The cost to build a new Metro Transit bus garage in Minneapolis will decrease after the Metropolitan Council opted to rebid the big construction project following a legal challenge by one of the original bidders.
The council on Thursday opened bids to build the facility on the northern edge of downtown. A joint venture called Heywood Bus Garage Constructors appeared to be the low bidder, submitting a $113.1 million bid. Another bid by Shaw-Lundquist came in at $113.9 million.
The bid submitted by the joint venture, consisting of Adolfson & Peterson Construction and Knutson Construction, is about $1.4 million less than a $114.5 million bid submitted in July by Knutson Construction, which the council had initially supported.
Met Council staff will review the bids and the council expects to award the contract in January for the facility, which has a total cost of $150 million. If all goes as planned, construction will begin in the spring, with the new garage opening in fall 2022.
The initial round of bidding blew up last summer after AP Midwest, a subsidiary of Adolfson & Peterson, filed a lawsuit against the council, claiming the regional planning body bungled the process. The council had intended to award the job to Knutson Construction, which submitted a higher bid than its low-bidding rival. But then the council opted to start over and rebid the whole contract.
The dispute stems from the council's requirement that some subcontractors hired for the job qualify as "disadvantaged business enterprises" — firms owned by women or minorities. Bidders are required to assign at least 15% of the work to businesses that meet those standards or make a "good faith" effort to meet the goal.
The council initially determined the original low bidder AP Midwest, which bid $114.1 million, did not meet that threshold.
In its lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, AP Midwest said it made a "thoughtful and aggressive effort to identify and solicit" disadvantaged businesses. The suit has been dropped.
The new garage is planned for an 11-acre site northwest of Target Field adjacent to the existing Heywood garage and Metro Transit's headquarters. The council has said the 350,000-square-foot facility is needed to accommodate a growing fleet of longer rapid bus vehicles, and can store and maintain about 216 buses.