By Wesley Brown
Saturday, January 12, 2013
The Greenville Redevelopment Commission next week will begin a nationwide search for a “creative and qualified” design team that will partner with the city to build — and own a portion of — a new visitor center and parking deck downtown.
The commission at its annual meeting on Tuesday outlined a four-month recruitment process that will begin Monday, when the city will officially bid the project to developers across the region, state and country.
The selected team — which must have a “proven track record of developing urban infill projects” — will work with the commission to design and manage the construction of a multi-story building downtown, said Carl Rees, who as Greenville’s economic development officer will lead the effort for the city.
As a bonus and cost-saving measure for the city, the team will serve as a construction manager at-risk for the four-level, 250-space parking deck to be located directly behind Greenville’s new Convention and Visitor Bureau, which beginning in September will return to downtown after eight years.
“We feel very good about combining the two projects,” Rees said. “It will be a first for us.”
Construction manager at-risk is a less common practice used in North Carolina, but one becoming more popular in Greenville, with East Carolina University using the method and the Recreation and Parks Department relying on it last year to build the new Drew Steele Center.
Normally, the Redevelopment Commission would go through an extensive search to procure a civil engineer and landscape architect to design and provide cost estimates for a project through a structured bidding process.
“With construction manager at-risk,” Rees said, “you are collapsing much of that to save time and money by selecting a fairly large general contractor who has qualifications in the type of project you are pursuing to price and deliver a product.”
After the city has selected a development team to complete the office building, its staff will work with the company in the contract phase to design the parking deck and then turn over construction to the at-risk manager to complete that phase of the project, Rees said.
The project will accommodate the relocation of the Greenville Convention and Visitors Bureau to downtown, provide additional commercial office space and parking close to the main campus of East Carolina University.
Office tenants are expected to create demand for as many as 40 parking spaces during daytime hours. The parking deck, which will cost the city $1.3 million, will be the first in the city.
Rees said linking the two projects together, which involves some site constraints, is expected to generate considerable savings. Portions of the parking deck site — the city-owned Moseley Lot — can be used as a staging and construction equipment access area.
The plan is for the visitor center to be constructed first, with the hope to start site work for the parking deck, estimated to take three to four months, when the official building “super-structure” is up.
Rees said the parking deck, to be pre-cast and transported downtown, will take four to six weeks to actually build.
“It is really quite amazing how fast the parking deck will go up,” Rees said.
The commission approved the proposal, saying it felt that by putting these two projects together, the city might get some “consistency in architecture and aesthetics.”
Contact Wesley Brown at 252-329-9579 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @CityWatchdog.
via The Daily Reflector.