The cost of converting the Route 58 armory into a justice court and police station would be $11.3 million, according to a recent estimate by an engineering firm hired by the town.
The cost of constructing a brand-new one? Nearly double — and that price doesn’t include the cost of land to build on.
Cashin Associates was hired by the town last fall, along with EGE Architects, for $87,500 to deliver an evaluation, analysis, schematic design and cost estimate for the conversion of the armory. In a letter sent this week to town Justice Allen Smith, who requested the estimate, Cashin vice president Aldo Marletti wrote that constructing the premises from scratch would cost $21,787,900.
Judge Smith has been warning town officials about cramped quarters at the justice court for years. He said the cost estimate for a new building was done only for comparison purposes. Cashin will not be paid extra for the additional estimate, which is covered by its existing agreement with the town.
To date, no one on the Town Board has proposed construction of a new building for the police and courts. But the $11.3 million armory renovation has been opposed by at least three board members who have since suggested other options, including expanding the existing police station or using the Second Street firehouse.
“We can’t afford $22 million or $11 million,” said Councilman John Dunleavy.
Councilman George Gabrielsen, who also opposes the armory plan, questioned the motivation behind requesting a new-construction estimate.
“This seems like another way to try and convince the board to vote for the armory,” Councilwoman Jodi Giglio said. She favors moving Town Hall to the Second Street firehouse and moving the court into the current Town Hall building. That would enable the police station to expand and occupy all of its current building, which is now shared with the justice court.
Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman Jim Wooten could not be reached for comment.
The $21.7 million estimate does not include the cost of land. Mr. Marletti of Cashin said the amount of land required would depend on whether the site were located within the town sewer district. If sewers are available, he explained, a five-acre site would be sufficient, but if not, 9.5 acres would be needed to comply with county health department regulations.
Mr. Marletti estimated that a new police station would require 25,800 square feet, at a cost of $480 per square foot, for a total of $12.38 million. Those figures are based on the cost of the Suffolk County Police Fourth Precinct headquarters, which Cashin worked on in 2008.
Cashin’s estimated cost for a new court facility, based on a 14,900-square-foot building at $375 per square foot, came in at $5.58 million. Those figures were derived from costs related to the 2003 addition to the Supreme Court building on Griffing Avenue, Mr. Marletti said.
Also included in Cashin’s overall estimate were a 15 percent contingency budget for the project, $563,000 in site development fees and $150,000 for a radio tower.
The Town Board is scheduled to hear a presentation on the armory renovation project at its May 1 work session, officials said.