NASHVILLE - State officials are evaluating six sealed bids on office space for housing nearly 400 state employees who are moving out of the State Office Building and James R. Mapp Building in Chattanooga.
Bidders include Tallan Holdings Co., Henry G. Luken III, Osborne Building Corp., TallanBeltline@ Howell Mill LLC, Pointe Property Group Inc. and East Nooga LLC.
State officials decided to move employees out of the buildings based on recommendations by Jones Lang LaSalle, a real estate firm, which says they are too costly to operate. The firm called the State Office Building "functionally obsolete."
Employees in agencies ranging from the departments of human services to revenue would relocate to the leased space in March 2014.
The request-for-proposal offers were made last week under a new process that outsourced state leasing as well as operations of state buildings to Jones Lang LaSalle. Acting as the state's broker, the company gets a 4 percent commission when a lease is completed.
General Services' officials say the bids are kept secret until Aug. 19, after the agency evaluates and scores them. That's the same day the agency is seeking approval from the State Building Commission's Executive Subcommittee.
Completion of the cost proposal evaluations is expected by July 24, but the Tennessee Department of General Services maintains state law says the proposals do not have to become public until the same day as the actual recommendation on a winning proposal goes before the State Building Commission.
The law states "sealed bids for the purchase of goods and services, and leases of real property, and individual purchase records, including evaluations and memoranda relating to same, shall be available for public inspection only after the completion of evaluation of same by the state."
Officials offered no clear explanation other than "policy" for denying the public access to the proposals before Aug. 19. The state expects to finish negotiations and "negotiated cost proposal evaluations" on Aug. 14.
The state is also closing down four other buildings in Nashville and Memphis and mulling over similar RFPs.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfree press.com or 615-255-0550.