22. September 2005

Portus Group submitted winning bid for concert hall project

As was announced at a formal ceremony held in Reykjavík’s Culture House, Portus Group submitted the most attractive tender for the design, construction, and operation of the concert hall, conference centre, and hotel (TRH) in Reykjavík’s east harbour area, according to the conclusion of the judging panel and the experts from the East Harbour Project. Portus Group is owned by Iceland Prime Contractor, Landsafl Ltd., and Nýsir Ltd.

The Board of the East Harbour Project has decided to conclude a project agreement with Portus Group.   The tender offer is based on the assumption that the initial expense for the concert hall and conference centre will be slightly more than ISK 12 billion.

IPC to act as prime contractor

IPC will act as the prime contractor for the project. Portus Group’s architects are HLT — Henning Larsens Tegnestue A/S — and Batteríid Ltd. Design management will be carried out by Batteríid, HLT, and the engineering firm Rambøll Danmark A/S.  The engineering firms Hnit Ltd. and Hönnun Ltd. will act as technical consultants.  The building’s appearance is, to a large extent, the creative work of artist/designer Ólafur Elíasson. Vladimir Ashkenazy will be Portus Group’s artistic consultant regarding events scheduling for the first years of operation. 

A judging panel was appointed and assigned the task of evaluating the bids and proposals. Members of the panel were Stefán Baldursson, Kristrún Heimisdóttir, and Orri Hauksson.  Assisting the judging panel were various sub-committees, consultants, and experts.

In evaluating the proposals, the panel gave special consideration to five primary factors, with construction factors such as architecture, area planning, interior building design, and concert hall design weighted at 45%.  The strength and competence of the bidders was weighted at 5%, as was the operation of real estate and garage facilities.  The business plan weighed 25%, and services and facilities for the Iceland Symphony Orchestra and other artists, together with the management scheme and scheduling proposals, weighed 20%.

According to the judging panel’s comments, which former National Theatre Director Stefán Baldursson presented in the Culture House today, there was stiff competition between the final proposals submitted by two bidders, Portus Group and Klasi/Fasteign.  In the end, though, the winning proposal from Portus Group received the top score in five of eight categories; that is, architecture, garage operations, business plan, financial and executive strength, and scheduling and operational plans.

“It is the unanimous opinion of the judging panel that the winning proposal is magnificent in every way and that the building will be a landmark, a jewel in the centre of Reykjavík,” said Stefán in his speech. He went on to state that the company submitting the winning bid was a strong and financially robust enterprise and that the proposal entailed a management scheme that would guarantee operations that are ambitious from an artistic point of view in addition to providing the Iceland Symphony Orchestra with excellent facilities, thereby achieving all of the project’s primary cultural objectives.

Initial expenses ISK 12 billion

Both bidders are bound by their proposals for a period of 120 days following the submittal deadline, so that in the unlikely event that it proves impossible to conclude an agreement with the winning bidder, the East Harbour Project may initiate negotiations with the other party.

The Portus Group bid assumes that the initial expenses for the concert hall/conference centre complex will be just over ISK 12 billion, but the East Harbour Project’s revised expense estimate forecasts initial expenses at approximately ISK 8.5 billion, including costs for lots and parking facilities.  The East Harbour Project announced that despite the higher-than-expected initial expenses, both bids continue to assume that the annual contribution from the owners of the East Harbour Project — that is, the State and the City of Reykjavík — will be a maximum of ISK 600 million during the life of the contract, as was previously decided.

Transformation of mid-town Reykjavík

According to the Portus Group proposal, the concert hall/conference centre building will be situated toward the eastern end of the lot.  The building will stand partially on a landfill area that will be constructed in the so-called East Bight of the harbour, where the wharves will be moved outward.   The total floor area of the concert hall and conference centre will be roughly 23,000 m2, which will include a concert hall that seats 1800, a 750-seat conference hall that can be partitioned in two, a chamber music hall seating 450, and a small hall with space for 180-200 guests.  Plans also include the construction of a hotel that will be as large as the concert hall/conference centre complex and will be built on the western portion of the lot.

The proposal also includes plans for the development of the adjacent lots, which the winning bidder will purchase and build on at his own expense.  The total construction involved exceeds 80,000 m2 and will transform the look of downtown Reykjavík.


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