Arnold Plaza demolition back on table

County staff is recommending the Board of Supervisors hit the reset button today on the bidding process for the demolition of the Arnold Plaza Building, an effort that was botched the first time around.

The Board originally awarded the $635,000 contract for the demolition to Lewis Equipment Services in November. Another bidder, H&H Development, protested, and when county staff investigated, they said they were told by the Arizona Registrar of Contractors office that Lewis was not licensed to demolish the building.

According to staff, the next lowest bidder also did not meet requirements and they recommended the Board go with the third lowest bidder, NCM Demolition & Remediation from California. The Board was supposed to make a decision on the matter during its January meeting, but the item was abruptly pulled from the agenda.

According to information provided to the supervisors for Monday's Board meeting, the County Attorney's Office received a letter from an attorney for Lewis Equipment Services. It warned that if the Board awarded the bid to another company it would be violating the law and Lewis would have the right to sue.

According to the attorney's letter, the bid for the project asked that companies have a general contracting license. It was only after H&H protested the bid that the county double-checked with the Registrar of Contractors and found that a special wrecking license was required to tear down the building.

Lewis obtained the wrecking license, which none of the other bidders have.

The same day, Jan. 10, the County Procurement Office received an email from Lawrence Matthews, the interim chief of Licensing at Registrar of Contractors. Matthews confirmed that Lewis had the wrecking license and that in the future, if the county wanted an opinion from the department on what types of licenses were necessary for a project, they should not rely on a verbal OK from local ROC staff but submit a copy of the bid request to the department in Phoenix 30 days ahead of opening the project in order to get a formal opinion.

The Board will discuss the issue at its meeting at 9:30 a.m. today at the County Administration Building, 700 W. Beale St.