Bids on $13.5m Meriden Hub project come in under budget

MERIDEN — Bids on the $13.5 million Hub redevelopment project came in under budget Friday, allowing work to transform the downtown parcel into a park to begin next month.

Eight companies submitted bids, with Meriden-based LaRosa Construction as the apparent low bidder. LaRosa submitted a base bid of $8,931,014. Though the city has secured all of the funds for the project, the State Bond Commission is yet to release $3.15 million. Because of that, three aspects of the project had to be bid as alternate pieces of work and will be added when the commission approves the funding. LaRosa’s bid on alternate pieces totaled $4,304,371 with a total bid of $13,235,385.

City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior said he was pleased the bids came in under budget.

“Now we have to start inviting everybody for next week,” Kendzior said, referring to a groundbreaking ceremony that is scheduled for Friday.

The project is 20 years in the making and will result in a reduced flood plain in downtown. The 14.4-acre parcel is contaminated in many locations having been home to the International Silver Co., among other industrial businesses. The contamination eill be cleaned up and Harbor Brook, which flows underneath, will be exposed.

Developed in the 1800s because of its close proximity to the railroad, the Hub has always been prone to flooding because of the brook. During significant rain, the site has flooded, including in 1992 and 1996 when there was a combined $26 million in flood damage to downtown. The city has been replacing bridges along the brook to lessen flooding. The vacant Meriden Mall at the Hub was demolished in 2007, leaving open space used for various events, including the circus, in recent years.

The city has acquired funds for the project through various state and federal grants, in addition to the legislatively approved $7 million in bonding funds.

All bids submitted for the redevelopment project were from Connecticut-based companies with True Blue Environmental, of Wallingford being edged out by LaRosa Construction by only $20,000. The firm’s bid totaled $13,255,000 including the alternate bids and base bid.

The third lowest bid was submitted by Empire Paving, a North Haven based firm. Empire Paving submitted a base bid of about $8.97 million and $13.68 million bid with the alternate aspects of the project included. The highest bid submitted topped $17.1 million, which included the base and alternate bids.

The alternate portions expected to be included in the project are a pedestrian bridge that connects State and Pratt streets, an amphitheater and site improvements such as walkways.

LaRosa was not only the low bidder for the project, but also submitted the lowest estimate for the demolition of the former TD Bank building at the corner of East Main and State streets. The demolition price was $139,000, which was more than $30,000 under budget. LaRosa has 60 days to finish the demolition and workers have been seen clearing the building out in recent days. The redevelopment is estimated to take 18 to 24 months.

City Purchasing Officer Wilma Petro said she was pleased with the amount of bids, the competitive pricing and that LaRosa will be overseeing work. 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ

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