- The $233 million Colorado Convention Center is still months away from finalizing a design-build contractor to carry out the project, making 2023 the earliest that convention and tourism officials will be able to book events for the new space, The Denver Post reported. The original completion date, before the project was bogged down with allegations of impropriety in the bidding process, was 2022.
- After firing program manager Trammell Crowell, who project officials contend improperly shared information with one of the bidders, Mortenson Construction, the city rebooted the bidding process and has narrowed the field to three finalists — Hensel Phelps and PCL Construction — both of whom were finalists in the first round — and The Weitz Co. Their final proposals are due Feb. 28. The city approved Rider Levett Bucknall as the new project program manager under an $8 million, three-year contract.
- The latest bid solicitation includes a 250,000-square-foot vertical addition to the existing convention center and a renovation of about 120,000-square-feet of lobby space, as well as other upgrades. The winning bidder, in addition to providing construction and construction administration services, will review schematics, develop the design and create construction documents.
An investigation into the facts around the Trammell Crow-Mortenson controversy has yielded little in the way of results. Even so, Mortenson has been prohibited from bidding on city projects until 2021, although the company has consistently denied that it or any of its employees engaged in any wrongdoing in relation to the convention center project.
Hensel Phelps might have a competitive edge against PCL and Weitz but only because it has an intimate working knowledge of the original convention center. The Greeley, Colorado-based general contractor built the convention center, which was completed in 1990 on a two-year schedule, and then doubled the facility's size during a 2004 expansion. Hensel Phelps also built the 38-story, 1,100-room Hyatt Regency hotel at the convention center for the Denver Convention Center Hotel Authority.
PCL is also an old hand in the convention center construction sector. According to PCL, it has completed 20 North American conference and convention centers including the 365,000-square-foot Ottawa Convention Center in Ottawa, Canada; the Orange County Convention Center expansion and renovation in Orlando, Florida; the Hawaii Convention Center in Honolulu; and the Hotel Conference Center at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.
Weitz also has experience with big convention center projects. The company is heading up the $900 million expansion of the Broward County Convention Center, now under construction in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Weitz is doubling the facility's size to 1.2 million square feet, which includes 350,000 square feet of connected exhibition space, a 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom, dining space, and technology upgrades, and a waterfront plaza with public access and water taxis.
Last year, Weitz also completed a 330-room Hilton hotel next to the convention center in downtown Des Moines. That project was carried out under a public-private partnership between Weitz, Polk County, Iowa and the City of Des Moines.