The Santa Monica City Council agreed Tuesday, February 28th, to pay AZ Architecture Studio Incorporated $248,000 to provide final design services for the Pier Central Restroom Replacement Project.

With the Santa Monica Pier attracting an estimated three million visitors each year, city officials believe existing pier restroom facilities are inadequate in size and have deteriorated.

City staff hired AZ Architecture in March 2004 through a requisition process to provide concept architectural and engineering design services.

The cost of providing a final design — which AZ Architecture was hired to do next — is $248,000.

Current budgeted funds for the design and construction of the entire project are $1,839,981.

City staff told the City Council that the project might exceed the approved budget by $740,000.

“These estimated cost increases are due to significant general construction cost increases that have occurred and are continuing to occur as the design phase is completed,” said Craig Perkins, director of the Santa Monica Environmental and Public Works Management Department.

“If additional funding cannot be allocated as part of the proposed fiscal year 2006-2007 budget, the City Council will be apprised of the potential impacts on the project scope from the anticipated shortfall,” he said.

The City Council approved a staff recommendation to authorize city engineer Anthony Antich to make any modifications to complete the project within the budget.

During the concept design process, Pier visitors, merchants and city staff identified other needs for a restroom facility besides restrooms.

Some of those needs include commissary space, a vendor cart storage area, and storage for a stage and chairs used during concerts and the Twilight Dance Series.

The Pier Restoration Corporation, the city agency that manages Santa Monica Pier, suggested that AZ Architecture draw a design that is “both whimsical and pedestrian-friendly.”

AZ Architecture’s concept design features a new structure that will be home to a central restroom facility and retail space facing the pier’s main pedestrian walkway.

The concept design has a curved roof that pays homage to the roller coaster at Pacific Park.

Specifically, the concept design features:

n 26 women’s toilets and six lavatories;

n six men’s toilets, four urinals, and four lavatories;

n a 960-square-foot bike rental area;

n 395-square-foot commissary;

n 256-square-foot ice cream and coffee kiosk;

n 124-square-foot storage area for a stage and chairs; and

n 651-square-foot storage area for non-vendor carts.

City staff appear pleased with AZ Architecture.

“AZ Architecture Studio has successfully completed the design of beach restroom facilities for the City of San Diego and is familiar with considerations when designing restrooms in active coastal environments,” Perkins said.

“References confirmed that the firm’s work was completed in a timely and cost-efficient manner while maintaining consistent quality,” he said.

The existing central restroom area will be converted to a vendor cart storage area and the rear portion of the existing bike rental shop will be converted into a commissary where food carts can be stored.

The City Council will obtain construction bids when a final design is complete.