Local iconic seafood restaurant Ivar’s lost its bid for a spot at Seattle Tacoma International Airport mainly because it’s not a small business, according to an evaluation scoresheet released by the airport Tuesday.
Local iconic seafood restaurant Ivar’s lost its bid for a spot at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport mainly because it’s not a small business, according to an evaluation scoresheet released by the airport Tuesday.
Sea-Tac Airport staff decided earlier this month not to award Ivar’s Fish Bar a spot in the central terminal after the latest round of competitive bids.
Port commissioners stood by that decision after hearing from the public Tuesday. But Ivar’s can file a formal appeal, said airport spokesman Brian DeRoy.
Ivar’s held the spot at the airport since 2005, and its lease was extended for the past two years after expiring in 2015.
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A spokesman for the seafood chain, which created a website to solicit public comments of support, said more than 7,500 people have sent emails to the commission.
The competition was fiercer than usual this year, with 50 proposals for 10 spots, said DeRoy. The Port sought to open up the bidding process to new firms, including small and minority-owned businesses.
The winning bid for the spot Ivar’s was vying for was Lucky Louie Alaska Seafood Shack, which is operated by a partnership between local chef Kathy Casey and Stacy House, a former director of operations for airport food-service operator HMSHost.
In the Port evaluators’ scoring, which rates the bidders on seven criteria, including their concepts and their financial proposals, Ivar’s was dinged the most for “small business participation,” scoring only 8 points in that category compared with Lucky Louie’s 20. With nearly 30 locations, Ivar’s was not considered a small business.
Company President Bob Donegan told Port commissioners during a commission meeting Tuesday that “there was no integrity in the process,” saying he had been told Ivar’s would not be selected for the spot even before other proposers had been interviewed.
During the public-comment session, many speakers backed keeping Ivar’s at the airport. But many others — small- and minority-business owners included — spoke in support of the selection process, saying it was transparent and reached those who otherwise might not have known how to compete for a spot.