Bids higher than pegged for work at El Corazon location

By Ray Huard on March 27, 2013 in the U~T San Diego

Bids came in nearly twice what was projected for site work that Oceanside
needs to do before 22 soccer fields can be created at its El Corazon park
property, but city officials said the setback shouldn’t delay completion of the fields.

The city is required under its deal with Sudberry Properties of San Diego to
level a portion of the 465-acre former sand mine — along Oceanside Boulevard,
near Rancho del Oro Road — where the company will build the soccer fields.

However, the city asked that the bids include additional work, such as grading
for a future road that loops through El Corazon but is not connected directly
to the soccer fields.

City officials had projected that all the work would cost no more than $1.4 million,
yet most of the 14 bids the city received for the project topped $3 million, city real
estate manager Doug Eddow said.

The one contractor whose bid was even close to the city’s estimate at $1.8 million
withdrew his bid, explaining that he had erred in estimating project costs, Eddow said.

The average of the remaining bids was $3.3 million, Eddow said.

As a result, the city will have to reduce the amount of work included in the land
grading so that it will be limited to only what’s needed for the soccer fields.

The road work will have to be done as a separate project later, Eddow said. He said
the city will call for new bids based on the revised grading project, with a goal of
keeping the cost to $1.4 million or less.

Barring any more delays, Eddow said, grading for the soccer fields should begin
in August and take a little more than eight months to finish.

Tentative plans call for Sudberry to finish construction of the fields in time to host
soccer tournaments at El Corazon in mid-2014.

“There was enough time built into the schedule to accommodate something like
this,” Eddow said. “We still anticipate that the first tournament would be in July 2014.”

In addition to grading the land for the soccer fields, the city is required under its
deal with Sudberry to provide irrigation water for the soccer fields, and that
$100,000 project is on schedule, Water Utilities Director Cari Dale said.

“We’re kind of in a holding pattern until the fall,” Dale said.

Wells were drilled earlier this year on the northern portion of El Corazon, but
the pipeline that will carry the water to the fields can’t be built until September
so the construction won’t interrupt the nesting season of the Least Bell’s vireo,
an endangered songbird, Dale said.

City officials see the soccer fields as a critical element to the overall development
of El Corazon.

Based on indirect revenue generated by soccer tournaments in San Diego,
they’ve estimated that tournaments at El Corazon could add more than
$22 million annually to the local economy.

Additionally, they’re betting that the enthusiasm generated by tournaments
could entice private investors to build hotels, retail shops and other amenities
at El Corazon.

Even with that private investment, a consultant has estimated that $172.4
million in public improvements will be needed, such as additional grading,
water and sewer lines, and construction of smaller parks on the site.