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Bidding war starts for Fort Gordon Post Exchange expansion project

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With floor plans and construction proposals in hand, five contractors toured Fort Gordon’s Post Exchange this week in hopes of winning the shopping complex’s $33 million expansion project, officials said Thursday.

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Fort Gordon is planning an expansion of the Post Exchange. It will nearly double in size from 98,000 to 177,000 square feet.  JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
JIM BLAYLOCK/FILE
Fort Gordon is planning an expansion of the Post Exchange. It will nearly double in size from 98,000 to 177,000 square feet.

The competition started Wednesday and will heat up over the next 30 days as the Army & Air Force Exchange Service starts receiving offers and determines which bid best matches the vision Fort Gordon has for its larger and more modern Post Exchange, General Manager Stefan Marks said.

He said the Fort Gordon Ex­change could not release the names of the five contractors at this time. He said the pool includes two applicants from Michigan and one each from South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

“All the applicants have extreme credibility,” Marks said. “They have proven through previous projects, some of which include strip malls and Navy exchanges, that they have the expertise and the resources available to build large complexes similar in design to our new facility.”

When completed in fall 2015, Marks said, the new exchange “will have an impact on all trades.” It will nearly double in size from 98,000 to 177,000 square feet.

In November, builders are expected to begin construction, blasting out walls along the northern and western boundaries of the old shopping center, which was built in 1995.

The interior will be rearranged for an interconnected grid of cafés, shops and merchandise displays.

The food court will be moved from the east to the west side and will have two new eating choices.

The shopping area will be divided into three sections – entertainment, casual living and home wares – and aisles and hallways will be widened for the carts of vendors, who will be contracted on a limited basis.

The trading post’s auxiliary location will be combined with the main exchange on Third Avenue and almost double the size of its stockroom.

“We’re talking about a whole new shopping experience,” Marks said.

Nationwide, the U.S. Army and Air Force Ex­change Service is a $10 billion industry that’s larger than Starbucks, Office Depot and Dillard’s.

The local exchange netted more than $8 million in earnings in 2012, thanks to an exemption from sales tax and an average merchandise price that is 25 percent less than department stores off Fort Gordon, receipts show.

The Fort Gordon Post Exchange has 22 permanent shopkeepers, six vending operations and four food providers. In addition, the exchange normally has 10 to 12 short-term cart concessions under limited contract.

The expansion project gained such notice that Marks said the Army & Air Force Exchange Service had to vet applicants through an extensive background check that looked at previous project experience, prior work accidents, insurance coverage and financial history, including any unpaid taxes to the federal government.

Marks said all approved applicants must submit all questions by Friday.

“The expectations are that the bids will come in the first week in August,” Marks said. “Then, our company has 30 days to review offers and select a contractor.”

TIMELINE

Tentative schedule for Fort Gordon Post Exchange expansion:

AUG. 5: Bids received

SEPT. 5: Project awarded

OCTOBER: Construction begins

OCT. 15, 2015: Construction complete

OCT. 28, 2015: Grand opening

Comments (10) Add comment
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JRC2024
10600
Points
JRC2024 07/18/13 - 09:03 pm
4
2
Too bad we all cannot shop

Too bad we all cannot shop there in a no tax enviroment.

triscuit
3266
Points
triscuit 07/18/13 - 10:03 pm
2
2
Too bad no construction firm

Too bad no construction firm from Augusta made the list...

dpatt.marine1
71
Points
dpatt.marine1 07/18/13 - 11:13 pm
5
0
Looks like the base is

Looks like the base is prepping for the addition of the army cyber command. I see amazing things happening to the base and Augusta as a whole.

fedex227
11187
Points
fedex227 07/19/13 - 12:07 am
5
0
Folks, this is a good thing.
Unpublished

whoop whoop.

Dixieman
17626
Points
Dixieman 07/19/13 - 02:41 am
7
0
Great news

Good for Augusta, good for Fort Gordon, good for the troops' morale - all around good news on this! (Wanna shop there? Easy - enlist!)

JRC2024
10600
Points
JRC2024 07/19/13 - 07:01 am
3
1
I did 1970-1976

I did 1970-1976

seenitB4
98778
Points
seenitB4 07/19/13 - 07:11 am
3
0
Cyber Command

Great--more jobs--jobs--jobs...

OJP
7779
Points
OJP 07/19/13 - 07:14 am
4
0
Cyber command? National privacy concerns aside,

a burgeoning tech industry in Augusta is the most exciting trend around here in decades.

saywhatagain
418
Points
saywhatagain 07/19/13 - 09:55 am
2
0
Priorities??

$33 million for, "...a whole new SHOPPING experience", while civilian workers on post are being placed on unpaid furlough amounting to a 20% pay cut?

Riverman1
94461
Points
Riverman1 07/19/13 - 02:05 pm
0
0
Fort Gordon is such a jewel

Fort Gordon is such a jewel in the CSRA. Thank goodness. It is known as one of the premier posts that career officers want to be assigned to. It is known as a country club post because it's not a combat arms training post and has many amenities such as the world class golf course. The cost of living down Dyess Pkwy in Columbia County is a fraction of that in other areas and homes are amazing compared to some of the other assignments.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 07/19/13 - 06:03 pm
1
0
Fort Gordon Stores
Unpublished

Great to have better stores for our servicemen! Question, why not let the stores put up the buildings? The big retail chains pay big to put a store in good locations. Of course the Post can set the rules about taxes and who can shop and lease the land to the store for $0,(there is the 25% cost saving to the servicemen) but it sure could save $33 million!

Riverman1
94461
Points
Riverman1 07/20/13 - 04:30 am
1
0
Oldredneck, that's a pretty

Oldredneck, that's a pretty good idea. They have already allowed Burger King and Huddle House to build on post. Why not Target? I wonder what the profit difference would be? The profits are now all turned back to soldier services minus the expenses.

oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 07/21/13 - 04:46 pm
1
0
Logic
Unpublished

Riverman1, I was just being silly, you know the government can not do things that make economic sense! They will pay the 33Mill and lay off people, many of them spouses of the servicemen and women, meaning they can not afford to shop there. About 25% of the cost of the big box stores is land.

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