Convention Authority Amends Contracts


    GRAND RAPIDS — The Convention and Arena Authority (CAA) amended a pair of consulting agreements for the new convention center, DeVos Place. Both contracts were increased by $10,000 last week.

    The first was for the development of an information technology system for the new facility, which is currently under construction. Robert Duff Consulting Inc. had its agreement amended to $20,000 because additional services were found to be needed.

    The second was for the development of fire-safety and security systems for the $219.5 million building going up at 245 Monroe Ave. NW. That consulting contract also was increased to $20,000 because additional services were needed. The work is being done by Jim Hiaeshutter and Jerry Fellinger.

    “Both of these contracts will exceed $20,000. But they are budgeted. Both have done an excellent job,” said Dale Sommers, CAA project manager for the convention center.

    Sommers also said that of the $13.4 million in convention center contracts awarded so far, 15 percent have gone to minority- and women-owned subcontracting firms. That figure exceeds the city’s policy by 3 percent, a policy the board is following for the project. Sommers added that of the total amount awarded, about $5 million worth of contracts couldn’t be given to minority companies because none did that particular work.

    “The final bid package will be released in the coming month,” said Sommers. The package is known as 2E and is for enclosures in the building.

    The CAA is expected to take possession of the former Hall of Justice on Thursday, and the old police headquarters on Oct. 15. Sommers said demolition of the building at the southwest corner of Michigan and Monroe NW will start in November.

    CAA Operations Committee Chairman Lew Chamberlin said the board likely will hear a recommendation next month from SMG, the firm that manages the Grand Center and Van Andel Arena for the CAA, on who should get the ticket-selling contract. TicketMaster holds the contract for both buildings, and has been operating on monthly extensions since July.

    The Grand Center, the city’s current convention facility, remains open during the construction of DeVos Place. In August, the building reportedly lost $95,357. For the first two months of FY 2002, the Grand Center is a little more than $200,000 in the red.

    SMG projected that the Grand Center would suffer its first financial loss in almost five years because of the construction work.

    SMG also reported that the arena had a profit of nearly $40,000 for the current fiscal year, after capital replacement charges of $41,600.

    The CAA owns the convention center and the arena. The new convention facility is expected to be fully completed in early 2004.

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