Council pauses AIDS Monument project to curtail runaway construction costs

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City Council rejected the lone bid for construction of STORIES: The AIDS Monument at their meeting Tuesday night, preventing what would have been a nearly four-fold cost increase for the project.

The bid by PCL Construction came in at a cost of $14.1 million, which is an approximate increase of $9.4 million from the $4.67 million 2020 projection, and a construction schedule duration of 20 to 22 months.

Rick Abramson, architect and manager of the city’s Urban Design and Architecture Studio, called the bid “rather surprising … in terms of the cost of the monument and the length of time it would take to construct it.”

“Staff did a debriefing with the lone bidder to better understand what was driving the cost and time frame. For a variety of factors, including market forces, issues related to detailing and scope of work, availability of materials, and time frame in terms of the supply chain and a number of other considerations, it didn’t seem prudent to move forward with that process,” Abramson said.

Councilmember Lauren Meister thanked Abramson and his team for their recommendation.

“What we don’t want is a money pit,” Meister said. “You know, we’re just it just keeps growing and growing and growing into something that we just never anticipated.”

The collaborative project between the Foundation for the AIDS Monument (FAM) and the City of West Hollywood aims to memorialize the devastation of HIV/AIDS on the nation, honor the courageous activists, caregivers, and community leaders through their stories, and raise awareness about the history and stigma of living with HIV/AIDS.

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The monument will be located prominently in West Hollywood Park along San Vicente Boulevard and will function as an iconic public art experience and memorial site. The Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission approved the Stage II Schematic Art Plan for the project in February 2020.

In November 2020, the City Council approved the Second Revised and Restated Memorandum of Understanding between the City of West Hollywood and the Foundation for the AIDS Monument, where FAM provided the city with design and engineering drawings and specifications to be used as “bridging documents” for bidding and contracting with a design-build team.

The bridging documents produced by FAM’s artist team were to be used to select a contracting team through “design-build” procurement method. Due to market conditions, level of document quality and scoping, and a limited number of local design-build entities with experience in public art, there was only one team that responded.

Irwin Rappaport with the Foundation explained his organization’s current role in the project.

“We have stopped raising money for the capital campaign, as per the agreement we entered into years ago to partner with the city on the finishing of the monument,” Rappaport said. “We have been raising limited amounts of money for our educational projects, community outreach, website, and social media as a foundation in the interim before the monument is built. However, we haven’t been raising money for construction because we have already reached the goal we set out for the campaign. It is difficult for us to continue to raise money for the monument under the current circumstances as people are wondering when it will be completed.”

Council voted to approve a contract with LPA, the firm to produce the construction drawings, to amend the agreement with the Foundation to allow greater flexibility in how the city delivers the project — “it may be through design-bid-build, or it might be through design-build,” Abramson said.

“Lastly, we would be going back to the Council’s subcommittee to continue working on the project and getting guidance before we come back with hopefully a much better story about building the monument,” he said.

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angry gay pope
9 months ago

What do french fries have to do with AIDS?

pat russell
pat russell
11 months ago

Money Pit. Why one bid? Whose boyfriend is he?

Jim Hoffman
Jim Hoffman
11 months ago

boon.dog.gle noun noun: boondoggle; plural noun: boondoggles work or activity that is wasteful or pointless but gives the appearance of having value. “writing off the cold fusion phenomenon as a boondoggle best buried in literature” a public project of questionable merit that typically involves political patronage and graft. “they each drew $600,000 in the final months of the great boondoggle” verb verb: boondoggle; 3rd person present: boondoggles; past tense: boondoggled; past participle: boondoggled; gerund or present participle: boondoggling waste money or time on unnecessary or questionable projects. “the only guarantees are higher taxes and bureaucratic boondoggling” Origin 1930s: of unknown… Read more »

:dpb
:dpb
11 months ago

Why would the city only get one bid? Damn ridiculous and irresponsible. A minimum of three is prudent, unless of course the City was trying to squash the monument or someone is receiving kickbacks. This whole thing stinks.

Please...
Please...
1 year ago

I lost count on how many MOUs have been created to accommodate FAM and their over the top, outrageously costly “monument.” One thing (of many) truly upsets me and that is the donor wall. Can anyone provide me with the name of a memorial to the dead that has a donor wall? Look at the AIDS “monuments” in NYC, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. I did not see any which had a plaque to glorify the donors. (If I am wrong, please correct me) This is about people who endured untold horrors, especially in the 80s. And I was there and… Read more »

Don Custo
Don Custo
1 year ago
Reply to  Please...

I agree fully! If you look at some of the players involved in the Aids Monument board you can see why the costs keep increasing and the plans are vague. While the intention for this project started out authentic I believe consulting from John Gile. who has a reputation of self serving motives, has led the board down a terrible path. When the focus is on self it can hardly be for the community.
D.C.

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
9 months ago
Reply to  Please...

The Key West Aids Memorial

Key-West-AIDS-Memorial-Friends.jpg
LateralThinker
LateralThinker
1 year ago

Question …If this city was your personal contractor, designer, architect, or project manager and just finished your pool / gym / garden, that wound up being over budget by Millions would you ever let them build another for you again ?

Where is the real oversite … the waste in this city is sad and from a staff making crazy income while many are not even residents …

Should they be allowed to start another project until the basic needs and infrastructure are 100% addressed and resolved ?

Blank Checks
Blank Checks
1 year ago
Reply to  LateralThinker

Excellent observation often made but thank you for the articulation.

This blank check theory may have been hatched by Paul Arevalo, former City Manager who was on the oversight committee for upgrade to the Rose Bowl. His solution was to bring in the NFL at which point local Pasadena residents hit the roof! Residents in Weho have been exponentially hitting the roof beginning with the Robo garage (possibly someone’s secret slush fund) and the library which continues with multiple flaws in the council chamber, but the staff is still writing blank checks.

angry gay pope
1 year ago

As a Disney animator who is also HIV+, I must continue to scream “THAT THING IS UGLY AND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH AIDS!” McDonald’s french fries do NOT cause AIDS! This is a monument to high cholesterol based heart attack victims! Wrong healthcare issue! The other sculpture which has been built, is an attractive, reflective piece. It makes me reflect on WHY IT COST $500,000 DOLLARS! How about giving 500 Weho seniors $1000 instead? Would that not reflect better on the city? AS FOR AN AIDS MONUMENT Take a “top 10” from the AIDS quilt, cast them out of… Read more »

Pic1-TheVirus-800x600.jpg
Last edited 1 year ago by angry gay pope
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

Dear Holiness,
It is $5 million, not half a million.
Sorry to make it worse.

angry gay pope
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Sister Mary Francis what a ripoff!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 year ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

Hail Mary!

Blank Check
Blank Check
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Is the Mafia really running West Hollywood?

Scott Sigman
Scott Sigman
1 year ago

Monuments are not suppose to have cost over runs But they do here? In Weho?

:dpb
:dpb
1 year ago

Of course. The park was years overdue and the AIDS Monument was supposed to be finished by December 2022. Now just renege. The fact that nothing is completed on time in this city and the overruns are excused time after time is an atrocity. Do not cancel the Aids Monument. Do not disrespect the men that founded this city. Do not pay for ridiculous progressive flag up keep on an intersection that was inclusive and fine the way it was and turn your back on those that gave all for this community. How dare you City Council.

JF1
JF1
1 year ago

Put up a nice plaque and increase the green space. Give the millions saved back to the community.

SeeMe
SeeMe
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

Wow…kick to the gut to any of us who survived this plague and watched countless others die. If you know your history and the history of this city, you’re just a heartless jerk. If you don’t, perhaps keep your hands off the keyboard until you do.

Randy
Randy
1 year ago
Reply to  SeeMe

That’s not gonna happen.

JF1
JF1
1 year ago
Reply to  Randy

You’re damn right.

JF1
JF1
1 year ago
Reply to  SeeMe

Wow, personal attacks over an opinion. You must be proud. You definitely have the moral high ground. You’re right, let’s spend millions on the dead as we have people picking through trash and sleeping in their own filth. You win. The rest of us lose.

angry gay pope
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

I am a public member of Anonymous. If neither of you can identify yourselves as even Anonymous why should I take your anonymous posts seriously?

SeeMe
SeeMe
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

Thank you for confirming what I was wondering.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

you are correct sir

Christopher Roth
Christopher Roth
9 months ago
Reply to  SeeMe

I hear you, I don’t know what is happening to our community. It’s not the subject matter, it’s just the heartless delivery. Bring back empathy, I’m happy that you have survived. I know your journey has been difficult.

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

agreed

JF1
JF1
1 year ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

Common sense is lacking in this creative city.

angry gay pope
1 year ago
Reply to  JF1

Creative people don’t want to have to be politicians! BOOORRRIING meetings!

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