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Front Page » Top Stories » Bidding On Southcom Base To Be Reopened

Bidding On Southcom Base To Be Reopened

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Written by on July 5, 2007

By Eric Kalis
The Pentagon is to reopen bidding this month for contractors seeking to design and build a 709,000-square-foot US Southern Command headquarters next to the existing one in Doral.

Officials of a partnership that submitted a bid with Flagler Development Co. last year say they will reapply but without the Jacksonville developer. Flagler built the existing 142,000-square-foot headquarters at 3511 NW 91st Ave. in 1997.

Pentagon officials are to issue a request for qualifications this month with hopes of awarding a contract in March for design and construction. The Department of Defense’s budget includes $237 million for construction of the facility.

The House Armed Services Committee rejected a proposal last year to lease the new headquarters and 40 acres from the state, opting to have the Pentagon own the building and lease the land. Committee members in May listed several conditions to apply to a 50-year uninterrupted lease, including flexibility for other federal agencies to use the property and acquisition of adjacent land if needed to complete construction of the headquarters.

SouthCom’s current lease with the state’s General Services Administration expires next year. Pentagon officials estimate the new headquarters will be operational by late 2010.

The architect, engineer and systems integration contractor from Flagler’s original bidding group formed a new partnership without the developer and plan to bid this month, said Augustin Barrera, managing principal in the Miami office of Leo Daly Architects, which designed the Flagler group’s proposal last year. Because the current proposal calls for the Department of Defense to own the headquarters, Mr. Barrera said, a developer’s role in the project would be minimal.

Despite Flagler’s absence, the group’s bid will closely resemble last year’s, he said.

"Everything stayed the same," Mr. Barrera said. "We’re proposing the same team with the exception of Flagler since [the project] is no longer developer driven."

Opus South Corp. of Boca Raton also bid for the project last year. Several phone calls to company vice president Julie Kimble were not returned.

Pentagon officials say a new complex is needed to adequately protect the unified command, whose mission is to protect US interests in the Caribbean and Latin America. SouthCom — whose economic impact is estimated by the Beacon Council at about $371.6 billion annually — is one of five unified combatant commands. The joint command is composed of more than 1,200 military and civilian personnel representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.