Warehouse Demolition Project Results in Headaches

Article excerpt

A small, dilapidated warehouse in Bricktown is causing members of the MAPS Citizens Oversight Board lots of headaches and before it's over, will cost Oklahoma City tens of thousands of dollars more to tear down.

The Hamilton Warehouse, located at 301 S. Compress, was bought by the city in a condemnation proceeding for a little over $65,000.

The warehouse, which has holes in the walls and has become a home for transients, sits squarely on land being developed as a parking lot for the ballpark in Bricktown currently under construction. About two months ago city officials let the project out for bid and received several bids, including one from Cherry Trucking of Oklahoma City. Cherry bid $8,000 to demolish the building and clean up the site. The only problem, however, is that Cherry filled out his bid form the same way he had done on a previous MAPS job -- incorrectly. Even though he was awarded the previous job with a defective bid and completed it to the satisfaction of the city, the Oklahoma City Municipal Counselor's Office stepped in this time, admitted it made a mistake on the previous bid, and told the MAPS board and the Oklahoma City Council that to award the new bid would violate state law. At that time in early October, another company -- Gann Co. of Oklahoma City -- should have received the bid, according to city rules and regulations. City officials, including the MAPS board, decided then, however, that Gann's bid -- about $14,000, was too high compared with Cherry's $8,000 bid and decided to re-bid the project. The project was re-bid Dec. 10. This time around, the stakes have increased. It now will cost Oklahoma City residents $30,000 to tear down the warehouse -- about half the purchase price -- which is the winning bid submitted by Gann Co. In effect, the cost to tear the warehouse down went from $8,000 as originally bid by Cherry Trucking to $14,000 originally bid by Gann to the $30,000 current Gann bid -- all because officials were trying to get the best deal. …