More funding approved for National City Waterfront Adventure Center

SAN DIEGO — National City’s planned Waterfront Adventure Center will receive an infusion of money from the Port of San Diego to compensate for unexpected delays. The Board of Port Commissioners approved an additional $223,110 on Oct. 6 to cover costs associated with construction delays but not without questioning whether more funding requests could be in store.

The Waterfront Adventure Center, which was previously known as the Aquatic Center, is currently under construction by Pier 32 Marina. City officials and port staff stated the center is almost complete. A city-run website dedicated to the project stated the Adventure Center would include boat storage, locker rooms, restrooms and showers.

National City solicited budget increases for construction delays in late 2014. At least one commissioner said at the Oct. 6 meeting he recalled National City officials assuring the port no more funding requests would be made to cover construction delays. Other commissioners expressed concern the city’s return to port headquarters this month for more funding could set a bad precedent for more requests to be filed in the future.

One National City representative said there were certain delays the mayor and other staff members could not predict.

“The project is essentially one year behind schedule,” Steve Manganiello, National City’s public works director, told commissioners. “This is a very architecturally significant building. Being a year behind schedule these costs to tend to add up to keep the project managed and moving.”

Manganiello told commissioners the city originally anticipated a three or four month delay when National City officials approached the port’s board in September 2014 for a funding increase. Soft costs and delays continued beyond the original forecast, bringing Manganiello and National City staff back to the Board of Port Commissioners with another funding request.

“We’re so far along the project. We’re looking to be completed in the next six to eight weeks,” Manganiello said, adding one delay lasted seven months. “There is very little left to be done. You have our commitment this is the last request we will have of you.”

Port staff stated the Adventure Center, which has been under construction since October 2013, is about 90 percent complete. Construction is expected to be completed in November. About $4.5 million has already been committed to the project, though the final budget could be slightly higher.

The request for an additional $223,110 to cover delays and soft costs about one year after National City requested $500,000 from the port for similar reasons.

“We can’t just keep funding extensions and overages,” Marshall Merrifield, the commission’s vice chair, said.

Port Commission Chair Dan Malcolm said he supported the funding request despite a concern the city might come back to commissioners for more money.

“It’s a little disturbing to me,” Malcolm said. “We did approve an increase a year ago and now we’re back here again. We are the retention payment. We are the last payment when everything else has been paid and the project is done.”

Terms of the agreement between National City and the Port of San Diego direct the municipality to pay vendor invoices first then seek reimbursement from the port district. The amendment and funding extension approved by port commissioners would hold reimbursements until all contractor liens are paid and National City issues a Certificate of Occupancy.

The city is still looking to find a vendor to operate the Aquatic Center.

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