Scrufari Wins Bid for Second Time

Scrufari Construction of Niagara Falls won the bid to build the Intermodal Transportation Center (Train Station) on Whirlpool Ave., narrowly beating out Ciminelli Construction for the second time in a row. The bid came in, according to Gary Sankes, president of Scrufari, at $23 million.

Ciminelli’s bid was around $400,000 higher. There were no other bidders.

Sankes said his company plans to start work on the train station as soon as April 1st, providing the City Council approves the bid.

“We are happy to be building in our home town. It will be a landmark building, a beautiful building, based on the architectural renderings,” Sankes said, adding that he hopes the train station proves to be popular.

“A lot of people don’t like to fly,” he said, “and a train is better than taking a bus. Niagara Falls is a tourist town; industry is gone. An attractive train station presents another good way for people to enter to visit the city.”

It is not a done deal yet, however. The final bid must be approved by the City Council and it has not yet appeared on the council agenda.

Sankes won the bid for the train station once before back on Sept. 25.

Within days of receiving those bids, however, Wendel Engineer’s Susan K. Sherwood, who is the designer and construction consultant for the train station, decided the project should be rebid, telling the Reporter she believed the bid needed to be “tweaked” to come in lower.

Tweaked it was, and now the train station project has come in more than $5 million lower.

Of course significant downsizing and downgrading of materials for the project occurred to keep the station within budget limits set by the city.

Wendel Engineering received $171,000 to prepare the original bids and another $330,000 to downsize the project, retest the contaminated soil, and prepare terms for a new, more accurate, bid.

Funding for the train station will be provided by a Federal TIGER 2 grant of $16.5 million, a federal highway grant of $3.4 million, and a New York State Competitive rail bond for $2.5 million.

“The city’s share is about $3.2 million. That will probably go up,” Senior Planner Thomas DeSantis told the Reporter.

The train station, which is expected to have Amtrak as its main tenant, along with some stores and offices, is expected to draw about 65 riders a day initially, but is designed to accommodate 300 passengers per day.

Scrufari, a 102-year-old company, has built or did the major work on the Winter Garden, the Turtle, the Holiday Inn, the Aquarium of Niagara, Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, Niagara Street School, the Seneca Niagara Casino, the cogeneration plants in Somerset and Lockport, renovations at Ralph Wilson Stadium and the Vincencian residence, an addition to the theater in the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center at Clet Hall and the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences at Niagara University, and other projects in Western New York, Pennsylvania and Florida.