City of Temecula to begin accepting proposals for Margarita Recreation Center demolition, reconstruction project

rec center
The city of Temecula plans to demolish the Margarita Recreation Center, a former YMCA building, and build a new one. In 2012, after YMCA Riverside City and County went bankrupt, the city purchased the building and made several assessments regarding retrofitting, repair and expansion have been completed over the years. Valley News/Will Fritz photo

The city of Temecula plans to start accepting proposals for the reconstruction of the Margarita Recreation Center from a list of pre-qualified bidders.

The city council authorized the Department of Public Works to begin soliciting proposals for the project from six approved contractors at its Feb. 25 meeting. The item was on the city council’s consent agenda, which means it was approved without discussion.

The existing, approximately 14,000-square-foot recreation center building was originally a YMCA facility, but the city acquired it when YMCA Riverside City and County went bankrupt and defaulted on its lease with the city – the building sits on city-owned land in Margarita Community Park, adjacent to Temecula Elementary School.

City officials were originally leaning toward purchasing the facility from the YMCA for about $1.5 million before their default, but talks fell through when an inspection of the building turned up construction defects, including a crack in the facility’s pool, the Press-Enterprise reported several years ago.

The building only opened in 2009; the city ended up with it in 2012. Since then, several assessments of the building regarding retrofitting, repair and expansion have taken place since the city purchased the building “to address building deficiencies along with the need to expand uses of the facility,” the staff report said.

A needs assessment completed in 2017 determined that a complete demolition of the existing building and replacement with a new structure and pool was the best possible path forward.

The city plans to have the building constructed using a “design-build” process – meaning a single contractor will both plan and construct the building. It’s the city’s first design-build project.

City officials already entered into an agreement in February 2019 with a consultant to assist in development of concept plans and design-build documents.

In November, the city posted a request for potential bidders to submit themselves for pre-qualification.

The city received six pre-qualification submittals from AMG and Associates Inc., DLS Builders Inc., Hamel Contracting Inc., Pence Construction Inc., R.C. Construction Services Inc. and Nielsen Construction California Inc.

With the council’s approval of the list of pre-qualified bidders, city staff will evaluate design-build proposals, assess fiscal impacts and make a recommendation to the city council at a future date.

The Margarita Recreation Center project is included in the city’s Capital Improvement Program Budget for 2020-2024. It’s expected to cost about $8.6 million.

Will Fritz can be reached by email at