Bristol Group, Inc.--Union Station Venture
B-298110: Jun 2, 2006
- Full Report:
Bristol Group, Inc.--Union Station Venture protests the location amenities requirement in solicitation for offers (SFO) No. 4DC0275, issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) for office space for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Bristol asserts that the requirement is unduly restrictive and that the agency intends to apply undisclosed evaluation criteria that could preclude Bristol from receiving award.
We deny the protest.
B-298110, Bristol Group, Inc.--Union Station Venture, June 2, 2006
DOCUMENT FOR PUBLIC RELEASE
The decision issued on the date below was subject to a GAO Protective Order. This redacted version has been approved for public release.
In solicitation for leased space, requirement that offered building be located within 2,500 walkable linear feet of various amenities is not unduly restrictive; requirement is reasonably aimed at ensuring that tenant federal employees will be able to walk to and from eating establishments and conduct other errands within the time allotted for lunch.
Bristol Group, Inc.--Union Station Venture protests the location amenities requirement in solicitation for offers (SFO) No. 4DC0275, issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) for office space for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
The SFO sought 88,000 rentable square feet for VA, to be located in the Central Employment Area of Washington, D.C. The SFO, as amended, provided as follows regarding the location amenities:
A variety of inexpensive fast food and moderately priced sit-down cafeteria or table service restaurants must be located within 2,500 walkable linear feet [WLF]; and a variety of other employee services such as retail shops, cleaners, banks, etc., must be located within 2,500 [WLF]. To meet this requirement, amenities must be existing or the offeror must demonstrate to the reasonable satisfaction of the Government (i.e. through evidence of signed leases, construction contracts, etc.) that such amenities will exist by the Government's required occupancy date.
SFO, para. 1.3(A)(3). 
A contracting agency has the discretion to determine its needs and the best method of accommodating them; we will review the agency's judgment for reasonableness. Parcel 47C LLC, B-286324, B-286324.2,
GSA has established that the location amenities requirement reasonably reflects its actual needs. GSA explains that the types of amenities specified in the SFO are common in city locations, and that developers commonly include retail space inside buildings in central employment areas to accommodate the ordinary and reasonable needs of their tenants. Contracting Officer's Statement para. 8; Agency Report (AR) at 6. VA employees are allowed 30 minutes for lunch and need to be able to walk to the amenity and back, wait in line, order, and eat their lunch within that break time. Contracting Officer's Statement paras. 7, 9; AR at 6. GSA also notes that one of the VA offices to be located in the solicited space provides training, outreach, and assistance to veterans, including disabled veterans, and thus will likely have disabled veteran visitors. Contracting Officer's Statement paras. 5, 7. Because of the length of time it takes to walk 2,500 feet and back, GSA concluded that eliminating the maximum distance or allowing some greater distance would leave employees with insufficient time to eat or accomplish errands during their lunch break. AR at 6. Despite the 2,500 WLF restriction, [deleted] offerors, including
In its comments in response to the agency report,
While an agency does not have the discretion to announce one evaluation scheme in a solicitation and then make source selection decisions based on another--Hattal & Assocs., B-243357, B-243357.2, July 25, 1991, 91-2 CPD para. 90 at 7--there is nothing to suggest that GSA has changed the evaluation scheme here from that set forth in the amended SFO, or that it intends to apply undisclosed criteria. In this regard, although VA expressed a requirement for [deleted], the contracting officer explains that, based on a market survey, she determined that [deleted] would not be considered a special requirement and that VA both understood this and approved the SFO without the requirement. Supplemental Contracting Officer's Statement para. 3. In any case,
The protest is denied.
Anthony H. Gamboa
 An earlier version of the location amenities clause called for employee services amenities to be located within four blocks of the offered building.
 In response to another protest filed by Bristol, which involved a similar 2,500 WLF requirement, GSA explained that the average person could walk 2,500 feet in approximately 7.5 minutes, making for a potential roundtrip of 15 minutes to travel and leaving only 15 minutes for eating or carrying out other errands. Bristol Group, Inc.--Union Station Venture, B-298086, B-298086.3,
 Bristol's allegation of a VA bias is based on a declaration from VA's management analyst that [a]fter a site visit to [Bristol's] building . . . I again expressed the requirement that both employees and visitors to the VA location be able to have easy access to amenities that would allow them to meet their 30 minute lunch allotment. Declaration of Management Analyst para. 5. This communication simply restates the importance of the location amenities requirement to VA; it in no way indicates a bias on the part of VA or GSA.