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City Delays Savannah Arena Construction Manager Vote

The Savannah City Council on Thursday delayed voting on a new Savannah arena construction manager, as it was discovered that an incorrect value for the contract was previously reported.

The Savannah City Council was expected to approve a contract with AECOM Hunt to manage the construction of a new $140 million arena. City staff had initially reported AECOM Hunt’s contract value to be $7.3 million, and that amount remained on the meeting agenda until Wednesday. However, it was corrected to $11.2 million after it was discovered that a misreading of the fee proposal resulted in $7.3 million being incorrectly reported.

AECOM Hunt was one of the finalists for the contract, joining bids from Turner Construction (around $13.6 million) and JE Dunn (nearly $12.7 million). Some city officials argued that, despite the previous error, AECOM Hunt’s proposal was viable enough for approval, as it still represented the lowest price and highest evaluation score after the correction. However, the city council decided to delay the vote by two weeks, while a representative from JE Dunn spoke in criticism of the city. More from the Savannah Morning News:

City Manager Rob Hernandez also said he felt confident in moving forward with the recommended contractor after determining the company had followed the process correctly, while acknowledging the error should not have occurred in the first place.

“That reflects poorly on me and I apologize,” Hernandez said. “We will double down to prevent circumstances like this in the future.”…

Walter Murphy, vice president at JE Dunn, had also spoken out against the contract being awarded to AECOM during the meeting and had informed the council that he had notified the city manager of the issue.

“We were told it was a scrivener’s error,” Murphy said “I don’t think so. I think the bid was non-responsive.”

The new arena is being planned as an anchor of the Canal District development project west of downtown Savannah. The arena has been pitched as a more modern event space in comparison to Savannah’s aging Civic Center, as well a key feature in a broader development project could better connect the area surrounding the venue to downtown Savannah.

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