Board to consider $38 million early work package for Health Headquarter construction

November 1, 2016

Aerial image of Health Department Headquarters, November 2016

Multnomah County Commissioners on Nov. 10 will consider authorizing $38.1 million to begin construction on the new Gladys McCoy Health Department Headquarters.

At a briefing Nov. 3, the design and construction team presented an update on their plans to obtain design approval and permits and begin excavating and building foundations on the site on NW 6th Avenue between NW Irving and NW Hoyt.

The project team, with Shiels Obletz Johnsen as the Owner's Representative, has completed an early work package on a nine-story building just east of the Bud Clark Commons. The building is designed by ZGF Architects and JE Dunn is the general contractor.

The early work package is expected to be about 60 percent of the total construction costs, but is meant to save money in the long-run by mitigating the rising cost of construction and workforce shortages in Portland’s hot development market.

Street view of HDHQ from NW Hoyt and NW Sixth

“The plan would be to start foundation work in January... and complete move-in to occupy in early 2019,’’ said Steve Cruzen of Sheils Obletz Johnsen.

For decades, the county had sought to replace the Health Department at 426 SW Stark and consolidate scattered divisions.

[Street view of HDHQ from NW Hoyt and NW Sixth]

Plans call for a LEED Gold architecture building that is  “modest, yet flexible, emphasizing high performance and low maintenance,’’ said Brett Taute, project manager with Facilities and Property Management.

The team is awaiting a second design hearing Thursday, Nov. 3.  The Portland Design Commission raised concerns about an earlier design that had concrete fins around the entrance. Those have been replaced by columns and a grander entrance that has been moved from Hoyt onto Sixth Avenue.

Cruzen said the team has been working toward procuring about $38 million worth of construction items including an elevator package, and subcontractors for electrical plumbing and fire, as well as bid packages on the structural steel and concrete.

HDHQ view from Broadway Bridge, November 2016
HDHQ view from Broadway Bridge, November 2016

The estimated total cost is $92.7 million with $11.1 million in contingency. The project costs will in part be covered by $26.9 in tax increment funds, $9.5 million from the Portland Development Commission agreement, and an estimated $5 million from the sale of the McCoy.

Once the Design Commission and Board Resolution are complete, the next step would be a ground-breaking in December before three outgoing board members leave office.

“I want to thank you for diligence around design review and appreciate how hard you are working on that,’’ said Commissioner Diane McKeel. “  think that this process this board has asked for around capital projects is serving us well again. I am happy to be breaking ground before we leave.”