Ongoing renovations to the Minnesota Governor’s Residence are expected to come in $5.7 million over initial budget estimates, according to a letter from the Department of Administration to top legislative leaders last week.
Renovations to the 112-year-old home were originally expected to cost $7.1 million. However, a “variance between the cost estimate at design development and the bids received” for interior projects has put the new budget at $12.8 million.
“This is primarily due to the need for more extensive replacement of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing system components than outlined in the predesign, along with additional security upgrades. This work to meet current code and life-safety requirements is necessary to complete if the facility is going to remain in use. Based on the bids received for [bid package] 3, the project budget has been updated to $12.8M,” Stacie Christensen, temporary commissioner for the Department of Administration, said in her letter.
Christensen said the agency has “sufficient funds available” in its facilities repair and replacement account to meet the new budget without impacting other projects.
Masonry repair work is in progress and expected to be substantially completed before winter, Christensen said.
“Minnesotans are already on the hook for Democrats’ $500 million lavish renovation of the State Office Building, and now are seeing costs nearly double for the Governor’s Mansion,” House Minority Leader Lisa Demuth, R-Cold Spring, said in a statement provided to Alpha News.
“I have requested additional information from the Department of Administration to determine whether any effort was made to keep costs contained for this project. These types of cost overruns go well beyond what’s considered reasonable, and Minnesotans should expect that government is making every effort possible to keep projects on-budget before accepting dramatic increases.”
Gov. Tim Walz’s family has temporarily relocated to the University of Minnesota’s Eastcliff Mansion until September 2024, at a cost of $4,400 per month in rent plus utilities. That’s significantly lower than the $17,000-a-month mansion in Sunfish Lake that the state initially planned to rent for the Walz family. The state backed out of that deal after facing criticism for the exorbitant cost but still had to pay three months of rent.