Lake Geneva landmark needs repairs

A company that submitted a bid for the Riviera roof replacement project has asked that the city reconsider its bid. 

A roofing company that is offering Lake Geneva more than $75,000 in savings on a Riviera roof-replacement job has asked city officials to reconsider the company’s proposal.

Connoisseur Slate and Tile of Palmyra submitted the lowest bid among all bidders for the Riviera job at $411,625.

The city’s construction management firm, MSI General Corp., recommended a more expensive roofer based on the argument that Connoisseur Slate had not submitted all the required paperwork.

But MSI General now acknowledges it made a mistake.

As a result, members of the Lake Geneva City Council finance committee have withheld a recommendation on the roofing contract, and have directed MSI General to take another look at the competing contractor proposals.

The City Council is scheduled Oct. 14 to discuss the roofing contract.

Alderman Ken Howell said he was disappointed the city’s construction manager did not notice Connoisseur’s references and other necessary paperwork during the bid review process.

“I’m personally not comfortable with a process that’s even slightly flawed,” Howell said. “I would be more comfortable if those were brought back for consideration.”

Martin Ostrowski, owner of Connoisseur Slate, assured aldermen his proposal was complete, and he asked for reconsideration of his proposal for the Riviera job.

“I would ask you put my bid back in play,” Ostrowski said.

The roof replacement is the first step in a repair and remodeling job for the Riviera that could take two years and cost many millions of dollars. MSI General has been hired as architect and construction manager for the entire project.

At a Sept. 18 meeting of the city council piers, harbors & lakefront committee, MSI General recommended the roofing contract be awarded to Renaissance Roofing Inc. of Belvidere, Illinois, who bid was $488,855.

At the time, MSI General acknowledged that Connoisseur Slate offered a lower price, but the construction manager said the company had failed to provide references and other materials.

MSI representative Dave Luterbach told aldermen on the finance committee Oct. 1 that his company had mistakenly overlooked that Connoisseur Slate’s application was complete.

“In all perfect honesty, we did have the proposal with the references,” Luterbach said.

Luterbach, however, said he still would have recommended Renaissance Roofing because that firm, he said, has worked on more historic buildings like the Riviera, while Connoisseur Slate’s experience has been mostly with commercial buildings and homes.

“It’s more of a judgment of who we feel the Riviera should be entrusted to,” Luterbach said.

In all, the city received five bids from roofing contractors interested in the Riviera job.

Ostrowski said that Connoisseur Slate has worked on several projects in the Lake Geneva area, including repairing the roof at the Bella Vista Inn & Suites, as well as several homes along the lakefront.

The company is able to offer lower prices than competitors, he said, because it does not have brick and mortar facilities or an administrative staff for the business.

“Our numbers are going to be less,” Ostrowski said. :But our quality is not going to be any less than anyone else.”

Alderman Doug Skates said he was still willing to approve Renaissance Roofing’s bid, because, he said, it is the more qualified company for the project.

“I feel very comfortable with Renaissance,” Skates said. “I think Renaissance comes out at a much different level.”

Alderman Richard Hedlund also indicated that he still favors Renaissance Roofing, but he said the bids should be reconsidered because of the information that MSI General missed in Connoisseur Slate’s proposal.

Ostrowski declined to comment further after the committee meeting.

“I would rather not say anything,” he said.

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