Performing Arts Center Negotiations Suddenly Halted
By Marilyn Bowden
Negotiations between Turner Construction and the Performing Arts Center Trust’s construction committee bogged down Tuesday when the committee canceled a scheduled meeting, demanding that Turner sign a contract immediately or allow the Miami-Dade County Commission to waive competitive bids at its July 6 meeting, according to an industry source.
"This would put the bidding process back to zero," a Turner spokesman said. "It would allow other firms to come back to the negotiating table.
"It doesn’t take us out of the bidding process, but it puts us at some disadvantage."
Performing Arts Center Project Director Gail Thompson would not comment on the canceled meeting or the state of negotiations with Turner.
Stanley Arkin, chair of the construction committee and one of the three negotiators, said Turner had been asked to clarify its bid and come back with a final number.
"We saw no reason to meet with them until that was done," he said. "We’re hoping it will be successful."
Turner became sole bidder for management of the Omni-area development this month when its competitor, a consortium of three construction firms called Performing Arts Center Builders, was disqualified for failing to meet a county deadline to list subcontractors.
The county’s ceiling for construction on the project is $168 million. Turner’s initial bid was $253 million.
That had been revised to $210 million, the Turner representative said, for "bricks and mortar construction," which would not include interiors, seats or finishings, "just the hard-core buildings.
"That’s not enough for what they want, but it would get us to the bargaining table. The reality is the county doesn’t have the money."
Mr. Arkin says he anticipates a resolution to negotiations within the week.