City Of El Paso Settles Contract Dispute With San Jacinto Plaza Contractor
San Jacinto Plaza took a long time to finish. The complete overhaul of the iconic downtown park took more than a year a half longer than it was supposed to, and cost $4.5 million.
The project was extremely controversial for its change orders on things like burying electrical elements underground instead of being visible in the park, the canopy that was manufactured in Germany that shades the Los Lagartos sculpture, but had to be sent back because it was not up to specifications and caused weeks of delay.
Because the project was riddled with change orders that held things up, the City decided to fine the contractor, Basic ID IQ $1,000 a day for delays they caused. When City Council told Basic ID IQ that they owed the City $551,000 for delays, the contractor said that they were owed over a million dollars for change orders and delays that the City asked for. That amount included a contract balance, or retainage, of $456,884, which was being held by the City until the completion of the San Jacinto project.
For a while, it looked like the two sides weren’t going to be able to hammer out their differences and they might be headed to court to figure out who owed what to whom, but yesterday, there was some great news for taxpayers.
Basic ID IQ accepted the retainage as the full and final settlement, and by doing so, avoided the need for a trial and both sides spending a ton of money on legal fees. Avoiding legal fees means the book is closed on the expenditures for the renovation of San Jacinto Plaza. The City and the contractor should be applauded for avoiding a drawn out legal battle. They probably wouldn’t have gotten more than they did and it would have just racked up a ton of fees for lawyers unnecessarily.