Sunday, January 16, 2011

STICKER SHOCK: $600,000 homeless youth shelter price tag raises eyebrows

COLUMBIA, 1/17/11  (Beat Byte) --  A controversial and much-delayed transitional shelter for homeless youth comes with a whopping price tag, according to documents filed with the Columbia City Council.   
The five unit facility, planned for construction by Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA) at 1004 N. 7th Street, across from Hickman High School in Columbia's North Central Village, comes with a "total development cost" price tag of $604,070.   
An itemized cost list that accompanies the non-profit organization's request for extension of a City Hall funding request includes $18,100 in demolition costs; $40,000 for lot acquisition; and $394,586 for construction costs
At a 2007 meeting of the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association, local builder Amir Ziv complained about a then-estimated cost of $280,000.  "To build six-units -- that's just ridiculous!" Ziv said. 
At the time, CMCA director Darin Preis (above) had planned a six unit facility.  He changed that plan after several neighbors complained prior to a rezoning request, reducing the proposed size to 5 units. 
"We had anticipated that we would be well into construction by now, Preis writes in a December 15, 2010 letter to City of Columbia planning director Tim Teddy.  "However, the funding package has taken longer than anticipated."
At $600,000, is it any wonder?  


  1. Holly guacamole man does that include Red Carpeting or is it Plush Velvet?

    Why so expensive? You trying to say nothing can be found to be renovated cheaper?

  2. Just wanted to check in on this one. There are a variety of reasons this development costs so much. Many of them are familiar to anybody trying to build in Columbia and others are unique to federal funding sources that are underwriting some of the costs. First, I think we did pay too much for the property but the location was ideal and we can all be pleased that we removed a dilapidated, vacant house from the neighborhood and that this is infill instead of sprawl. Add to that ADA compliance, security, sustainable materials, multiple environmental reviews, storm drainage, soil disturbance accommodations, and a self-imposed priority to use the proposed NCCNA design overlay and it adds up to an expensive build. It is unfortunate that it costs a lot to do important work but ironically, it is our funders that impose the types of restrictions described above (and often for good reason). Costs are based on engineering drawings and not unreasonable. In fact, we will request bids from multiple contractors to keep costs down and build as efficiently as possible. As with any project with multiple funding sources and myriad fiscal and development requirements, the timeline is maddeningly slow. HUD approved a portion of funding for this project back in June but has yet to give us the final green light. Regardless, this is an important project for our community and I hope readers of the Heart Beat will continue to be supportive as we sort through the red tape.

    -Darin Preis

  3. Rambling defenses aside, 600 g's to build a 5 unit housing complex is ridiculous. Anyone who can't manage to build something like this for a fraction of the cost, regardless all the regulations this guy sites, shouldn't be in building it.

    Typical government waste. Typical brainless bureaucrat.