Coalition places ads for 'Big J' contractor
By CAROL COMEGNO
MOUNT HOLLY Engineering companies have until March 31 to apply for the job of project manager for the battleship USS New Jersey memorial in Camden.
The South Jersey nonprofit coalition that was recently awarded the ship by the Navy for a floating museum advertised for a project manager in legal advertisements published Friday in several newspapers in New Jersey and Philadelphia.
The Home Port Alliance is asking businesses to contact Joseph Balzano, chairman of the group's construction advisory committee, and to submit responses to the request for qualifications.
"The project manager will advise the Home Port Alliance on the project from start to finish beginning with developing bids for other contracts," said David McGuigan, a retired Navy captain and president of the alliance.
He said the project covers three phases - repair and restoration of the ship, construction of a Camden Waterfront pier where it will be moored, and construction of all shore facilities including the viewing plaza, theater, two-story covered interpretive walkway and reception building.
The total project cost is estimated between $12 million and $20 million, depending on the final amount of state funding, which will determine the scope of the project. Home Port officials declined to say, however, how much they will pay a project management firm.
"That has not been decided and will be a board decision," McGuigan said.
The alliance plans to open the memorial in late summer of 2001 behind the E-Centre on the Delaware River opposite the Philadelphia waterfront at Penn's Landing. Pending its transfer to the alliance, the nation's most decorated battleship is moored at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, where it was built.
"We hope to award the management contract by June after the Navy transfers the ship to us and state funding is in place," said Balzano, who as executive director of the South Jersey Port Corp. in Camden has broad experience in dealing with major contractors. "Our committee will come up with a short list of proposed management firms and submit them to the full board."
Criteria for the management firm include at least 10 years experience, work on at least two major projects in excess of $15 million each, and having licensed engineers and architects on staff.
The alliance said some of the potential local firms that may be interested or would be eligible are Hill International of Willingboro, Hudson Engineers of Camden, Stone and Webster of Cherry Hill, and NDI Engineering Co. of Thorofare.
The state, which has at least $7 million in grants and dedicated funds for the ship, has not yet set up the mechanism by which money will be funneled to the Home Port Alliance. Stephanie Bell, a spokesman for Gov. Christie Whitman, said the state is in "preliminary discussions" with the Home Port Alliance through state Sen. John Matheussen, R-Gloucester.