Top Menu

Did bidding process save money on new Saints ballpark? City says no

St. Paul SaintsThough the end contract with Ryan Companies to design and build a new St. Paul Saints (independent; American Association) ballpark came in $500,000 under original estimates, St. Paul officials say a competitive bid process didn’t actually save any money.

City of St. Paul officials initially awarded the design/build contract to Ryan on a no-bid basis, but Mayor Chris Coleman changed course and implemented a bid process after criticism from other elected officials, the Taxpayers League and Gov. Mark Dayton. After the dust settled and multiple bids on the $54-million project were submitted, Ryan and crew ended up winning the bid anyway.

In theory, the city saved $500,000: the city had budgeted $4 million for design, and the winning bid from Ryan ended up at $3.48 million. One catch: that $4 million was not set in stone and the city had targeted it as a place for potential savings. In other words, the design fee probably would have ended up lower after negotiations. From Finance & Commerce:

“You could make the leap and say, ‘We saved half a million due to the RFP process,’” said Paul Johnson, of Minneapolis-based Nelson, Tietz & Hoye, the city’s owner’s rep for the project. “… Frankly, that’s not fair and not true.”

Johnson said the city believed it had some leverage to negotiate with Ryan before the project was bid.

“We were going to get real aggressive with them on their fee, basically telling them they didn’t have the expense of the pursuit of the project,” he said.

In the end, even if the bidding process didn’t lower the cost of the project — and we’re inclined to agree with the city — it did add a level of trust on the project to taxpayers. In a no-bid process, you’ll never know if you spent tens of millions wisely. With bids, you have a good idea of what the market will bear.

The new Lowertown ballpark is expected to open in 2015.

Image courtesy St. Paul Saints.

RELATED STORIES: Saints ballpark negotiations fall behind schedule; Ryan awarded Saints ballpark design/build contract; St. Paul reverves course, will let Saints ballpark contrat to bid; Opponents file TRO to halt work on new Saints ballpark; Saints ballpark design/construction reward under review; No reason to worry about gap in Saints ballpark funding — yet; Design/build team announced for new Saints ballparkSaints, Huskies ballparks pitched for Minnesota state fundsSt. Paul: We’ll request economic-development funds for new Saints ballparkAffiliated ball in St. Paul? Don’t hold your breathDuluth: We’ll continue seeking state fund for Wade Stadium renovationsDuluth Huskies unveil renovation plan for Wade Stadium; St. Paul officials confident in scoring state aid for Saints ballparkSaints ballpark funding alive — but just barelyState aid for Saints ballpark coming down to the wireSaints ballpark bill suffers setback in state SenateSt. Paul close to acquiring land for new Saints ballparkSaints ballpark funding passes hurdleSaints ballpark funding part of state bonding bill


Share your news with the baseball community. Send it to us at

Are you a subscriber to the weekly Ballpark Digest newsletter? You can sign up for a free subscription at the Newsletter Signup Page.

Join Ballpark Digest on Facebook and on Twitter!

Follow Ballpark Digest on Google + and add us to your circles!

, , , , , , , , ,