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$233M CO Convention Center Narrows Bids

Monday, December 9, 2019

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Although the Colorado Convention Center is still months away from finalizing a new design-build contractor for its $233 million expansion project, leading bidders have been announced for a second time.

Project History

The first time the city decided to bid the project, it hired local development company Trammell Crow as project manager in February 2018, agreeing to pay the firm $9.3 million to oversee the work with an original completion date envisioned for 2022.

milehightraveler / Getty Images

Although the Colorado Convention Center is still months away from finalizing a new design-build contractor for its $233 million expansion project, leading bidders have been announced for a second time.

By July, Trammell and the city launched the bidding process for the then $200 million contract for the expansion. Three companies—Mortenson Construction, PCL Construction and Hensel Phelps—were shortlisted in October.

The Denver Post reported that shortly after, officials grew suspicious when a city employee noticed a discrepancy in the project’s design: A whole room had been added without authorization, an extra that would’ve tacked on about $4 million.

An investigation was launched, and on Dec. 11 the city announced that it had fired Trammell on suspicions that “it had improperly leaked information and even altered plans for the project, potentially to favor a bidder.”

City officials also claimed that Mortenson was “implicated” in what they had found.

Trammell fired one employee related to the incident, and both Trammell and Mortenson released statements saying they were fully cooperating with authorities.

Regarding what would happen next for the project, all of Trammell’s documents were handed over to the city, which then had to decide whether to choose from the other two general contractors or start the process all over from the beginning.

However, the Post also reported that Trammell and Mortenson are ineligible to participate in the expansion, moving forward. And, although Fentriss Architects isn't suspected in any wrongdoing, it would also be excluded in the interest of fairness.

By April of this year, the city of Denver posted a solicitation for companies or teams interested in providing design-build services for the Colorado Convention Center Expansion Project. Letters of Interest were due no later than April 19.

Since then, a project team compiled a list of interested companies for notices and announcements regarding the expansion project, followed by a Request for Qualifications and Request for Proposals.

In July, the city approved Rider Levett Bucknall as the new project program manager under an $8 million, three-year contract.

What’s Happening Now

In the city’s most recent plans for the expansion, the Post reports that the convention center will see the construction of a new ballroom, outdoor terrace with mountain views, a 250,000-square-foot vertical addition to the existing convention center, renovations to 120,000 square feet of lobby space and other building upgrades.

Although final design-build contract submittals aren’t due until Feb. 28, 2020, the city has also announced three finalists for the job: Hensel Phelps and PCL Construction—both previous finalists—and The Weitz Co.

City officials are slated to choose a winner in March, where they’ll set the final project budget and timeline. The convention center and tourism officials plan to begin booking the new space by 2023 at the earliest.


Tagged categories: Bidding; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Commercial Buildings; Commercial contractors; Construction; Convention Centers; Design - Commercial; Expansion; NA; North America; Project Management; Upcoming projects

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