As Mesa prepares to award the bulk of construction contracts for the $99 million Chicago Cubs complex, the city is making a final push to boost the number of hometown contractors who get the bids.
The city wants at least 20 percent of contracts to go to Mesa-based businesses and is hosting an event this week to tell contractors what kinds of projects are still open for bidding.
About 34 of 40 bid packages are still available through the general contractor, Hunt Construction Group. That represents roughly $74 million worth of contracts, said Robert Johnson, a spokesman for Hunt.
Mesa’s City Council has pressed for the local contracts as it has planned the complex in the last two years.
But the city can’t simply hand out projects to hometown companies.
Mesa is working within state procurement law and has established a scoring system that takes into account a company’s financial capacity and experience, City Manager Chris Brady said.
“This process that we’re using is a combination of price and value,” he said. “Ultimately, Hunt has to deliver this project on time and under budget, so cost is an issue.”
While Hunt is the general contractor, the City Council has final say on awarding contracts. Mesa has already awarded a grading bid for work that began in July. Remaining bids will be awarded from September through December.
Hunt was formed in 1944 in Indianapolis and opened a Valley office in 1984. It’s built everything from hospitals to prisons to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale.
The company has known about Mesa’s goals since 2010 and has worked since then to identify potential Mesa contractors, Johnson said.
“They know a lot of the bigger firms, they know a lot of the smaller firms and they’re meeting people along the way that they didn’t know,” Johnson said. “If they’re qualified and their bids are competitive, they’ve got a good shot at it.
Mesa also is checking with contractors to see where they’re buying materials, encouraging companies to buy products in Mesa when possible. The city expects this approach will help bring in more tax revenue as companies pay city taxes, Brady said.
Construction began in July and is expected to wrap up in late 2013. The park at the southeast corner of the Loop 101 and Loop 202 freeways is scheduled to open for spring training in March 2014.
Mesa’s outreach so far has not only gotten city-based contractors interested, but in many cases multiple hometown bidders have gone after the same contract, Brady said. The city is always trying to do business with Mesa vendors, but the Cubs stadium brings that effort to a new level, Brady said.
“For a specific project, this is probably the most outreach we’ve done so far,” he said.
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