Metro's decision to reopen bidding on its White Flint subway station development project has angered at least two of the three building firms involved in the contract dispute and may lead to legal action against the transit agency, officials at the firms said yesterday.
Paramount Development Co., the firm that was awarded the development contract last March, said yesterday it is looking at ways, including legal measures, to make Metro honor the original contract agreement, which called for a $214 million residential and business complex.
At the same time, the Travenca Development Corp., which lost out in the first bidding war, said it deserved to win the contract all along and wants to be awarded it now.
The second losing bidder, White Flint Place Co., owned by shopping mall magnate Theodore Lerner, did not respond to inquiries about whether it planned to submit a new development proposal.
The transit agency canceled the previously awarded contract for the Montgomery County ventur Wednesday after the General Accounting Office faulted procedures used in selecting the winning bid and recommended that Metro conduct the bidding competition again.
"We can't comment on what we're going to do, but Paramount is examining the options available to them and is extremely disappointed at Metro's decision," said Steven Grigg, project director for Paramount and a vice president of its partnership firm, the Blake Construction Co.
Travenca's president, Conrad Monts, said yesterday that his firm agreed with GAO's conclusion that Paramount'sd proposal did not match Metro's contract specifications. But he argued that Travenca's proposal did conform and should not have to be resubmitted.
"We spent vast amounts of money -- in the high six figures -- to prepare our proposal, and I don't see why we should have to spend vast amounts all over again," he complained. He said the company is considering going to court or back to GAO to sustain its claim to the contract.
The basic problem with the contract award, according to GAO, was that Metro solicited bids on a lease-only basis, but then accepted Paramount's proposal for a combination lease and purchase arrangement.