By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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On Tuesday morning, Mark Grant, owner of Grant Steel Buildings Systems of Port Townsend, was at the Boat Haven supervising the removal of the Marine Exchange building, which is being razed to make way for an $839,984, two-story 4,000-square-foot structure scheduled for move-in by Sept. 1.
“We expect that the building will be torn down today or tomorrow,” Grant said.
“We need to clear out the debris, get the utilities in and get the site pad ready.”
The prefabricated building will arrive June 10 on five flatbed trucks. Grant and his crew will assemble all the parts.
Grant said it will “absolutely” be ready for occupancy Sept. 1, something that was in jeopardy after a rival bidder challenged the port's awarding of the contract to Grant's company March 15.
The port already has leased out its current office at 375 Hudson St. to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife effective Sept. 1, though that department has told the port it plans to move in Sept. 10 because of the Wooden Boat Festival, set Sept. 6-8.
As it turned out, the project was delayed only a few days since demolition probably would have taken place last week, Port Director Larry Crockett said.
Primo Construction of Carlsborg, west of Sequim, was the apparent low bidder, but the contract was awarded to Grant because staff members said Primo's bid was nonresponsive.
Grant's bid for the building's construction was $17,005 higher than Primo's $822,984 bid.
Port staff said Primo didn't include a delivery date for the pre-engineered metal building and did not show five years of experience with metal buildings.
Primo said in its appeal filed March 19 that it had provided a schedule and had noted metal-building construction experience.
Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper ruled Friday that the contract was properly awarded and that he intended to deny the challenge.
Harper gave Primo until noon Monday to file an appeal, but over the weekend, port officials were advised that no challenge would be forthcoming.
Crockett and Grant signed the contract for the job at 12:01 p.m. Monday, and Grant placed an order for the building Monday afternoon from plans submitted with his bid.
A city building permit is expected to be issued Monday.
Crockett, who was on hand for the demolition, said the building dates back to the 1930s and has been used for a variety of functions.
The new building will have an “industrial look and feel” that is compatible with the Boat Haven, Crockett said.
“We are creating a building that will be here for decades to come and will make it possible for us to keep all our operations in one place,” Crockett said.
The new building will house staff members. Port commission meetings will be conducted in an auxiliary building at 333 Benedict St., which is where the port was located before moving to Port Hudson in 2004.
The new building may be a little less comfortable for Crockett.
“I'm trading an office that has a view of Mount Baker for one that looks over the Safeway gas station,” he said.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at email@example.com.