Plaza landscaping up for debate, bidding

With a misunderstanding regarding landscaping, the stadium authority is now taking bids after the construction firm says it wasn’t part of the bid.

While the Vikings and Adrian Peterson are in a bit of a standoff, they’re not the only potential bidding war the Vikings are facing.

This week, bids are being sought from architectural firms to submit proposals for landscape designs for the plaza area adjacent to the new Vikings stadium. The plans are for landscape design for the West Plaza, located in the area of Fourth and Fifth Streets between Park and Chicago Avenues.

The bid had initially been awarded to the architectural firm HKS Sport & Entertainment Group, based out of Dallas, but last month the firm informed the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority that it was going to need more money to do the work.

In discussions with the MSFA, officials from HKS, the architectural firm that won the stadium design project, said the cost of doing the designs for the plaza would run somewhere between $700,000-800,000. There was some debate among the MFSA members, as embattled MFSA Board Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen, who has been at the center of some politically-charged exchanges over her role on the commission, said it was her understanding that the plaza design project was part of the overall bid award program.

Instead of forming a new deal with HKS, the MSFA and the Vikings opted to open up the RFP (Request For Proposal) process to other firms. Typically, a longer formal bid process is undertaken to lay out the bid specifications and receiving sealed bids with a deadline, but the matter is being fast-tracked by the MSFA because the construction period for the plaza is one of the most time-sensitive projects that is part of the overall stadium/Downtown East design plan.

The hope is that the MSFA and Vikings will receive a bid that will be in keeping with the vision for the area, while keeping the price as low as possible – with the expectation that, in a competitive-bidding environment, the bids may come in lower than what HKS was proposing.

It’s unclear if information will surface as to whether HKS is required by its contract award to provide the design services for the plaza, but the Vikings and MSFA appear prepared to move on quickly if an additional charge is needed to get the plaza completed.

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