, so the city is obligated to pay the $68,000 amount, McGuinness said.

If the former contractor disputes the amount, the case could go to court. But from conversations the mayor has had with Advanced Restoration Construction’s attorney, he did not expect the company would fight the amount. Representatives from Advanced Restoration Contractors did not return phone calls Friday and Tuesday.

When the  project was bid in summer, Advanced Restoration Contractor and Terstep were the only two companies that offered to do the work. Advanced Restoration Contractors was hired because its price of $512,817 was significantly lower than Terstep, which bid $641,000.

Terstep has since reduced its price to fit within the remaining construction funds but can make changes to cut costs if necessary, McGuinness said. Changes to the plans would require approval by the architect and the business owner before being made.

“You can subtract things out. That needs approval to do that and property owner consent. But the hope and anticipation is they’ll be able to do all of it,” McGuinness said.

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