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The city's development agency was dismayed Thursday to learn that the only bid for renovating buildings on Richmond Avenue is twice as high as the estimate it received late in 2004.

The Greater Lockport Development Corp. board of directors refused to award a $486,550 contract to R.S. Lindsay of Webster for the makeover of four century-old buildings on the north bank of the Erie Canal.

Instead, the board directed Community Development Director William J. Evert and Corporation Counsel John J. Ottaviano to negotiate with the Lindsay firm to see if the price can be lowered.

Evert said it's possible the specifications for the renovations could be altered to make the job less expensive.

Some members were unhappy that Lindsay was the lone bidder.

Board member David N. Greenfield said he wouldn't mind rebidding the job. "If we could get a couple of other bidders, a couple local people, that would be great," he said.

The development agency, headed by Mayor Michael W. Tucker, has spent almost $1.8 million on Richmond Avenue so far, almost all of it in federal and state grants.

The city acquired almost the entire block, cleared it except for the four buildings to be reused, did an environmental cleanup and built a parking lot.

The goal is to spruce up the outside of the buildings in a 19th century style while providing modern commercial space inside.

John Page of Bero Architects had estimated in December that the renovation would cost $237,000.

The agency Thursday discussed a contract with Rochester developer Ben Kendig, but did not vote on the draft, which Ottaviano said is virtually complete.

Kendig is to receive a 40-year lease to become the landlord and line up the tenants. He is to invest $239,000 of his own money in the project, along with receiving a $600,000 interest-free loan from the agency

R.S. Lindsay did receive a $4,195 contract Thursday to install an electrical vault beneath one of the traffic islands in the Richmond Avenue parking lot.

Also, the agency hired Delta Environmental of Syracuse, formerly InteGreyted Technologies, for $1,500 to begin environmental investigation at Zimmie's Tire, the only property on the Richmond block the city doesn't control.

Evert said that after the environmental work, the city will have to get an appraisal before it makes a purchase offer to Douglas Zimmerman, owner of the tire store.


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