The planned Washington State Convention Center expansion—a $1.4 billion project in downtown Seattle—has a new contractor in place, even if it took firing the old one to get there.
Construction hadn’t even started on adding 250,000 sq ft of exhibition space, 125,000 sq ft of meetings rooms and 60,000 sq ft of ballroom space to the current center nearby before the Washington State Convention Center Public Facilities District (WSCC) and the joint venture of Skanska and Hunt Construction Group found difficulty.
“WSCC decided to terminate the preconstruction process for convenience because design and budget issues led us to conclude that we would not be able to negotiate a satisfactory maximum allowable construction cost for the project. As Skanska-Hunt performed during the preconstruction process, WSCC came to realize that taking a step back to re-evaluate aspects of the schematic design would benefit the project,” Frank Finneran, WSCC board chairman, said in a statement in April. Skanska-Hunt said at the time the firing came as a surprise and a court order prevented the WSCC from hiring a new contractor pending a court date. But with the dispute now resolved “amicably” between the two parties that freed up the convention center to find a new contractor for the project, settling on the joint venture of Lease Crutcher Lewis of Seattle and Clark Construction Group a Maryland-based company with a Seattle office. This group had been the second lowest in the bidding.
The convention center expansion will fit within the intersection of several downtown neighborhoods, transforming the equivalent of four blocks of downtown streetscape when it finishes, scheduled for 2020. A pedestrian connection between the existing center and the addition will provide “safe, fast and easy” access while creating a stronger link to Pike Place Market nearby and the immediately adjacent Paramount Theatre.
The finals plans are still in the works, but with a new contractor on board, the convention center is back on track to break ground next year on the 11-story addition.
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