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Front Page » Top Stories » State To Name Competitors For Southcom Project Next Week

State To Name Competitors For Southcom Project Next Week

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Written by on June 22, 2006

By Eric Kalis
Three developers hoping to build a 709,000-square-foot US Southern Command headquarters next to the command’s existing complex in Doral are to learn June 30 whether they will be invited to submit design proposals.

State officials will reveal the pool of competing bidders that day. The tentative date for awarding the contract is Nov. 20.

Two Florida developers, Flagler Development Co. of Jacksonville and Opus South Corp. of Boca Raton, responded formally to the Florida Department of Management Services’ request for proposals. Higgins Development Partners, a Chicago company, also responded.

Flagler built the 142,000-square-foot Doral headquarters at 3511 NW 91st Ave in 1997, but that will not give the company an edge over other candidates, said Augustin Barrera, managing principal for the Miami offices of Leo Daly Architects, a group involved in Flagler’s bid.

"A good design and the best price will get the project," he said. "Our advantage is that we know the local market."

The lease for the Doral headquarters, which the General Services Administration delegated to the Army Corps of Engineers, expires in February 2008, said SouthCom Command Engineer Col. Charles King. The command expects the lease to be extended through completion of the new headquarters, which will go up on 40 acres donated by the state.

Pentagon officials say the new complex is needed to meet anti-terrorism and force-protection requirements for the unified command, whose mission is the protection of American interests in the Caribbean and Latin America.

"The communications systems in place are outdated," Col. King said. "Most importantly, we lack the space to conduct joint coalition and interagency operations. There is sensitive information about the location of important people that we do not want to fall into the hands of a narco-terrorist."

The new facility, expected to be opened in 2010, is to be equipped with special satellite data devices for more effective communication, Col. King said, and a central access location to ensure that only SouthCom personnel and invited guests can enter. While the overall cost of the complex will increase because of the additional space, he said, the annual price per square foot is expected to be significantly lower.

"In the simplest terms, moving to one complex allows us to be more effective and efficient with a lower cost per square foot," he said. "Obviously, this will improve our security as well."

SouthCom, which includes 1,788 personnel from the various armed forces, has an annual economic impact on the area of $371.6 billion, according to Beacon Council statistics.