Airport Welcome Center project will be rebid

Submitted by Suanne Z. Thamm
Reporter – News Analyst
March 13, 2017 1:00 a.m.


At the close of a short committee meeting of city staff and airport consultants before many onlookers in the Fernandina Beach City Hall Conference Room on March 10, 2017, City Manager Dale Martin announced that he was exercising his authority to reject all bids submitted under ITB 17-02 to build a general aviation terminal/welcome center at the municipal airport. Martin based his decision on an analysis of the bids provided by Andrew Holesko, Passero Associates project manager and meeting participant.

All bids came in significantly higher than the anticipated $2.4-2.6M cost of the project with the low bid at $3.685M. In reviewing the bid packages, Holesko said that there were bid irregularities with each of the submissions. Either information was not provided in certain cases, or some items were not separated out from the overall base bid, making it difficult to compare the submissions.  Under the circumstances, Holesko said that he did not think value engineering the low bid would be fair to the other bidders.

Martin said that the project would be rebid following discussion with city commissioners, the Airport Advisory Commission, city staff and airport consultants.  The city will look for savings on the existing design in rebidding the project.  He said that he anticipates issuing a new bid that will reflect some changes to bring responses in better alignment with the city’s desire to keep the project in the cost range of $2.4-2.6M. Martin reiterated that no city ad valorem taxes (General Fund) will be used for the project. But he allowed that the city would like to take some time to reevaluate other funding sources and design components.

In the meantime, Holesko said that Passero will contact the bidders on ITB 17-02 to inform them of the cancellation and explain any bid irregularities encountered with their responses.

Holesko expressed optimism that the rebid can be handled expeditiously, expressing sensitivity to the needs of 8 Flags Aviation, the new FBO. He said the rebid would extend the bid award by 60 days and construction by 30 days. He said that he believes that ribbon cutting for the new facility can be anticipated for March 1, 2018.

Holesko told the committee that he hoped they would reconvene in 60 days to review the new bids.

Suanne Thamm 4Editor’s Note: Suanne Z. Thamm is a native of Chautauqua County, NY, who moved to Fernandina Beach from Alexandria,VA, in 1994. As a long time city resident and city watcher, she provides interesting insight into the many issues that impact our city. We are grateful for Suanne’s many contributions to the Fernandina Observer.

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9 Responses to Airport Welcome Center project will be rebid

  1. Mrs. D. Hunter says:

    “The city will look for savings on the existing design in rebidding the project.”

    Such a shame.

  2. Dave Lott says:

    City and airport would best be served by scrapping the existing design and going with a conventional structure as originally proposed. All the pilots and their passengers care about is functionality and comfort, not a novel design which clearly comes at a premium price.

    • Mrs. D. Hunter says:

      Martin, Passero, AirAdComm and FBCC appear locked in solid support of this design, according to FO reports/various blogs/social media. For some reason, the public has taken a passive stance through the design and bid phases, most likely because [guessing] all published reports include the key phrase “no city taxes will be used for the project.” Free money = who cares, is that it?

      Does anyone here support an organized long-game movement to make contrary positions heard? If so, speak up. Can’t do it without a strong base.

  3. Steven Crounse says:

    This is the Appropriate time to scrap the “Blue Footed Booby” design of our Terminal. Please let the Adults in the room have their say. I know they are there, I’ve talked to a few of them. Surely one of the original designs submitted, with modifications if needed, would make a fine addition to this City.

  4. Robert Riegler says:

    The Terminal Bids have reached terminal volicity. End it Guys. But this is not to be as more discussions are to be had to rebid that which cannot come in at the avaibable funds level. Am I missing something?
    Scrap the plan and come back with a conventional design for a FBO vs. yet another monument. Boyz with the Ballons(planers) are here folks. Wake up.

  5. Steven Crounse says:

    Well there seems to be Good News coming out of the Republican Budget just submitted, which may save us from the “Blue Footed Booby” Terminal design our Commissioners just can’t get enough of. Seems a couple Billion dollars is being removed for Rural Airport Project from the FAA Budget. So if the grant is “Soft Money” It may Just go away. This would be the first Good News coming out of the White House for the American People.

  6. Kris R Stadelman says:

    Although with my architectural background I’m usually supportive of innovative ideas, in this case I am for conventional buildings. A little touch of “Southern Coastal Genteel” would be nice, but the equivalent of a 50-foot sombrero on the roof doesn’t age well.

  7. Joe Frederick says:

    Someone turn off the idiot machine. You can’t build an amusement ride at an airport. Would you run into that goofy looking thing in a serious storm? NO you would run from it.

  8. Peter Usher says:

    Please, someone stop this madness. Renovate the existing building … and call it done.

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