Baltimore's Board of Estimates opened bids yesterday from four local contractors vying to build a 550-car garage and plaza next to Pennsylvania Station, and they found that all four were under the city's estimate of $9.6 million.
Jos. Aversa & Sons submitted the low bid of $9.14 million for this key project of the Penn-North renewal area. Roy Kirby & Sons bid $9.39 million; Omni Construction Co. $9.47 million and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. $9.53 million.
City officials opened bids for the same project last April but decided todiscard them and seek new ones after two of the four bidders protested that their competitors did not comply with the Schmoke administration's goals for hiring minority-owned businesses.
Harry McCullough, project manager for the city's Department of Transportation, said the latest bids still must be reviewed for compliance with city regulations but that he was happy with the figures.
The lowest bid is "lower than we had last time," Mr. McCullough said. "That's a step in the right direc- tion."
If a contractor is approved by the Board of Estimates within the next several weeks, site work could begin before the end of the year and the project could be completed by late 1993 or early 1994, Mr. McCullough said.
The two-deck garage is to be built below street level in the area bounded by Charles and St. Paul streets,the Jones Falls Expressway and the south wall of the train station.
The project originally was planned in the early 1980s to serve train passengers and help spur redevelopment along Charles and St. Paul streets south of North Ave- nue.
In recent years, the Schmoke administration obtained a combination of federal, state and city funds to pay for construction.
Sources include city off-street parking bond revenue, state motor vehicle revenue and funds from the Federal Railroad Administration and U.S. Urban Mass Transit Administration.