Out-of-state companies make up short list for Orange Bowl demolition
By Risa Polansky
The City of Miami this week named the three frontrunners for demolishing the Orange Bowl, none local.
The job was widely coveted by out-of-town companies: only one of the 15 respondents to the city's request for letters of interest was Miami-based.
Those short-listed to participate now in competitive negotiations are Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. of Bethlehem, PA; Cleveland Wrecking Co. of Covina, CA.; and Decommissioning & Environmental Management Co. (DEMCO) of West Seneca, NY.
One local company says it never got the chance to jump in.
Julio Otazo, vice president and principal of Miami-based MCO Environmental, said his company contacted the city Nov. 9 after reading an article about the bowl's upcoming demolition in the Miami Herald, having never seen the project formally advertised.
The city replied that the deadline to submit the survey required as part of the city's Oct. 30 request for letters of interest was Nov. 6.
"They didn't advertise it properly," Mr. Otazo said. "They were not advertising through the regular means."
The city placed the ad in "Daily Business Review, El Diario Las Americas, Miami Times, and El Libre, which are the standard publications," said Danette Perez, public relations manager for the city's capital improvements program, in an e-mail.
The city also placed an announcement on its own Web site as well as the Engineering News-Record Web site, which then included it in an e-mail newsletter.
"ENR is recognized throughout the industry and has in excess of 100,000 subscribers," Ms. Perez said. "The use of ENR also resulted in many other publications and construction-related Web sites listing information about the solicitation."
It helped the city "in gaining exposure for this project, as we were contacted by phone and e-mail by over 30 companies and received responses from 15 companies," she said.
But Mr. Otazo said he thinks "the city and the taxpayers will benefit greatly from more open, competitive bidding."
Nothing should technically have precluded his company from the process, he said.
MCO Environmental currently holds the city's asbestos contract, he said, and is certified by the city as a minority bidder.
"We've been in business 20 years, we're insured, bondable, we never have defaulted, we've never had a fine, a citation," he said. "I'm trying to see if they would open it for everyone to have a chance to bid on it."
Firms the city has short-listed for "Historic/Memorabilia & Asset Disposition Services" — essentially, salvaging the stadium's usable or valuable parts — include Atkinson Realty and Auction of Sarasota; Cowen Alexander of Woodland Hills, CA.; Great American Group of Woodland Hills, CA; Mounted Memories of Sunrise; and Schneider Industries of St. Louis.
Lori Billberry, the city's director of public facilities, said in September the city is looking to salvage "as much as we can" before demolition.
"Seats, pictures, signage — we've had people call about the turf," she said. Some may down the line serve as souvenirs, she said, and fixtures such as the light towers erected last year are still in good shape and could be used elsewhere.