The Coastal Star

Boynton Beach: Marina work starts despite legal challenge

ABOVE: A conceptual rendering of the $1.6 million Harbor Master project that is under construction near the fuel dock at Boynton Harbor Marina. Rendering courtesy A.W. Architects.
BELOW: Construction is underway at the Harbor Master building near the fuel docks at Boynton Harbor Marina north of the Two Georges restaurant. Courtesy of Boynton Beach CRA

By Willie Howard

    The latest renovation project at Boynton Harbor Marina, the Harbor Master building, was under construction in mid April despite a lawsuit filed by West Construction that seeks to stop the work.
    Attorneys for Lake Worth-based West, the lowest bidder on the Harbor Master project, filed suit against the Boynton Beach Community Redevelopment Agency on March 13, less than a week after Lake Mary-based Collage Design and Construction Group broke ground on the building.
    Collage was the second-lowest bidder on the contract.
The complaint against the CRA, which owns the marina and awarded the construction contract to Collage, asks a judge to stop the work and award the contract to West.
    The lawsuit claims that stipulations in the invitation to bid on the marina project — including a requirement that the bidders had not been a party to litigation or arbitration arising from a public project within the past two years — violate Florida law.
    West filed a protest of the contract award to Collage, claiming the responsible bidder qualifications were “arbitrary, capricious, vague, indefinite, uncertain, unclear and exclusionary.”
    CRA attorney Ken Spillias said the judge will not consider West’s request for an injunction until after a hearing on the CRA’s motion to dismiss the case. The hearing on the motion to dismiss the case is scheduled for May 5, Spillias said.
    “It is still our position that there is no legal basis for the entry of an injunction,” Spillias said in an April 17 email.
    The Harbor Master project will include restrooms, a ship’s store, landscaped open space and new fuel pumps. It’s part of a multi-phase redevelopment of Boynton Harbor Marina, which was purchased by the CRA in 2006.
    Earlier work on the marina included building a decorative entry sign on Ocean Avenue and rebuilding the boat slips and the fuel dock.
    Future marina projects will include tearing down a two-story building near the Sea Mist III drift boat docks on the west side of the marina to create open space with benches and landscaping, said Michael Simon, assistant director of the CRA.
    At about 1,500 square feet, the Harbor Master building will include an office for the dockmaster, who currently works from a metal shipping container at the fuel dock.
    The project is scheduled for completion in January if it’s not delayed by West’s complaint.
    “It’s going to be a big improvement,” said Bill Forbes, captain of the Great Day charter fishing boat moored near the Two Georges restaurant. “This place has come a long way.”
    Capt. Geno Pratt of the Geno IV charter boat said he will be glad to see the new Harbor Master building completed.  
    But Pratt said he would like the CRA to expand public parking at the marina. He said marina parking spaces become scarce on weekends, especially during the winter season.

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