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April 27, 2016

WSCC, Skanska-Hunt resolve their dispute

  • WSCC officials say this allows the project to move forward and frees WSCC to hire a new GC/CM or use a different contracting process.
  • Officials from Washington State Convention Center and Skanska-Hunt Construction Group said Tuesday that they have “amicably resolved” their disagreement over the GC/CM contract for the $1.4 billion WSCC expansion.

    Matt Griffin of Pine Street Group, the development manager for the project, said money was involved in the settlement but he wouldn't say who got it or how much.

    In identical press releases from WSCC and Skanska, WSCC Board Chairman Frank Finneran said this will allow the project to move forward and frees WSCC to proceed with the GC/CM process with another firm or use a different contracting process.

    “WSCC decided to terminate the preconstruction process for convenience because design and budget issues led us to conclude that we would not be able to negotiate a satisfactory maximum allowable construction cost for the project,” Finneran said in the release. “As Skanska-Hunt performed during the preconstruction process, WSCC came to realize that taking a step back to re-evaluate aspects of the schematic design would benefit the project.”

    Skanska Executive Vice President and General Manager Chris Toher said in the release that the resolution “recognizes the valuable services our team provided over the past nine months.”

    Skanska had not mobilized equipment on the site.

    In March, the WSCC said it would take advantage of a clause in its preconstruction contract and terminate Skanska-Hunt. Griffin said at the time that Skanska-Hunt wasn't the right fit for the project.

    Skanska-Hunt sued, charging that the termination violated the state's general contractor/construction manager statute. In that filing, Skanska-Hunt said its bid pricing was $9.5 million less than the next lowest proposer.

    Skanska-Hunt argued it was terminated because WSCC wanted to find a less expensive GC/CM.

    Skanska-Hunt said in court documents that while it was doing preconstruction services, WSCC talked to two losing finalists about construction costs and whether they would be interested in the project if it was rebid.

    Skanska-Hunt last year beat out two other short-listed joint-venture teams to get the contract. The other teams were Mortenson Construction with PCL Construction Services; and Clark Construction Group with Lease Crutcher Lewis.

    Over the years, Skanska has built dozens of projects under GC/CM contracts in Washington and Oregon. In Washington, Skanska is working on a nearly $50 million GC/CM contract to build Alderwood Middle School in Lynnwood and is the GC/CM for the $121 million Tahoma High School & Regional Learning Center in Maple Valley.

    LMN Architects is designing the WSCC project, and Magnusson Klemencic Associates is providing structural and civil engineering services.

    Griffin said the original design team will continue its work, and Pine Street will start evaluating today whether to use a GC/CM or switch to design-build. He said his initial inclination is to go with a GC/CM.

    The expansion will be nearly 200 feet tall, and house 250,000 square feet of exhibition space, 125,000 square feet of meeting rooms, 60,000 square feet of ballroom space and 25,000 square feet of retail.

    The plan is to build a 28-story residential tower and 16-story office tower north of the WSCC expansion. Both of those towers will be permitted and then sold to developers.

    Scott Sleight at Ahlers & Cressman represented Skanska. The convention center had Foster Pepper as its lead attorney, with assistance from Yarmuth Wilsdon.

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