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Front Page » Top Stories » Bid Documents Reveal Large Discrepancy In Florida Marlins Garage Costs

Bid Documents Reveal Large Discrepancy In Florida Marlins Garage Costs

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Written by on November 26, 2009

By Risa Polansky
With some, including the new mayor, speculating that Miami can build parking for the rising Marlins ballpark cheaper than expected, bid documents recently made public show a wide range of proposals.

Proposed construction management fees for the four-garage, six-lot project ran from about $4.3 million to more than $8.8 million in bids from 11 hopeful contractors.

Boston-based Suffolk Construction Co., first in line to build the parking for the new Little Havana stadium, bid toward the low end, proposing a $6.35 million fee for the construction manager-at-risk contract.

Seven bids came in above that, the highest from Skanska USA Building Inc. at just more than $8.84 million.

Four others were in the $8 million range: John Moriarty & Associates of Florida, KM/Plaza, joint venture Cummings-Balfour Beatty and joint venture Turner-MCM.

Brasfield & Gorrie bid lowest, proposing a fee of about $4.3 million.

Both The Weitz Co. and joint venture Hunt-Moss bid in the $5.5 million range, and Austin Commercial came in just above Suffolk with a nearly $6.7 million bid.

Hunt-Moss is building the stadium itself, as well as handling infrastructure work at the old Orange Bowl site.

The city ranked that team second after Suffolk in evaluating proposals.

Low-bidder Brasfield & Gorrie placed third.

In vying for the manager-at-risk contract, in which the contractor names a guaranteed price and promises to cover overruns, the city asked the firms to calculate a cost for a pre-construction phase and a fee for the whole job based on an example "construction value" of $80 million.

The city and firm are to negotiate a guaranteed maximum project price later.

Officials have long cited the parking as a $94 million project, but they took out 10% for contingency and rounded down to $80 million, an anticipated price based on the market when the solicitation went out about six months ago, according to an e-mail from the Department of Capital Improvements.

New Mayor Tomás Regalado said this month that he heard "companies bid for that project as low as $74 million."

He didn’t return calls for more information but said in the initial interview that "we need to revisit these costs."

In choosing Suffolk, members of the city’s selection committee based rankings on both technical and price proposals.

City Manager Pete Hernandez signed off on the Suffolk recommendation Oct.23, citing "extensive experience" with parking garages and a "high level of competency."

The company has a 60-plus person Miami office and built the garages for two new sizeable projects, retail development Fifth and Alton in Miami Beach and office tower Met 2 in Miami, his memo says.

And, he wrote, the company seems to understand the complexity of sharing the site with Hunt-Moss.

After the construction team got the job to build the stadium itself, the governments handed Hunt-Moss as well the contract for site infrastructure, stressing the importance of one contractor coordinating the operation.

Still, they put the parking project out to bid, giving others a shot to play in the stadium game.

"Suffolk was one of the few proposers that recognized their responsibility of managing the overall master schedule…," Mr. Hernandez wrote. "The [Suffolk] team recognizes the critical importance of working with Hunt-Moss to ensure proper construction and scheduling coordination without adversely impacting the operations and schedules of the Stadium and Infrastructure Construction work."

But it’s up to commissioners to officially give the job to Suffolk.

They were to vote this month whether to contract with the firm for $200,000 for pre-construction services.

But Mayor Regalado said he yanked that item and another calling for more architectural design money for the parking from the agenda because commissioners hadn’t been fully briefed.

It’s unclear how the commission might vote on the items, as the dais is to be full of new faces by the time the matters come up.

Elections and political scandals left only one existing commissioner standing.

The $200,000 pre-construction fee the new commission is to consider is lower than Suffolk’s original $242,174 proposal, which the city negotiated down.

Other bidders proposed pre-construction charges ranging between $98,881 (Brasfield & Gorrie) and $822,360 (Austin Commercial), bid documents show.

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