More than five years after the Carousel Mall in downtown San Bernardino closed for good, the City Council agreed to demolish the shuttered shopping center for $8 million.
Councilmembers Theodore Sanchez, Sandra Ibarra, Juan Figueroa, Fred Shorett and Damon Alexander approved a contract with Cerritos-based Resource Environmental early Thursday morning, Dec. 8.
Councilmember Kimberly Calvin opposed.
Councilmember Ben Reynoso was absent from the meeting.
The decision came after much debate over the near $10 million difference between Resource’s proposal and that of the next closest bidder.
Richard Miller, Resource co-president and chief operating officer, explained Thursday how the firm’s work collecting at least 200 samples of the 50-year-old mall for asbestos and other contaminants narrowed the scope of the work, leading to a more accurate bid.
“Other companies are making assumptions,” Miller said, “but there’s no assumptions here. We did our work. We know what’s hot. We have the information to do the job right.”
The Cerritos firm will demolish everything above ground and crush all material on-site to be used for soil stabilization and drainage, Miller told the City Council.
Such a process saves the city and any future developer money, he continued, and keeps hauling trucks off the road.
Mayor John Valdivia, who pushed hard for demolishing Carousel Mall following a three-alarm fire there in the summer, called Thursday’s move “a moment to celebrate.”
“This is a step forward,” he said after the vote.
City dollars reserved for capital projects will be used to cover the contract, with proceeds from the ultimate sale of the property going toward replenishing those funds.
It was not clear Thursday when demolition will begin.