Ivar’s lost the bidding war to hold onto its location in Sea-Tac Airport’s central terminal to another seafood restaurant. The underlying reason for that, according to a summary and score sheet, appears to be related to be because of its lack of “small business participation.”
Ivar’s President Bob Donegan told Todd Herman that it raises more questions than it answers.
“So I’ve seen that analysis … It confused me the port rated them lower on that other bid when rated against us,” he said.
The Seattle Times reports Ivar’s Fish Bar will be replaced by Luck Louie Alaska Seafood Shack.
Donegan says he believes the decision Ivar’s would no longer be in the space it has occupied since 2005 was made before evaluations were even complete.
“We got together with the evaluation committee to look at areas we haven’t fully explained or explained unclearly,” he said. “Guy who ran the process … pulled me aside and said, Bob, you are not going to win. That confused me because he hadn’t finished interviewing all four bidders and the committee certainly had not met yet to evaluate things. So, I don’t know how he knew that.”
There were seven criteria that the port used to judge the bids, including consideration for small businesses. According to Donegan, Ivar’s lost points because it is not a small business. But he argues that they should have been evaluated more fairly and scored higher because of another criteria — historic heritage.
The restaurant is appealing the decision.
Officials at Sea-Tac have maintained the process was fair and nothing is personal.
“We are not kicking them out,” Sea-Tac spokesperson Perry Cooper said. “It’s actually part of the competitive bid process that all of our dining and retail redevelopment is going through right now. So, in this last group that was approved, their specific spot was up for bid and they did not win.”
According to Cooper, Ivar’s lease ended in 2015 and they have been “holdover.” Like all leases that have expired at Sea-Tac, according to Cooper, Ivar’s went through an “open,” “thorough,” and “fair competitive bid process.”
“Anyone who bids could finish on top of the scoring, the current tenant or someone new,” he wrote in an email. “In this case Ivar’s didn’t finish with the top score.”
Listen to the full interview with Donegan here.