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Columbus Awards Commons Bid To Local Contractor for $12.4 Million

The Columbus Redevelopment Commission has awarded a $12.4 million bid on the new downtown Commons to a Columbus-based company.

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The Columbus Redevelopment Commission has awarded a $12.4 million bid on the new downtown Commons to a Columbus-based company.  Commissioners accepted 12 bids three weeks ago – all of which came in under the city’s cost estimates for the new Commons. But the two lowest bids were scrapped due to errors.

Redevelopment Commission President Tom Vujovich says that left Columbus-based Dunlap and Company as the obvious choice.

“For this projects it’s nice that a local contractor ends up getting the bid. It wasn’t awarded based on the fact they local. It was based on the fact they were the lowest responsive bidder,” he said.

The two lowest bids were withdrawn after those companies admitted their bids were did not include the cost of various aspects of the project.

The commission decided to Tuesday to return the bonds those companies paid, which were in the millions of dollars. Vujovich says the city could have kept the money but decided the mistakes were unintentional.

Almost three-quarters of the money Dunlap will be paid will come from increased local taxes. With the bid hundreds of thousands of dollars less than architect’s estimates, Vujovich says he doesn’t foresee cost overruns on the project.

“The city’s share of that project is only 9 million dollars, not one penny more. If there are things we feel need to be added that are not within that budget then we’ll have to go out into the private sector or the community and see if there’s somebody who’s willing to pay for it,” he said.

“The city’s commitment was nine million dollars of public funds through the bond and that’s the maximum that the city will put into this.”

The entire project was estimated at $18 million. And that includes fringe parts of the construction Dunlap will not be responsible for, including furniture, signage and restoration of the Chaos statue.

The city has also been mum on how it will cover the estimated yearly utility bills, which will climb into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Vujovich says construction will begin in about a month and the new Commons will open in the first quarter of 2011.

Daniel Robison

Daniel started as WFIU's Assistant News Director in July 2008. He graduated with a B.A. in history in 2007 and earned an M.A. in journalism two years later. Daniel hosts Ask the Mayor weekly and the occasional Noon Edition. He also hosts Morning Edition on Thursdays, sleepily. Daniel's beats include everything News Director Stan Jastrzebski wants him to cover. And it feels strange to type biography of myself in the third person like this. So that's that.

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