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NY1 Exclusive: City Hall Renovation Project In Final Phase

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Seven years ago, the Bloomberg administration started to give City Hall a facelift, and while that project is still going on and has more than doubled in cost, the new team in City Hall says the makeover is in its final phase.

It's an unorthodox view of your tax dollars at work.

"You're standing on top of a roof that will be replaced in its entirety," David Resnick of the Department of Design and Construction said from the roof of City Hall.

It's the final phase of a renovation project that has lasted some seven years, a project bogged down by delays and higher-than-expected costs. We've seen the scaffolding go up, then come off, only to be put back on.

"Every step of the way, there's a decision taken as to whether it is truly essential to do this work," Resnick said.

It's work that started under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with an original price tag of about $68 million. Now, projections from the city comptroller's office show that it could grow to $165 million, though city officials say they want to keep it down to $158 million.

"The original $68 million cost was a placeholder number that had been identified to cover the basic life safety's system work but did not anticipate the extensive structural deterioration and remediation work that had to be done," Resnick said.

Before the roof, the building got new sprinklers and new electrical wiring. Now, on the roof, the copper is curling, and officials say it's vulnerable enough to collapse.

Look in the attic, and you see where the cement was crumbling, the layers built on top of the two-century old slate where beams separated, compromising the structure's stability.

"Directly underneath our feet is all those office cubicles," Resnick said.

The growth of the project's scope and cost, according to Alyssa Loorya of Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, is a part of doing work on the oldest operating City Hall in the country, a seat of government that opened in 1812.

"Like any old building, you never know what you're going to find as you start to uncover," Loorya said.

This final piece of City Hall's renovation is, for the most part, running on schedule. City officials promise it will be done in the spring of 2015.

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