An Augusta Public Transit maintenance and administration building planned for a Regency Mall out-parcel is on hold after construction bids came in too high, city officials said.
Transit Director Patrick Stephens said the two firms that submitted bids for the project came in “a few million” over the project’s budget.
“The bids were substantially over the budget the architect and project managers sent,” Stephens said. “We had to reject those bids and we have to evaluate why those bids came in too high.”
News of the cancellation reached Commissioner Grady Smith from a contractor friend upset after spending “time and money” to submit a bid package on the project, Smith said.
“You spend that kind of time going to meetings and putting together a bid and sub(contractor)s,” Smith said. “Then they say it’s over budget when they don’t go public with the budget.”
The city doesn’t publicize the project budget to prevent bidders from targeting that amount, and doesn’t publish bids until the job is awarded, said Stephens, who referred further questions about the process to the procurement department.
The city’s bid solicitation for the project began April 20. The city amended the project specs and other details numerous times in three addenda filed last month then canceled the bid award last week due to submittals exceeding the budget and “specification and scope changes,” according to the cancellation notice.
Only two general contractors – Allen + Batchelor Construction and McKnight Construction – submitted bids for the project, despite interest shown by 12 contractors who attended a May 12 pre-bid conference. The other general contractors that attended were the Astra Group, R.W. Allen, Dabbs-Williams, S.D. Clifton Construction, ACC Construction, Paul S. Akins Company, Principle/Williams Construction, Spratlin and Son and Attaway Construction.
Stephens said Augusta’s budget for the project resembles those of similar scopes in other southeastern cities. The project has already been value-engineered and with more cuts “we will lose functionality,” he said.
Augusta previously spent more than $3 million on site work, engineers and other expenses to build a bus shop on land off Mike Padgett Highway, then announced a year ago a land swap for several outparcels including the former Regency Theater by Regency Mall as the new site for the bus shop. The current project will benefit from about $8 million in Federal Transit Administration grants, officials have said.
The city has promised its existing bus shop property on Fenwick Street to the Medical College of Georgia Foundation, which owns the adjacent 15th Kroger shopping center. Foundation officials have said their plans await acquisition of the bus shop property.
Reach Susan McCord at (706) 823-3215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.