Patrick Robinson
Opening of the new South Transfer Station in South Park (seen here) has been delayed into Spring 2013 after a few missteps along the way delayed the process.

New South Transfer Station opening delayed

(Editor's note: Andy Ryan with SPU provided further background on the South Transfer Station delay in the comment section below the story.)

The 14,000 sq. foot South Transfer Station being built at 130 S. Kenyon St. in South Park was scheduled to be complete in June of 2012, marking a big upgrade from the old station nearby with better odor control and a more user-friendly experience.

Those benefits are still on the table, but the timeline for making them accessible to the public has been pushed back into 2013 due to some kinks along the way.

The West Seattle Herald reported on a head-scratching phenomenon back in Sept. of 2011 when the steel infrastructure for the station went up, and then suddenly came down.

Seattle Public Utilities spokesman Andy Ryan explained that the design team decided to bring the structure down for a new paint job with a more durable product that would lead to less maintenance costs over time. The repainting and rebuilding process cost $2.7 million, split between SPU and Mortenson Construction – the actual builder. Ryan said the durable paint would save taxpayers $1.7 million in maintenance costs over time.

The building continued to progress and looked ready to go when a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Mayor and City Coucilmembers was held in May of 2012, but months went by and the doors never opened.

Brandi Kruse with MyNorthwest.com picked up the story in January of 2013 to find out what the delay was about, and reported, “The second problem became apparent only after SPU held a ribbon-cutting ceremony … It was discovered that an area of the building designed for trucks to come in and out was not built with sufficient clearance. Once a sprinkler system was installed, it became apparent that the ceiling was too low.”

Officials told Kruse the sprinkler system was not taken into account in drafting the building, so the problem didn’t come to light until everything was in place. Kruse reported the cost to correct the mistake is $300,000, and the city pays for one-third.

While the project cost was originally advertised at $50 million (and reported as such by the Herald), the actual cost was later revealed at $75 million. Ryan with SPU explained it was a simple mix-up wherein $50 million paid for the contractor’s work, but an additional $25 million was needed for other expenses. Ryan also said $50 million was listed on the SPU project website, but the actual cost of $75 million was used in talking with reporters and presenting the plan to Seattle's City Council.

The most recent timeline is for the station to open sometime in the first quarter of 2013, and Ryan told Kruse it will come in just over budget around $75,512,000.

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