The high-powered construction firm that built the Promenade Towers in downtown Los Angeles and the Tom Bradley Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport and that helped restore the San Francisco cable car system was the low bidder Wednesday for the largest single portion of the Metro Rail subway project.
Tutor-Saliba Properties of Sylmar, which linked up with S. J. Groves & Sons Co. of Minneapolis, came in with a bid of $61.5 million--nearly $15 million less than the $76.3 million that the Southern California Rapid Transit District's engineer had projected.
The Tutor-Saliba/S. J. Groves bid was one of eight submitted to dig two adjacent 5,900-foot-long, 18-foot-diameter tunnels from Union Station to 5th and Hill streets as well as build the Civic Center Metro Rail station. The 37-month project is expected to begin in March.
The low bidder is not automatically selected for the lucrative contract. In the coming weeks, RTD officials will pore over the Tutor-Saliba bid to determine if it is "responsible and responsive" to the project's needs. A recommendation will then be prepared and an award made at the RTD board's Feb. 12 meeting, a district spokesman said.
Two other firms that submitted bids of less than $70 million for the tunnel project were the Granite-Massman/Marmolejo partnership of Watsonville, Calif., ($68.3 million) and the Walnut, Calif. firm, J. F. Shea Co. ($66.1 million).
To the surprise of some district officials, the high bidder Wednesday was the same joint venture partnership that was selected last week as the low bidder to build the first portion of the Metro Rail project from 7th and Flower streets to Wilshire and Alvarado boulevards for $26.3 million. The joint venture teaming Denver-based M. L. Shank Co. with the giant Tokyo-based Ohbayashi Corp. submitted an $80.8-million bid for the latest subway project construction.
Tutor-Saliba is ranked among the top 50 firms nationally in a number of major contracting categories, according to the April, 1986, Engineering News-Record magazine.
In recent years, the firm has built the 531-unit Promenade Towers apartment complex in downtown Los Angeles; the five-level, 963,000-square-foot Bradley Terminal at LAX, and the $51-million Piper Technical Center warehouse for the City of Los Angeles. The firm was also involved in the restoration two years ago of the historic cable car system in San Francisco.
In 1983, the city Board of Public Works attempted to refuse bids from Tutor-Saliba because of allegations that the firm had failed to hire and subcontract with minorities in building the $67-million water reclamation project at Sepulveda Reservoir. But the company, arguing that it had made a good-faith effort to comply with the minority hiring and subcontracting requirements, overturned the board's action in court.
The S. J. Groves & Sons Co. has been involved in a number of heavy contracting projects, including a light-rail project linking Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash.