The controversial renovation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s headquarters, which rankled some Congressional Republicans thanks to its estimated $216 million price tag, is one step closer to reality.
According to a report from the Washington Business Journal, the design plans for the CFPB’s headquarters were recently approved by Washington, D.C.’s Commission of Fine Arts, clearing the way for the project to move forward.
The costs of the project came under much scrutiny last year, but the Federal Reserve Inspector General said earlier this year that the “construction costs are reasonable” and that controls for oversight are designed appropriately.
The CFPB’s $216 million renovation of a $150 million building that it is leasing has been a constant point of attack for conservatives in Congress for more than a year.
In July, Senate Banking Chair Richard Shelby, R-Ala., raised concerns about the CFPB’s spending and the overall cost of renovating the CFPB headquarters.
“According to the Federal Reserve Inspector General, the estimated cost of actual renovation increased from $40 million in February of 2012 to $145 million in December of 2013 — this is over three-and-a-half times the initial estimate. The Inspector General estimated that the total cost is now closer to $216 million,” Shelby said. “Furthermore, the administration has yet to explain who approved the renovation and what happened to the documentation involved.”
But the Federal Reserve Inspector General said that the cost estimates were fair.
The Washington Business Journal report provides more detail on how the costs add up.
From the Washington Business Journal:
Grunley Construction in December 2014 was awarded a $99.4 million base contract to lead the renovations, though the heavy lifting has yet to begin. Other contracts awarded so far include $4.4 million for construction management and $12 million for architectural and engineering, led by RTKL Associates. The CFPB will spend additional dollars on swing space while the project, scheduled for completion by June 2017, is underway.
The IG estimates the total "all-in" cost, including swing space, may reach as high as $206 million, though that is roughly $10 million less than its 2014 projection. Design changes have brought the costs down some — eliminating a proposed seventh floor, simplifying the plaza, moving the child care center playground from the rooftop to the ground floor.