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Jax Daily Record Thursday, Aug. 1, 201905:10 AM EST

The Mendenhall Report: Pier construction deadline extended to 2021

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City officials reissued the RFP for the $8 million project after receiving no bids.
by: Mike Mendenhall Associate Editor

Anglers and tourists who frequent the Jacksonville Beach Pier will have to wait longer than anticipated before they have full access.

The city extended deadlines for planning and reconstruction of the pier at 503 N. First St. in Jacksonville Beach. Officials in the city’s Procurement Division are giving contractors until Aug. 7 to bid on an estimated $8 million in repairs to the pier damaged by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

After receiving no bids by the July 24 deadline, officials reissued a request for proposals last week to remove sections 12 to 25 from the structure and rebuild to its original 34-section length 

Nearly half of the pier has been closed for three years. It sustained additional damage in 2017 from Hurricane Irma.

The updated RFP includes three additions that respond to questions from interested bidders Hal Jones Contractors and Superior Construction, both of Jacksonville, and TIC of Savannah, Georgia. 

The scope of the project and environmental requirements during construction also led to the city extending the construction timeline. 

Procurement officials now anticipate pier work to take up to 780 calendar days, which is more than two years.  Contractors responding to the initial RFP said the original 540 calendar day time frame, about 1½ years, was not enough to complete the project. 

The RFP addendum states the city anticipates issuing a notice to proceed on construction between September and October. This will push the completion date to November or December 2021. 

This is a change from July 10 when they hoped to reopen the pier by May 2021.

The portion of the pier remaining after contractors remove the damaged sections will be closed during construction.

More details on the environmental considerations contractors will have to follow during constructions also were addressed in the RFP addendum. 

They likely will include limiting construction to daylight hours and within a fenced area during sea turtle nesting season, May 1 through Oct. 31.

The city is waiting on final Florida Department of Environmental Protection permits that will detail the requirements.

Contractors will work from a temporary trestle extended from the public parking lot on Fourth Avenue North over the beach dunes to the end of the construction area.

Although no equipment will be allowed on the restored dunes, the addendum went on to say “some temporary, localized re-shaping of the dunes will be allowed,” and dune and vegetation restoration will be required.

Contractors will be responsible for removing and replacing two benches for pier users.

Notice period closes on bids for LaVilla property

The final 30-day notice period for companies to enter bids for a townhome development on city-owned property in LaVilla closed July 19. 

The Downtown Investment Authority will release the proposals by Aug. 19.

In June, the DIA board rejected three bids it received for the property at Adams, Johnson, Lee and Forsyth streets and the board decided to  start a new process for accepting unsolicited bids. 

Vestcor Companies was the first developer to express interest in the land, submitting an unsolicited bid in May for 70 for-sale townhomes at $250,000 each.

Vestcor requested that the DIA donate the land for development and pledged a $100,000 donation to the adjacent Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park. 

The DIA then published a 30-day notice, required by city code, seeking additional proposals from other interested developers.

Two more groups, Blackwater Capital LLC and Johnson Commons LLC, a joint venture of JWB Real Estate and Corner Lot Development LLC, submitted plans by the June 14 deadline.

Johnson Commons is mixed-use with 98 townhomes and incorporates 9,500 square feet of retail. JWB Real Estate and Corner Lot pledged a joint $150,000 donation to the park. 

Blackwater Capital’s proposal was not released.

All three companies were invited to resubmit their proposals, which a committee commissioned by the DIA will review and score.

According to the city’s Office of General Counsel, city code exempts the bids from public record until the DIA provides notice that it intends to issue a decision or 30 days after the bid opening.

The next DIA meeting is scheduled 2 p.m. Aug. 7 in the Lynwood Roberts Room at City Hall.

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