Another add-on for Hamilton Stage project

For the second time in as many months, the Redevelopment Agency approved an additional change to the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts nine months after its opening.

Commissioners passed a resolution by a 5-1 vote on Wednesday night, awarding a $6,700 contract to Academy Glass to create an office within the 14,000-square-foot facility for use by Redevelopment Director Peter Pelissier. A bid for the project was reviewed April 30, according to the resolution, and Rahway-based Academy Glass was the lowest responsible bid/quote.

Commissioner Paul Sefranka, the only dissenting vote, took issue with the fact that it’s the second addition to the $6-million Hamilton Stage, which is owned by the Redevelopment Agency. The agency last month awarded a $32,000 contract to build a wall around a chiller that was slightly exceeding noise limits. “Why was it not done and included before now? It’s problematic,” said Sefranka.

“I don’t have a good explanation,” Pelissier replied. “The building was designed by artists for performance space. The office part was not looked at…there is no office in this building,” he said, adding that it’s a question that can only be answered by the architect. The office will be created within the multipurpose room, partitioning a small space with glass.

“At the time, we operated out of City Hall because Peter was both city administrator and redevelopment director. We didn’t foresee frankly at the time,” said Redevelopment Agency attorney Frank Regan.

Commissioner Anthony Diege said it was never the intent for the agency to meet at Hamilton Stage but Pelissier’s circumstances at City Hall changed. Amid complaints and lawsuits between Pelissier and Mayor Rick Proctor, the City Council approved a $163,000 settlement in which Pelissier stepped down as city administrator but remained as redevelopment director.

Sefranka countered that the issue is not with the relationship between the mayor and former administrator. “My concern is a lack of conversation and coordination. It seems part of basic design parameters. That’s my opinion, for what it’s worth,” he said.

Redevelopment Agency Chairman William Rack agreed with Sefranka regarding the add-ons after the 14,000-square-foot facility has been nearly completed, pointing to the chiller project. Commissioner Tim Nash also agreed but conceded that Pelissier needs an office and shared the blame for the oversight. “I looked at the designs didn’t think of it either,” he said.

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