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Community Center Update – January 27, 2017

Post Date:01/27/2017 11:35 AM

Dear Millbrae Neighbors,

With remediation work at Central Park complete and the installation of a temporary fence around the fire site, we are now underway in getting the Community Center building demolished and cleaned in preparation for its development.

Site Remediation and Demolition

Last month, Kellco Services was hired to do comprehensive hazardous materials testing inside the Community Center building in preparation for demolition. That work is well underway and a set of demolition and abatement specifications are expected to be given to the City by the end of the month. We are working closely with Kellco to ensure the site is clean and appropriately prepared to ensure dust and debris from the demolition work at the site does not impact surrounding neighbors.

In the coming weeks, the City will issue a call for bids for demolition work. Following that, City staff will review bids and recommend award of a demolition contract by the City Council in March. This process may seem lengthy, but we are required by law to give appropriate public notice of the contract, and thoroughly review bids to ensure they will comply with health and safety regulations, and perform the work to our specifications. We have set a firm goal to have the entire Community Center building demolished and prepared for construction by late April.

Prior to demolition, the City’s Public Works Department will be inspecting the site to create a list of resources and materials that may be salvageable. This includes the gazebo and HVAC equipment that was not damaged by the fire. While the insurance coverage the City has on the Community Center was the best available, and will cover the costs to rebuild the Center in “as was” condition, we want to save whatever materials and resources possible.

Insurance Settlement

This has been one of the most tedious parts of this process, but we are close to reaching a fair settlement with the insurance adjusters. As noted, the City had the best fire insurance available on the Community Center. Because insurance providers do not offer municipal governments fire insurance for future costs and values, the best possible insurance was coverage that paid to rebuild the Community Center in “as was” condition, as well as paying for incurred administrative costs.

Through our discussions with the claims adjusters and legal counsel, we hope to have an agreed upon settlement next month. The main crux in this negotiation has been what each party, the City and the insurance providers, think a fair settlement in “as was” condition amounts to. To help inform the discussions, the City retained peer reviewer engineering and construction estimation consultants. While we could have settled at a much lower payout earlier in the process, we need to ensure the City gets a fair settlement.

Rebuild Planning

On January 6th, a request for qualifications (RFQ) was issued by the City for architectural design and planning services. The purpose of this RFQ is to elicit proposals from several firms and select a service provider who can best conduct a creative public input process, create rebuild plan and cost options, and eventually design the new Center. While the RFQ was sent to three targeted firms that have performed similar work in neighboring cities, it was also made available to local firms through the City’s website, the A/E Consultants Information Network, and the American Institute of Architects’ San Francisco Chapter. The full RFQ can be found by clicking here.

This RFQ was not created to select an official design of the new Community Center. This first step is to select a firm that can develop a rebuild master plan and cost estimates based on our wants and needs. We will continue to work with the entire Millbrae community to decide what amenities, concepts and design elements will be included in the final Community Center blueprint. After that, the firm will provide design proposals, which we will be able to modify or request alternatives to. We expect to select an architectural and planning service provider by the end of March.

Public Engagement and Communications

The Parks and Recreation Commission and City Council will be hosting several meetings at various times and dates to get as much public input as possible for the development of the future Community Center.  The Parks and Recreation Commission will be holding its next meeting on February 21st to get public input. City staff will post future meeting updates, dates and times on the City’s website (, Facebook page, and through MCTV. 

In the meantime, the Millbrae Community Foundation continues to collect donations to help support recovery and rebuild efforts. To make a donation, please visit:    

Continuing Park & Recreation Services - Interim Space

We are currently in the process of procuring modular buildings and setting up a rental agreement with local landowners to develop a site to house recreation staff, set-up a public reception and business counter, and provide flexible rooms for meetings and events. This is in addition to the temporary facilities and spaces that have already been provided throughout the City since the fire. While the procurement process for the modular buildings is relatively straight forward, we are still in exploratory discussions with local landowners to settle upon agreeable use terms and conditions.

Our goal is to ensure the new Parks and Recreation space meets all our needs and is easily accessible to the community. As we expect this site to be in operation for more than two years, finding the right site and settling upon space and parking requirements is a challenge. We are confident the right site and terms of use will be found, and have not changed our move-in goal of mid-April.

We understand the sentiment of many community members who are concerned about the amount of time this entire process has taken. We want you to know that everyone in City Hall is truly doing their due diligence to ensure this is done right. Doing it right means the fire site can be demolished without causing harm to nearby residents, the City gets a fair insurance settlement, and that we create a space that will be used and enjoyed by all.

As always, we appreciate your patience with this process, and dedication to this project.


The Community Center Sub-Committee

Reuben Holober, Mayor  

Gina Papan, Vice Mayor

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