LMS Sheds Light on Several Public Project Opportunities

Speakers from left to right: Lorraine Bergman with Caliente Construction, Inc.; David Seid with the City of Goodyear; Diane Reicher Jacobs with Holly Street Studio Architects; Patrick Banger with the Town of Gilbert; Reid Spaulding with Maricopa County

By Tasha Anderson for Arizona Builder’s Exchange

The latest hot topic on the AZBEX Leading Market Series list was Public Spaces, and attendees gathered at the DoubleTree by Hilton Tempe on Thursday, Sept. 6 to gain insight into the market and any upcoming opportunities.

AZBEX President Rebekah Morris explained the slightly vague “Public Spaces” title of the series as, “We’re looking at parks, we’re looking at libraries, police stations, fire stations, city halls, etc.”

Morris began the presentation by once again giving attendees a brief overview of the market with analytics taken from the AZBEX Database. “We’ve got it (the market) pegged at $350M in construction value per year. So it’s not a huge market sector, but it is a really interesting one, very niche.”

She went on to note the top owners in the Public Spaces market, with Maricopa County at 21 percent, City of Phoenix at nine percent, and Town of Gilbert and City of Litchfield Park each at eight percent. She also noted 23 percent of projects have not yet selected a design firm and 32 percent have not yet selected a general contractor.

Jails and Parks and Public Safety… Oh My!

After the quick rundown of the market, an impressive panel consisting of Patrick Banger, Town Manager for the Town of Gilbert; Diane Reicher Jacobs, AIA Principal with Holly Street Studio Architects; David Seid, Parks & Recreation Manager for the City of Goodyear; and Reid Spaulding, Deputy County Manager for Maricopa County, along with moderator Lorraine Bergman, President of Caliente Construction, took the stage to update attendees on ongoing and upcoming projects.

One of the biggest project announcements came from Spaulding as he revealed details about Maricopa County’s plan for a 100KSF-115KSF Consolidated Justice Court Facility at Mesa Drive and Baseline Road in Mesa.

“We did this project back in Avondale a couple of years ago where we essentially take four of our justice courts, which are mostly in leased facilities, and bring them together under one roof,” Spaulding said as he explained how the county plans to basically duplicate that project and add an adult probation facility component to it.

The county will seek construction funding for that project for 2019 and an RFQ for Architectural services is currently out.

Another major project update came from David Seid with the City of Goodyear regarding phase one of the 86-acre Recreational Complex planned at Estrella Park Way and Goodyear Boulevard.

“The entire site has been master-planned and we are now looking at the costing and phasing of implementing that project,” Seid explained. “We’re going to design the eastern half, which is about 40 acres which will include about a 30-acre park as well as a recreational center of approximately 30KSF-35KSF along with a nice aquatics amenity as well.”

Patrick Banger with the Town of Gilbert discussed phase one of both Gilbert Regional Park and Desert Sky Park (formerly Rittenhouse District Park) currently under construction and funding for future phases.

“We’ll map out more phases as funding becomes available, “Banger said. “As of right now, we’re anticipating a 2022 bond issue — a Parks bond issue — to complete the construction and build-out of Desert Sky Park and Gilbert Regional Park. That bond issue will probably be somewhere in the $120M range if we stick to what we’ve designed.”

Banger also updated attendees on the status of the new Public Safety Training Facility, explaining that the project is currently under design and they expect construction documents in December of this year. The Town also has a $65M bond on the November ballot that is expected to cover the bulk of the cost of the $95M project.

Diane Reicher Jacobs with Holly Street Studio touched on how the Scottsdale Civic Center Masterplan project came to be.

“It really just started out with fixing different amenities that were sort of breaking down. But with the advent of people moving to the City of Scottsdale, this space is now under pressure to grow and accommodate more and more events.”

Other projects mentioned during the panel segment were:

  • Maricopa County Animal Welfare Improvements — currently out for architectural solicitation
  • Phoenix Probation Facility Addition — expected to go out to bid shortly
  • Multiple Fire Stations and a new Police Building in Goodyear

Where to Find Opportunities

Near the end of the presentation, Bergman asked the panelists how to contact the municipalities and how attendees might be able to find a lot of the opportunities discussed. The panelists were in agreement that the best way to find opportunities is to keep checking their agency’s procurement website, as many of their projects are delivered as either Construction Manager at Risk or Hard Bid.

Jacobs, as the only panelist who wasn’t speaking from a municipality standpoint, gave attendees some useful advice on how to gain business with the agencies when submitting on a project.

“I’d like to invite the folks, at least on the design side — engineering and architecture and other kinds of planning disciplines — to consider the problem at hand in a way that is outside the box,” Jacobs said. “That’s not just based on whether you’ve done a thousand of them (projects) before, but how can you help these municipalities and these public entities create a project, define the problem in a different way and put that in your proposal.”

The next Leading Market Series on October 4th will discuss Sports Facilities. To check out dates and topics or to register for the next event, visit: http://lms.azbex.com/

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