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Jax Daily Record Friday, Feb. 5, 202102:06 PM EST

DIA to select Jacksonville Landing park design competitors by March 18

Downtown Investment Authority and city staff added a second prebid meeting after an “overwhelming response.”
by: Mike Mendenhall Staff Writer

First-phase bids in the city’s public park design competition for the former Jacksonville Landing site will be due March 3. 

City Procurement Division officials and Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer told interested firms in two meetings Feb. 3 and 4 that respondents’ qualifications will be scored and the top three selected by March 18. 

The city scheduled a second non-mandatory prebid conference for its Northbank Lawn/Riverfront Plaza request for proposals this week after some vendors were unable to log into the Feb. 3 virtual meeting when the city reached its Zoom account participant limit, according to DIA officials.

The meeting was the city’s latest step to select three teams to compete to design a minimum 4.5-acre riverfront park/plaza at the Downtown site along the St. Johns River.

The DIA released a request for proposals Jan. 20 seeking designs for a “vibrant and iconic public space on the premier waterfront site in Downtown Jacksonville.”

After DIA selects the teams, each will complete 50% of the design work for their proposals and receive a $125,000 stipend for the work.

Downtown Investment Authority CEO Lori Boyer takes part in a Zoom meeting for firms interested in designing the former Jacksonville Landing park space.

The plans must include a riverview corridor from Laura Street and public art pieces to be an integral part of the design, according to the RFP qualifications. 

During the Feb. 4 meeting, Boyer said the three firms will present their designs in a public workshop in late June to allow community and stakeholder input.

“The expectation for the 50% design drawings is well beyond concept plans,” Boyer said. “(It will) include a site plan, scaled design elements, a probable construction cost estimate and multiple renderings,” she said. 

DIA officials want the firm selected to have its designs complete by Oct. 1, bid construction in the fourth quarter of 2021, and break ground on the riverfront park in early 2022.

Boyer said Feb. 4 that the timeline would allow for construction costs to be part of the city’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget. 

She told firms at the Feb. 4 meeting that DIA will base criteria for the two planned private development pads on the selected public park design.

The 7.64-acre former Landing includes a 1.67-acre public parking lot that will be available for development after the city’s proposed demolition of the adjacent Main Street Bridge on-ramp.

“It may be important to limit the height on one of those parcels if it is going to affect the view of whatever the featured art piece is, or something of that nature,” Boyer said.

The RFP requires each design team to comprise a landscape architect, an urban designer and/or architect and an artist.

The DIA and city procurement drafted the RFP to ensure each team had a professional artist with a local, regional, national or international reputation. 

Boyer said this could be someone already employed by a responding architectural or design firm.

“What we were intending to preclude was a firm putting up one of their members that is an architect or an engineer of something else as their artist if that person does not have a reputation for the production of pieces of art,” Boyer said.

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