Monday, April 24, 2006

Sten Interview Teaser: New Station One a Go

I conducted a wide-ranging interview with Commissioner Sten last week, and I'll be writing that up completely in the next couple of days. But since I surprised the Fire Marshal with the news when I talked to him today, I realized Sten was handing me a scoop on Friday--so I think I'll let this particular cat out of the bag now: while contracts apparently have not yet been signed, a deal has been reached that will enable the Fire Bureau to build a new headquarters and Station One. From the interview:
(Torrid asks: Is Station One dead?) No. As we sit here today it's a go. (PDC coughed up the shortfall?) Yeah. Every time Bruce Warner is in the building with me, I say "until we have a guaranteed contract, ie the tram..." I want a guaranteed contract. This one we should be able to get a guaranteed contract. The Fire Bureau's worked hard on it, particularly [Fire Marshal] Chief Klum and [Senior Business Mgr] Jack Graham. Jack's a good negotiator. We haven't moved a penny off our position that we've got with the bond going into Station One.
PDC wanted this all along, so it doesn't surprise me that they eventually agreed to cover the design cost shortfall. Stay tuned for more from the interview, but I'll leave you hanging with Sten's closing comment on the rebuild: "I continue to have my doubts about whether PDC's right on the catalytic nature of our original site, but I've aired those out and it's their call. "

Update 4/25, 345pm--
A little clarification. When told about the conversation I had with Sten, Mr. Graham felt that perhaps Sten had been working from somewhat outdated information. He indicated to me that Bruce Warner was indeed on board, but that the Commission board greeted this news with quite a few tough questions, and that in his (Graham's) mind, not all was necessarily settled.
It's true that Warner must get approval from the Commission, and Sten did note that his view of things came from Warner--and that nothing's final anymore at Council until an agreement ends up on paper(!). Having checked back in with Sten, he stands by the account and gave me the impression that the questions asked of Warner were more in the vein of protecting PDC's bottom line against tram-like upheavals and overages, rather than on the key question of whether to move forward. So when he says "it's a go," take that to mean that Sten is confident that details will not undermine any agreement on the concept.