It's back to the drawing board on bidding for the city of Denver’s $233-million Colorado Convention Center overhaul. Alleged improper information sharing between former program manager Trammell Crow Co. and Mortenson Construction, a bidder, derailed the proposal process late last year (ENR 12/24-31/2018 p. 11).
The city fired Trammell Crow in December, and a district attorney’s office investigation is ongoing about possible wrongdoing in the original process. Neither of those firms can participate in the next round of proposals.
But the city’s shift to a more standard design-build approach, and its push to achieve complete fairness in the modified proposal process also means that Denver’s Fentress Architects will not be allowed to compete for the project, even though Fentress designed two earlier phases of the convention center and did nothing wrong.
Denver’s public works director informed Fentress, which was not involved in the bidding scandal, of the city’s decision in a March 29 letter. He said that the architectural firm’s long-term involvement with convention center design might create “an unfair advantage” for it in the new process. The firm estimates that losing the contract could cost it $10 million in potential fees this year.
The expansion project was originally targeted for completion in 2022. Now, city officials say that a new contracting team might not be in place until next year and has no firm timeline for completion of the project.