LAKEWOOD RANCH -- After several years of planning to vacate rented space and a double-wide trailer and build a new maintenance facility for Lakewood Ranch districts, supervisors Thursday selected Magnum Builders of Sarasota as the winning bidder for the project.
The new maintenance facility, to be built at a cost of about $2 million, will be located on about five acres near the northeast corner of Lorraine Road and State Road 70.
The facility will be used to house equipment and workers who maintain Lakewood Ranch infrastructure and community improvements.
Inter-District Authority supervisors followed the recommendation of their construction administrator, Atkins North America, Inc., in selecting Magnum as the winning bidder.
Five contractors submitted bids, all of whom are "more than capable of completing this job," said Norman Robertson of Atkins North America.
Atkins recommended Magnum based on having the lowest and most responsive bid, Robertson said.
In some cases, bidders failed to make the cut because they did not submit their financial statements, or in some cases because of the way they interpreted heater requirements for the building.
"You put out a very specific set of bid instructions. That's the only way we can make a comparison," said Tom Green, chairman of the Inter-District Authority, which is responsible for the operations of Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.
The bids were close in terms of cost, Green said, asking which of the contractors supervisors have the most faith in to deliver what they requested.
The district's attorney, Scott Rudacille, told supervisors their task was to select the lowest bid that was responsible and responsive, but said supervisors have the ability to waive technicalities.
In the end, supervisors elected to follow Atkins' recommendation and unanimously voted to award the contract to Magnum Builders.
Reed Giasson, a vice president for Half Acre, a Lakewood Ranch-based company, asked to speak to supervisors after their vote, and said that his company was the low bidder for the project.
Half Acre noticed that there were discrepancies in the specification for the heaters, and suggested an alternative as being in the best interests of the Inter-District Authority.
"We are not nonresponsive. We're still the low bidder," Giasson said. "We are trying to do the best thing for the IDA."
Mike Baltzer, president of Magnum Construction, also spoke after the contract award.
"We don't have the option of being able to bid other than what was specified. We had no choice from our standpoint than to bid at the more expensive option," Baltzer said.
The IDA continued the meeting until 2 p.m. Jan. 31 to complete the contract award process with Magnum.
In other business:
n Supervisors discussed the Suncoast Half Marathon set for 7 a.m. Jan. 27 at Lakewood Ranch. The 13.1 mile race will be run through many of the Lakewood Ranch neighborhoods and will affect traffic for several hours.
n Workshop dates were set for supervisors in developing 2014 district budgets: District 1, serving Summerfield-Riverwalk -- 7 p.m. Feb. 25, March 18, April 22, and May 20; District 2, serving Country Club-Edgewater -- 3 p.m. Feb. 28, March 28, April 25 and May 23; District 4, serving Greenbrook -- 7 p.m. Feb. 27, March 11, April 23 and May 15; District 5, serving Country Club -- 10:30 a.m. Feb. 28, March 28, April 25 and May 23; and District 6, serving Country Club West -- 10 a.m. Feb. 27, April 3, April 24, and May 22.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee editor, can be contacted at 941-745-7021 or tweet @jajones1