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AECOM Hunt Tabbed as Savannah Arena Construction Manager

AECOM Hunt has officially been chosen as the construction manager for a new Savannah arena, as the Savannah City Council approved an $11.2 million contract on Thursday. 

Officials in the Georgia city are planning a new $140 million arena, with the intention of making it the anchor of the Canal District development project west of downtown Savannah. As part of the planning process, AECOM Hunt has been awarded the Savannah Arena construction management contract.

AECOM Hunt’s bid was expected to be approved in a vote two weeks ago, but the city delayed its decision after it was discovered that an incorrect value for the contract was previously reported. A competing company had appealed city staff’s initial recommendation, but that appeal was ultimately rejected and the council voted 8-1 on Thursday to approve the contract with AECOM Hunt. More from the Savannah Morning News:

On Aug. 30, the mayor and aldermen delayed consideration of the contract by two weeks after learning the recommended contract was actually about $3.9 million more than city staff had initially reported. JE Dunn Vice President Walter Murphy had also called for the council to reject the contractor’s proposal for being non-responsive. Murphy declined to comment further during his company’s appeal hearing Thursday.

“We feel like we’ve said our piece,” Murphy said.

City staff attributed the error to the city’s request that the proposers express construction manager fees, including overhead and profit, as a percentage of all subcontracted and all self-performed costs. All three proposers provided the percentage of construction manager fees as requested, but only AECOM Hunt had excluded that percentage from its bottom-line price in the fee proposal document as the city intended, said Pete Shonka, executive director of arena development. After the costs were calculated both ways for all three developers, staff found that AECOM’s price was still the lowest both times, Shonka said.

“The outcome in either of these cases doesn’t change,” he said.

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. It is currently slated to seat around 9,000 and open in 2021.

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