By Donald Wittkowski
Wasting no time, the Ocean City Housing Authority intends to reject construction bids that were dramatically higher than the estimated $4.2 million price tag for the agency’s proposed senior citizens housing complex.
Only two bids were submitted Thursday by companies seeking the construction contract. Gary F. Gardner Inc., of Medford, N.J., submitted a bid of $5,767,000, while Fabbri Builders Inc., of Vineland, N.J., came in at $5,831,473.
Jacqueline Jones, the authority’s executive director, said Friday that a letter will be sent to both companies rejecting their bids.
The authority plans to advertise for new bids on June 7 as it starts the process all over again. According to the latest timetable, the bids will be opened on June 28.
“I don’t think it’s all that serious because it’s only a month (delay),” Jones said of the rebidding. “It’s not a setback at all.”
Assuming there are no problems with the new bids, the contract would be awarded within 30 to 45 days. The authority hopes to begin construction by year’s end and have the project completed by late 2019.
“We’re on course there. Everything is good as far as the housing authority is concerned,” said Bob Barr, a city councilman who also serves as chairman of the authority’s board.
Barr stressed that the first set of bids that were too high “didn’t derail a thing.” He noted that the project really won’t be delayed because the authority adjusted its schedule to include the possibility that it would have to seek new bids.
The proposed project will include 20 units of affordable housing for senior citizens. It will replace the authority’s flood-prone Pecks Beach Village senior citizens housing complex on Fourth Street.
Pecks Beach Village was swamped by storm waters from Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, underscoring the need to build new housing in a location less vulnerable to flooding. It continues to suffer from flooding during storms and even in high tides, Jones said.
The new two-story building will be constructed on what is now a parking lot adjacent to the authority’s Bayview Manor housing complex at Sixth Street and West Avenue. Funding for the project comes from a federal Hurricane Sandy recovery grant.
Senior citizens who already live in Pecks Beach Village will be transferred over to the new housing complex when it opens.
Pecks Beach Village also includes a 40-unit complex for low-income families. That part of Pecks Beach will remain open after the new project is built. Jones said the family section of Pecks Beach sits on slightly higher land than the senior citizens complex and does not flood as much.
The Ocean City Housing Authority uses federal funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to provide affordable housing for low-income senior citizens, families and the disabled at its Pecks Beach Village and Bayview Manor facilities.