Back to the negotiating table for a new Watertown City Hall?

August 15, 2022
Mike Tanner

WATERTOWN, S.D.–When the Watertown City Council approved the purchase of the former Wells Fargo Bank building at 20 North Maple for $1.3 million in November 2020, it was sold to the public as a great value for a building that in relatively quick fashion would become a new City Hall.

Almost two years later, the bank building remains empty, no renovation work has been done, and the projected cost to renovate the property keeps going up.

To add to those problems, the city has received only ONE bid from a contractor interested in doing the renovation work, but that bid has come in millions of dollars over a consultant’s estimate.

City documents show Gray Construction submitted a bid for more than $5.8 million, which is more than $2.3 million above the estimates.

So tonight, the city council will be asked to reject Gray’s bid, so city staff can attempt to negotiate a lower price with them.

The bank building, as it exists now, is not even equipped to host city council meetings, which means an addition would have to be built on. The estimated cost of that addition alone is $1,650,000, or more than $400,000 above estimates.