Bidding error benefits city for Ace Tack demolition

In addition to the Ace Tack demolition issue, the Cambridge city council reviewed revised blueprints for the proposed Cambridge Public Library on Highway 95 at its Aug. 5 meeting. This elevation shows the east side of the building facing Dellwood Street.   


The long-awaited demolition of the former Ace Tack building located at the corner of Main Street and Highway 95 in Cambridge almost had to wait even longer. 

In the initial agenda packet for the Aug. 5 Cambridge city council meeting, there was a resolution to reject all bids for the demolition of the city-owned building, and to authorize rebidding the project, with an extended timeline of completing it sometime in 2020. 

According to city engineer Todd Blank, the city received five bids for the project, with the low bid from H&T Trucking for $222,210 – an amount that was $100,000 over the original engineer’s estimate.

To complicate matters further, Blank noted that H&T had contacted the city after the bids were opened and admitted to making a $100,000 mistake in their bid, meaning they had planned on putting in a bid of $322,210. 

Blank noted that after consulting with the city attorney, the city was prepared to allow for the erroneous bid to be withdrawn, which is common practice for an error of that magnitude.

After discussions between H&T and the city, however, Blank said that H&T decided they would honor their erroneous bid and complete the project at the lower amount. Because of that concession, the city is now able to go forward with the project as soon as their schedule allows and without any city money being used. 

MnDOT had previously agreed to pay $123,795 for the project, since the building was being torn down in anticipation of widening Highway 95 sometime in the future. The city had also set aside a portion of the grant money it was awarded from the state for the purchase and removal of buildings affected by the widening. 

The amount the city had set aside was just enough to make up the difference, but there wouldn’t have been enough for a much higher bid.

“Not a single dime of local money is going towards this,” confirmed council member Bob Shogren. “I just think it’s important that since this is a state project, the state coffers should pay for it.”

Council member Marlys Palmer asked how they would be demolishing the building since it is so close to the intersection and the building shares a wall with Anytime Fitness. 

“Very carefully,” was Blank’s response before he went into some of the specific details of the project.

H&T is not allowed to start on the exterior of the building until after the city holds their Customer Appreciation event on Sept. 13. They can begin work inside the building before then, however. Once they do begin on the outside, the sidewalk, alley and the right-hand lane of eastbound Highway 95 and the parking lane on southbound Main Street will be blocked off for about a week.

Final library design approved

Brian Baas, of BJ Baas Builders, was back in front of the council to present the final design for the new library, which will be housed in the former GracePointe Crossings Gables East building on Highway 95 in Cambridge. According to Baas, this design has only “small tweaks” from the design presented to the council back on June 10 (see article in the June 20 edition of the Star). 

Baas said there will still be two entrances to the building – the main entrance on the east and a less prominent one on the west side for those who park in the west lot. 

The lower level will feature an approximately 200-capacity meeting room, plus offices for the East Central Regional Library headquarters. 

Baas said preliminary work on the inside has already begun, and the project is scheduled to be completed next spring.

Lease agreement with ECRL approved

In conjunction with the final design of the new library, the council also approved a lease agreement to house the East Central Regional Library headquarters there.

Under the agreement, the headquarters will utilize 6,563 square feet of space, at an initial cost of $9 per square foot. That amount will slightly increase every two years until it reaches $11 per square foot in 2030. 

City administrator Lynda Woulfe said the lease amount for 2020 will be prorated to adjust for the months the building is still under construction. For the first full year in existence in 2021, the annual lease payment made to the city will be $59,067.

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