PHOENIX-A $22-million parking garage under construction in Downtown is a standout public works project–not for its design, but for how it is being built. The Jackson Street Garage is the first public works construction project in the state to be built using a procurement method that takes into account the contractor’s experience, design quality and timing, as well as price.

Previously, all public works projects were awarded by low bid. However, the state legislature last spring voted to change the law, allowing contractors and architects on public works projects to be selected based on a substantive list of criteria that includes 14 major points. This new procurement method allows design/build teams to bid on public works projects.

A procurement method that takes into account factors other than price is common in the private sector and many other states. Arizona has long resisted loosening its rules on how projects are awarded.

The new procurement procedure is expected to speed the pace of projects, result in better-designed and more architecturally rich buildings and reduce the propensity of lawsuits typically paired with public works projects.

The project is being watched closely by other municipalities in the state, which plan to use the new procurement procedure, if all goes well.

The expected completion is June 2001, less than a year after the project’s start date. The garage is in Maricopa County at the corner of Jackson Street and Fifth Avenue.

Phoenix-based D.L. Withers and Stichler Design Group is the design/build team for this project.

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