Conway Corporation board members voted to enter into contract negotiations with Nabholz Construction for the future Arnold Innovation Center during the January meeting on Tuesday.
CEO Bret Carroll said they formed a committee to review request for quotes from five companies that reached out including Nabholz, Salter Construction, Flintco Construction, Corco Construction and Wagner Construction.
Of the five, he said, the committee narrowed it down to the first three and invited them in for an interview.
“They all were outstanding,” Carroll told the board. “They all had good projects under their belt. They all did a good job with their presentation to us.”
He said there were several priorities for the committee to consider as they looked at contractor recommendations.
“We were especially pleased to have local companies in the running,” Carroll said. “We looked at experience with projects similar to what we are looking for in this project and how the company could manage construction in a tight construction zone.”
The CEO said they ultimately felt that the best fit for this particular project was Nabholz.
“We recommend to the board that you authorize us to begin negotiating with Nabholz to enter into negotiations for construction management services,” Carroll said.
The overall estimate for the architect for construction, furniture, fixtures and equipment is around $2.7 million, but he said they won’t know the actual price until they talk with Nabholz.
The Arnold Innovation Center, named in honor of former CEO Richie Arnold who started with the company in 1978, will be located where the current Conway City Hall is.
In June 2018, the city entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Conway Corporation to lease the current building to the corporation for the site of the AIC – the building at 1201 Oak St. was built for First State Bank, which opened in 1960. It was made Conway City Hall in 1986.
In 2018, city officials voted to buy the Federal Building at 1111 Main St. in downtown Conway to renovate for the new City Hall.
“The facility will become the epicenter of Conway’s startup community,” Conway Corp Board of Directors Chair Johnny Adams said when announcing the center during the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual banquet. “With plans for co-working space, leasable office suites and seminar facilities, the Arnold Innovation Center will provide a continuum of space for Conway startups as they grow.”
City officials were set to move into the new location at the beginning of the year but Carroll said, after speaking with mayor Bart Castleberry, that date has been later moved.
“Apparently, there’s an elevator issue that’s causing it to take a little longer than anticipated,” he said.
Conversations with the city’s communication’s coordinator, Bobby M. Kelly, proved that true.
He told the Log Cabin Democrat on Tuesday that the elevator system is taking longer to install because they’re replacing the whole thing, but that was it.
“That’s the snag,” Kelly said. “Just the logistics of getting an elevator installed.”
Carroll said Conway Corporation budgeted to get the entire project done by 2020 but told the board that will likely not be the case, carrying into 2021 instead.
“Obviously, there’s not much we can do until they vacate that facility,” he said.