RFP: Greater Downtown Waco Master Plan & Economic Development Strategy

RFP: Greater Downtown Waco Master Plan & Economic Development Strategy

Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce

Greater Downtown Waco Master Plan & Economic Development Strategy

The Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce (The Chamber) requests proposals from multi-disciplinary consultant teams to create an economically-based urban design vision and implementation plan for a public/private redevelopment initiative for the Greater Downtown Waco area. The Chamber envisions more than a billion dollars worth of private investment over the next decade and seeks to develop the greater downtown area by design to accommodate 100,000 new resident and 60,000 new jobs by 2050.

In 2006, the citizens of Waco expressed a common vision for our community through a community visioning project. One of the five major goals of the project was to "strengthen the heart of the community". Additionally, several public and private planning efforts have been completed or are currently underway that address downtown and the river corridor. The aim of this effort is to better link existing and emerging public and private sector priorities with local plans, projects and development strategies in a way that will synergize efforts to achieve a common vision.

The plan will be comprehensive in scope incorporating elements of land use, transportation, urban design and strategic planning into a coordinated vision that provides the community with a unified path forward to realizing our full potential. This plan will focus on developing strategic Gateways, Corridors and Centers within the heart of the community to accommodate future growth and will seek to identify and implement strategies designed to:

• Further develop our existing and future destination centers;
• Improve connections between our community's assets via investment in strategic corridors; and
• Employ a context sensitive approach to future growth patterns and development initiatives.

Greater Downtown must prosper as the heart of our region with housing, shops, work places, attractions, schools, civic facilities, parks and greenbelts, grand boulevards and neighborhood streets that are well connected within and to other centers of the region, state and nation by clean, efficient and affordable means of transportation. To achieve this we believe that our efforts should be focused on attracting by design half of our projected population and employment growth (2010-2050) to the Greater Downtown area.

This vision/plan will be a bold, imaginative and transformative. Incremental progress is not enough-the Heart of City Vision/Plan must be transformative. The plan will be guided by principles of sustainability, place-making will be a priority, and our vision will be based on market realities and achievable growth scenarios. This effort should deliver a plan to position Downtown Waco as the epicenter of activity in the Central Texas Region.

The consultant team must provide development options that are both ambitious and achievable. Special consideration should be given to public realm activity and improvements; transportation infrastructure; entertainment and event venues; supportive and complementary land uses; large scale anchor projects and the connections between them.

In order to achieve the vision for downtown and the river corridor we must have the enthusiastic support of the community; therefore, it is critical that the residents of Waco take an active role in defining our vision for the future.

In order to encourage citizen participation and commitment to the vision the plan will:
• Assist in developing and implementing programs and policies that support the defined vision and local community goals.
• Identify partnerships that will cooperatively identify and advance local land use and economic development goals.
• Engage a variety of stakeholders from the private and public sectors throughout the planning process.
• Provide a compelling vision for the next phase of Downtown's revitalization that will capture and enhance the economic impacts created by new investments.
• Identify development opportunities and linkages to the area surrounding downtown
• Utilize existing assets including Lake Brazos and Baylor University that can drive new development
• Provide strategies for using circulation patterns created by multiple venues and events to create additional synergy between investments and provide a comfortable and attractive environment for residents and visitors
• Utilize current, accurate, and comprehensive data
• Provide graphically attractive, highly visual, and easy-to-use products
• Incorporate best practices with regards to urban design, transportation, economic development, and sustainability
• be action oriented

It is imperative during this next planning phase to take a fresh look at how new and proposed investments in downtown can be supported and enhanced. This may include planning for specific residential, commercial, mixed use, public space, and infrastructure developments. This should be based on sound economic research that considers the multiplier effects created by signature projects. The plan should recognize the role that buildings will play in defining the public life of Downtown and, in particular, the character and quality of the streetscape as shared public space. The plan should also look toward infill opportunities within and surrounding downtown and focus on sustainable strategies for neighborhood redevelopment following established Low Impact Development (LID) and emerging Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design for Neighborhood development (LEED-ND) practices.
Deadline for Submission
Proposals should be received no later than by 5:00 p.m. CST on Tuesday, November 25, 2008. Packages should be mailed to: Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Attn: Chris McGowan, P.O. Box 1220, Waco Texas 76703. Delivery may also be made to 101 S. 3rd Waco Texas, 76701

Respondents shall restrict all contact and questions regarding this RFP and selection process to the individual named herein. Questions concerning terms, conditions and technical specifications shall be directed in writing to: Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, Attn: Chris McGowan, P.O. Box 1220, Waco Texas 76703. OR via email at [email protected] (preferred).

A copy of the complete proposal is available at: http://www.wacochamber.com/EDimages2/DowntownRFP.pdf.

Posted October 21, 2008

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