- 2012 - September - 19th -

TownePlace Suites hotel planned in North Jacksonville near JIA

by Karen Brune Mathis, Managing Editor

Baywood Hotels Inc., a Maryland-based owner of more than 50 hotel properties, plans to open the TownePlace Suites by Marriott Jacksonville Airport.

The company’s website, baywoodhotels.com, says the TownePlace Suites in Jacksonville is “coming soon.”

Plans show the 107-room TownePlace Suites Marriott at 725 Skymarks Drive at River City Marketplace in North Jacksonville, near Jacksonville International Airport.

Renderings show the hotel would be built at a cost of $7.5 million on 2 acres.

The TownePlace Suites hotels target business travelers, vacationers and others who want longer-term stays with kitchens and larger work areas.

It would be the second TownePlace Suites in the area. The first is near Southpoint at 4801 Lenoir Ave., off of Interstate 95 and Butler Boulevard.

The website for that hotel advertises fully furnished suites, daily continental breakfast, free high-speed Internet, an outdoor pool, a hot tub, guest laundry and an exercise facility.

Property records show the Southpoint hotel is owned by Hari Om Group LLC of Indianapolis. It was built in 2008 at a value of $1.62 million and carries a 2011 taxable value of $3.03 million.

Plans show Baywood Hotels of Greenbelt, Md., as the owner of the new airport-area hotel. The franchise is with Marriott International. According to renderings, there would be 87 studios, 11 one-bedroom and 9 two-bedroom units.

The architect is Frank Thomas Murphy, of Raleigh, N.C., and the civil engineer is King Engineering Associates Inc. of Jacksonville.

The Marriott.com website shows TownePlace Suites in 44 states and Canada. There are 14 listed in Florida. Marriott International, based in Bethesda, Md., has more than 3,700 properties in 73 countries.

Baywood Hotels, established in 1975, has about 53 properties in Florida, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Texas, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, New York, Virginia and West Virginia. Another six are “coming soon.”

The properties focus on convenience to major metropolitan cities “that are popular corporate and leisure destinations,” the website said.

Baywood Hotels, whose Maryland headquarters are in a suburb of Washington, D.C., has regional offices in Chantilly, Va., Miami and San Antonio. Its portfolio of brands also includes Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn, Staybridge Suites, Country Inns & Suites, DoubleTree, Residence Inn and Comfort Suites. It has more than 1,000 employees.

Bids due Oct. 17 for old federal courthouse

A dozen firms have been approved to bid on the City job to renovate the old federal courthouse at 311 W. Monroe St. Downtown for use by the State Attorney’s Office. Bids are due by 2 p.m. Oct. 17 and will be opened then.

While 14 companies wanted to bid on the job, two were disqualified. Turner Construction Co. and Perry-McCall Construction Services were notified Aug. 28 they did not meet some of the nine pre-qualification criteria. No protest was received by the deadline.

The 12 firms who can bid are Ajax Building Corp., Arellano Construction Co., Auld & White Constructors LLC, Barton Malow Co., Brasfield & Gorrie LLC, Danis Construction Co., Elkins Constructors Inc., Manhattan Construction Inc., Morganti Group Inc., Peter R. Brown Construction Inc., Sauer Inc. and Walbridge.

A mandatory pre-bid meeting is scheduled at 1 p.m. Oct. 2 in the first-floor training room of the Ed Ball Building at 214 N. Hogan St. followed by an optional walk-through of the old federal courthouse.

However, the old federal courthouse will be open 8 a.m.-noon today and Thursday for site inspection. The entrance is on Pearl Street.

The scope of work calls for providing all materials, equipment and labor necessary to renovate the old federal courthouse. More specific information is in the construction contract documents.

The work shall include, but not be limited to, demolition, new construction, historical restoration, carpentry, architectural woodwork, insulation, interior finishes, HVAC, plumbing, electrical, fire alarms, a security system, telephone and data installation, the fire sprinkler system and the pedestrian bridge construction.

Drawings and specifications are available at the City Procurement Division in the Ed Ball Building.

Turner Construction built the new Duval County Courthouse, which opened June 18 next to the old federal courthouse. Elkins already had performed work on the old federal courthouse before the City terminated the agreement in April.

The 14 companies had submitted “Statements of Bidder Qualifications” for the job. The City sought firms interested in providing the construction services and now seeks competitive sealed bids for the construction services of the project. The award “will be made to the lowest, responsive, responsible bidder,” according to the request for qualifications.

Also according to the request, the construction cost is anticipated to be about $25 million. Pending legislation at City Council amends a prior ordinance to appropriate $30 million — $28 million for construction and a $2 million contingency reserve — within the Better Jacksonville Plan’s Unified Courthouse Project budget to the “Courthouse – Old Federal Renovation” project for the renovation of the old federal courthouse into the State Attorney’s office.

The construction schedule is anticipated to be about 14 months from the notice to proceed to completion.

City Director of Public Works Jim Robinson said Tuesday that he anticipates a construction start in early January and completion in late February 2014.

The start and completion dates are later than first expected because the scope was broadened to consolidate mechanical equipment in the basement and to consider alternative pedestrian crossing designs to reduce the project costs, he said.

Because of the holidays, construction would start in early January. The schedule remains about 14 months.

Ordinance 2012-382 was introduced June 12 by the Council president at the request of the mayor.

A Council analysis explains that the renovation of the old federal courthouse into the State Attorney’s Office was begun under a design/build concept with Elkins Constructors contracted for both the design and construction of the building for a guaranteed maximum price.

According to the analysis, design work and some initial environmental remediation — lead paint and mold removal — began before the guaranteed maximum price contract was executed.

“After negotiations with Elkins over the price and terms of the contract were unsuccessful, the City decided to terminate the contract for convenience and to change to a separate design/low bid methodology rather than a design/build contract,” it said.

The Council analysis said the legislation “was prompted by the desire of State Attorney Angela Corey to have assurance that the project will be fully funded and constructed as currently planned and that funds allocated to this project within the Unified Courthouse Project budget will not be shifted to address other needs.

“Chief Financial Officer Ronnie Belton told the Courthouse Oversight Committee that he believes that given the current favorable conditions in the construction market, the project can be completed for less than the $30 million being encumbered,” it said.

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