Builder pick set to spur Coconut Grove bayfront development
Written by John Charles Robbins on November 14, 2017
A contractor has been selected to build the long-awaited Grove Bay Parking Garage on the waterfront in Coconut Grove.
The city’s Off-Street Parking Board on Nov. 1 authorized the Miami Parking Authority to negotiate a construction agreement with Munilla Construction Management (MCM). Authority staff reported that MCM was the lowest responsible bidder among six companies at $14,526,192.
The Grove Bay garage project underwent a redesign, and on Aug. 30 the authority invited its pool of pre-qualified general contractors for projects costing $2 million and more to bid.
In a memo to the board, authority CEO Art Noriega said staff thoroughly reviewed and evaluated all six of these proposals:
FL Lemark: $14,957,667.
Emerald Construction: $15,170,457.
Link Construction: $15,497,582.
West Construction: $15,990,436.
The final contract, once negotiated, will go to the parking board for approval.
The garage and its ground floor retail spaces are a key part of a public-private partnership among the authority, the City of Miami and Grove Bay Investment Group LLC. The developer has leased about 7 acres from the city as part of an agreement to redevelop the waterfront north of City Hall into The Harbour.
Clearing of the garage site has already begun at Pan American Drive and South Bayshore Drive.
The overall plan calls for Grove Bay Investment Group to make about $17.9 million of privately-funded improvements to redevelop a marina, construct restaurants, improve the public baywalk, make other improvements and fund part of the garage.
As part of a revised agreement, the developer agreed to contribute $4 million toward the cost of the garage, or about half of an initial projected $8 million construction budget.
But authority officials were shocked when the bids on the garage came in more than double the estimated budget. Four contractors’ bids ranged from about $17.7 million to nearly $18.8 million.
The parking board rejected them all and the garage was redesigned.
Mr. Noriega has said some factors leading to the high costs arose during the permitting process. He said one of the biggest unexpected costs came when the Federal Emergency Management Agency ordered flood panels built into the structure.
The parking board hired Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners for design and architectural work on the garage on a $375,000 contract in 2014.
Litigation against the city delayed start of The Harbour and was not settled until 2015.
To cover additional work by the architectural firm, the board added $93,000 to the contract in October 2015. In April of this year, the board approved $160,000 more.
Design changes were said to include reconfiguration of the parking levels, including the ramping system to simplify the structure; reduction in the ornamental façade; and adding an open metal skin façade to satisfy rules for a naturally-ventilated garage versus a mechanically ventilated garage with an exhaust fan system.
According to Mr. Noriega, one major change will lower it from three levels to two. But even with one less level, he said, interior changes should result in about the same number of parking spaces: 333.
Also in April, the board approved hiring RH Engineering Group Inc. for project management on the Grove Bay garage for about $6,500 a month.