- County cancels bid, postpones Phase 2 construction
- Negotiations with low bidder fail to close funding gap
- Project remains strategic investment that will serve generations
- County exploring alternatives
ARLINGTON, Va. — Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan announced today that the County will not award a contract for construction of Long Bridge Park Phase 2, which includes the Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility (the “Facility”) and 8.5 acres of park.
“Last January I said that we would conduct extensive due diligence to ensure that the project estimate was sound and within the available budget, and that's exactly what we did,” said Donnellan. “I have concluded, in consultation with the County Board, that the gap between our construction budget and the lowest bid is simply too great to bridge at this point.”
After thoroughly reviewing the project budget to look for cost savings and holding a series of discussions with the lowest bidder, the County has found that the community's vision for the park could not be implemented within the current budget. As a result, the County has cancelled the bid and postponed Phase 2 construction; the move does not require County Board action.
Extensive due diligence
Planning for various phases of Long Bridge Park have been underway for more than a decade. In December, Arlington received bids for construction of Phase 2 that were higher than expected.
This was unexpected, as the County had taken the extra step of contracting with an engineering firm to review design and construction documents to provide independent, third-party cost estimates, which were within the reasonable range of the County Architect-of-Record's estimates.
After three months of serious discussions with the lowest bidder, the County determined that it was impossible to bring the bid within the County's budget without sacrificing too much of the intent of the design and programing of the project.
Intent to move forward
Over the next six months, Donnellan and her staff will seek potential partnerships and sponsorships – including naming rights opportunities — to further leverage private sector investments to move this project forward. She plans to come back to the County Board in mid-2015, prior to any additional bonds being sold, with an update on the project and her recommendations.
Long Bridge Park is a strategic investment that will provide a range of health, fitness and recreational opportunities for generations. The County remains committed to delivering all phases of the project as foreseen in the Long Bridge Park Master Plan, adopted by the County Board In 2013. “We are moving ahead with the design of the 6th Street South entry and play features adjacent to Fields 3 and 4 (Phase 3A),” said Donnellan. Construction is anticipated to be completed in 2015.
“We still believe that the Aquatics, Health and Fitness Facility, as well as the additional parkland planned for Phase 2 development, are important elements of the County's revitalization of Crystal City,” Donnellan said. “We are not asking Arlington County taxpayers for more money to build the Facility. Instead, we will be aggressively pursuing opportunities to partner with the private sector to finish Phase 2 of Long Bridge Park.”
She noted that the United States Olympic Committee is expected, later this month, to identify the short list of cities it will consider to become the U.S. bid for the 2024 Summer Games. The Washington, DC metro area is under consideration and Long Bridge Park is expected to be part of the plan. This sort of creative partnership is an example of the type of options the County is looking to pursue.
Long Bridge Park is a distinctive showplace of environmentally sound redevelopment, with a central expanse of attractive public green spaces and high-quality outdoor sports and recreation facilities that are accessible to all Arlingtonians, conveniently located with nearby urban corridors and the Potomac riverscape, and coupled with complementary private redevelopment. It is an ambitious project for our community; one that is transforming a one-time industrial wasteland from a brownfield to an iconic gateway on the Potomac. Long Bridge Park will provide multiple recreational opportunities for our growing population and for future generations.