By Brian Johnson
Dolan Media Newswires
MINNEAPOLIS — Much-anticipated construction bid packages for the $975 million Vikings stadium project are expected to hit the streets this summer as the project team gears up for a planned October groundbreaking.
Golden Valley, Minn.-based Mortenson Construction, the project’s construction manager, looks to have some bid packages ready in the “August-September time frame,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman.
Those bid opportunities on the project, which has a construction budget of $690 million, are welcome news to a building industry that has regained about 10,000 of the 50,000 construction jobs that disappeared in the state during the recession.
“Our contractor partners and the folks that work in the industry have been waiting for this for 10 years,” said Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council.
“It will create, as Gov. (Mark) Dayton said, millions of work hours for Minnesotans and continue to create jobs after the project is completed. We are excited.”
The Minnesota Subcontractors Association will pay especially close attention to work packages — such as concrete, carpentry and demolition — that are “susceptible to self-performance,” said Mike Schmaltz, the association’s executive director.
Subcontractors raised concerns this year that the prime contractor might perform substantial chunks of work with its own forces. Schmaltz said he expects subcontractors to get “a fair shot” at obtaining work.
Under the Vikings stadium law, Mortenson Construction, as the construction manager, has an option to self-perform some of the work “without soliciting competitive bids” if necessary to keep the project on track. The authority would have to sign off on plans to self-perform any work.
Mortenson self-performed concrete, masonry and some carpentry work on Target Field. The masonry and concrete contracts had a combined value of about $68 million.
Critics say that could result in an end run around the competitive bidding process and eliminate work for specialty contractors and others who bid on subcontracts.
“I hope the work stays in Minnesota as much as possible,” Schmaltz added. “We have a lot of fantastic contractors and subcontractors here. We all want to see it stay here where we can all benefit from it.”
In addition to the anticipated construction bid packages, Kelm-Helgen said that only one of the three candidates to build parking for the stadium was “responsive to the things that we had asked for” in a request for proposals.
She declined to identify the lone responsive candidate. Interviews with the three proposers were done last week, she said.
Minneapolis-based Ryan Cos. US Inc., property owner Basant Kharbanda and Minneapolis-based Vedi Associates Inc. responded to the RFP.
Ryan Cos., which in May unveiled plans for a $400 million mixed-use redevelopment on land owned by the Star Tribune near the stadium site, has been viewed as the leading candidate to build the parking, which it has said is integral to its overall plan.
Ryan’s plan calls for construction and management of two parking ramps, as well as management of the Downtown East Ramp at 701 Fourth St. S., which the authority is in negotiations to buy.
Rick Collins, Ryan’s vice president of development, said in May that the ramps accounted for about $50 million of the $400 million mixed-use development proposal.
Kelm-Helgen said that the project team is working on a deal with the responsive proposer.
“It’s important to let people know that we are moving ahead to try to negotiate something with one of the firms,” she said. “We should have a decision fairly soon. Definitely within the next two weeks.”
The stadium legislation requires at least 2,000 parking spaces within a block of the stadium and connected by skyway or tunnel to the stadium. It also calls for 500 spaces within two blocks, linked by a “dedicated walkway” on Vikings game days.