WASHINGTON: Port Tampa Bay board members will vote next week on a nearly $1.8 million contract with a Tampa builder to improve one of its cruise terminals. The proposed contract with Reno Building LLC is scheduled to be voted on at the Jan. 17 meeting. The contract covers improvements to Terminal 6 which Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) will use as a homeport for its cruise ship Rhapsody of the Seas. The terminal requires improvements that will include a 7,277-square-foot expansion of the ticketing area, 32 new ticket counters, 28 new baggage tables and an increase of parking west of the facility.
Port Tampa Bay has five seasonal ships during the winter cruise season plus the port of call visits by AIDA Cruises from Germany. For fiscal year 2017 and fiscal year 2018, Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas ships will begin their seasonal home porting in late October and December 2016, respectively. They will both sail in and out of Tampa through April 2017. Additionally, last month Royal Caribbean said it would begin service between Tampa and Cuba on April 30, with the recently revitalized Empress of the Seas, a 2,070-passenger, 668-crew member cruise ship. In a statement from the upcoming meeting agenda, port staff said it had “reviewed the qualifications and experience of Reno and recommends it be awarded the contract in an amount not to exceed $1,780,727.25, which includes a 10 percent contingency fee for any unforeseen conditions that may arise from the current dive inspection or that may otherwise arise during the project.” The port staff noted three school renovation projects performed by Reno. Among them were projects for Berkeley Preparatory School, Hillsborough County Schools and classroom space for Prince of Peace Lutheran Church.
Reno is a privately-owned, Tampa-based construction company whose primary focus is on education and medical projects in Florida, according to its website. Reno was the low bidder, beating out its closest competitors Batson-Cook Co. of Tampa, West Construction Inc. of Lake Worth and four other Tampa companies. Reno is a small business enterprise and plans to use six other SBE firms to do surveying, painting, cleaning, electrical, material testing and demolition work on the terminal project. The project was included in the port’s fiscal year 2017 capital program at $1.5 million.