Price of $3.3M Tavares wedding pavilion jumps to $6M

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The $3.3 million wedding pavilion being built by the city of Tavares will now cost $6 million, so the question in some residents' minds is: "Is city still married to the project?"

Channel 9's Berndt Petersen got the first look at the revised estimates, which would result in an 80 percent cost increase.

The city administrator said they need the pavilion to be a first-class facility that makes enough money to not only turn a profit but to pay off the second loan the city would need to build it.

"Isn't that a little unreasonable for taxpayers?" asked Petersen.

"At first blush, if you were to look at it, I would agree, it is a big number to swallow," said city administrator John Drury.

Drury said since last summer's groundbreaking, new construction bids are coming in.

Earlier this month, the price jumped by $175,000 because too many of the concrete pilings driven into the lake weren't hitting solid ground. The builders needed to add many more just to hold up the building.

More increases include $500,000 costs to move the air-conditioning units out of the building to free up more rentable space. To install tinted glass to lower AC costs would cost another $500,000.

And to add partitioning walls that would enable leasing rooms to multiple users would add an additional $500,000.

"That's too big a jump," said resident Ken Lang. " I wouldn't mind saying 'abandon the project right now' rather than almost double the cost of the thing."

Drury said he's prepared if taxpayers take aim at him.

"The jury is out on Drury. The seaplane base, the train station, this facility need to be looked at together in three years. Then run the numbers and see how they're doing, and you decide," said Drury.

City Council gets a look at the numbers at a public meeting on Wednesday. It will then decide whether to borrow more money.