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Bids too high for apartment project, official says

A construction crew levels the site of a planned apartment complex in Hancock in September, Rae Yost/Stevens County Times

Bids for the planned 12-unit apartment complex in Hancock were rejected because the lowest bid was about $600,000 over budget, said Kevin Shipley, president of Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation.

The low bid submitted on Sept. 19 was about $1.74 million from Gopher State Construction. The bids ranged from $1.74 million to $2 million.

"We are working with the architect now to see if there are things we can scale back in the project," Shipley said this week.

MMCDC is "still committed to the project," Shipley said. But, the planned fall construction will likely start this spring.

MMCDC is a partner of Community Development Bank in Hancock. MMCDC is a private nonprofit company providing commercial and home mortgage lending, as well as housing, business and community development services throughout Minnesota and the Midwest, its website said. The city of Hancock and Stevens County each contributed to the demolition of four buildings on 6th Street in Hancock to make room for the planned apartment complex. MMCDC would own the complex.

Although the lowest bid was higher than the project's budget, "we can't complain about the contractors," Shipley said. The bids were not significantly different than each other, he said.

The hurricanes in Texas and Florida happened when bids were being sought. The contractors may have anticipated difficulties in obtaining construction material and higher costs when they formed their bids, Shipley said.

Six bids were received by BHH Partners, the project architects, on Sept. 19. Bill Holtti of BHH said they didn't expect that many bidders because many are booked at this time of year. Holtti said a few contractors who had expressed interest in the project did not submit bids.

One potential bid was rejected because of a lack of required documents.

Shipley said it's possible MMCDC could work with the apparent low bidder from Sept. 19 . Or it may rebid the project.

"We will have to talk to the architect...," Shipley said.