By Amaris Elliott-Engel
Of the Legal Staff
While the state's public works developer is moving ahead with plans to develop a new family courthouse in Philadelphia, the process has been slowed while the office responds to a protest to its decision on awarding the electrical contract for the building, a state Department of General Services spokesman said.
DGS spokesman Troy Thompson said Hampton Technologies Inc. filed a protest Jan. 22 to DGS's decision to award the electrical contract to the Farfield Co. of Lititz, Pa.
DGS's process in response to protests to its contract awards is to have its contract officer file a response, to have the protesting party file a reply to the contract officer's response, and then to have the DGS secretary or the secretary's designee make a decision on the protest, Thompson said.
The matter is pending until a decision is made by DGS Acting Secretary Sheri Phillips or her designee, Thompson said.
All of the contracts have to be in place before the project moves ahead because all of the ultimate contractors need to be involved in the planning process, Thompson said.
The construction contracts also must be fully executed before DGS buys the real property at the courthouse site at 15th and Arch streets as part of the bankruptcy settlement of private developer Northwest 15th Street Associates, Thompson said.
Northwest filed for bankruptcy last year because the original Family Court deal structure unraveled upon the revelation that the court's tenant representative had struck a codevelopment agreement on the other side of the transaction with Northwest.
But in the settlement of Northwest's bankruptcy, the state plans to buy the air, surface and developments rights at 15th and Arch streets from Northwest, which has a mortgage for those rights from the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The settlement will not be considered finalized until the sale of the real property rights closes.
Court leaders were worried that Gov. Tom Corbett would not support a project championed by former Gov. Edward G. Rendell, but the project has received Corbett's support, The Legal previously reported.
The four contracts that DGS awarded in January for general contractor, mechanical, plumbing and electrical would equal $122,447,000, $60 million less than the $200 million budgeted to construct the courthouse.
Amaris Elliott-Engel can be contacted at [email protected]