Eastern Building & Restoration has walked off a job to renovate Saratoga Springs Police Department and public safety offices in City Hall exactly a month after being named the project’s general contractor.
The Albany construction company packed up its equipment and left the job one month to the day after the City Council unanimously accepted its $391,000 bid for the work in January. The project’s architect informed city officials of the company’s departure at noon Friday, leaving them scrambling to find a replacement so work can begin.
Asbestos abatement and other minor work had started several weeks earlier, but little more can be done until a new general contractor is brought aboard. City Attorney Sarah Burger said the company apparently went out of business, laying off its entire workforce and leaving numerous projects — including the one in Saratoga Springs — in varying states of completion.
“Their abandonment has brought our entire project to a standstill, unfortunately,” she said.
Burger said Hoosic Valley Contractors, the company that submitted the second-lowest bid of $428,000, has already agreed to take over the bonded project. But making the switch requires navigating a lot of red tape with the bonding company.
“They’re ready, willing and able to jump in whenever we can tell them its OK,” she said.
State officials are in a similar bind. The state Office of General Services had a number of contracts with Eastern Building & Restoration, including work on the roof at Building 17 on the Harriman State Office Campus, heating and plumbing work at Green Haven Correctional Facility in Dutchess County and work on the locker rooms at the Utica Armory.
“[On Monday], OGS was informed by Eastern Building & Restoration that they would not be able to continue working on a number of state projects at the present time,” spokeswoman Heather Groll said in an email.
Groll said the company was required to purchase a performance bond to ensure work is adequately completed. She said the state is now assessing the status of each project to determine what work will need to be completed under the performance bonds.
Michael Martin, the president of Eastern Building & Restoration, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The project in Saratoga Springs includes restructuring the public safety offices on the second floor of City Hall so the department’s investigations unit can relocate there from the basement of the police station. The Police Department’s administrators and public safety workers have already moved their offices into a rented three-story building on Maple Avenue, behind City Hall.
City officials bonded $628,604 for the project last year. The City Council boosted this amount by $145,000 when they approved the bid on Jan. 7.
Work on the new offices was expected to wrap up by late summer. Public Safety Commissioner Chris Matheisen said the temporary space on Maple Avenue is only leased for six months, but with an option to extend.
Still, Matheisen is anxious to get the project moving. He said the hope is the new contractor can be brought on board in short order so there is no protracted delay.
“It’s a bump in the road,” he said. “It’s a significant bump in the road, but a bump in the road.”