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VERO BEACH - The city of Vero Beach is reviewing two proposals to develop the city-owned properties known as the “Three Corners Site.”

The location of the three parcels is the intersection of Indian River Boulevard and 17th St., at the foot of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge, site of both the city’s wastewater treatment plant and the old post office.

In February, the city issued a Request for Proposals from planning firms to lead a planning and design process, including community participation. Two responses were received, from Port St. Lucie-based Calvin, Giordano & Associates, Inc. and Miami-based DPZ Co Design.

An evaluation committee was formed to evaluate and rank the responses. The evaluation committee consisted of Jason Jeffries, Director of Planning and Development, Monte Falls, Director of Public Works, and Cheri Fitzgerald, Principal Planner. The committee interviewed the two respondents to the RFP.

At the April 2 Vero Beach City Council meeting, Mr. Falls recommended DPZ CoDesign. He reported that all three members of the evaluation committee ranked DPZ CoDesign first and Calvin, Giordano and Associates second.

“At virtually the geographic heart of greater Vero Beach, it appears evident to us that these parcels have the potential of providing a public space, or commons, to figuratively and physically unite the communities on both sides of the Indian River Lagoon,” read the proposal from DPZ CoDesign. “With the downtown neighborhoods and the beachfront village on either sides of the Alma Lee Loy Bridge often serving very different populations, these three sites hold great promise in accommodating functions and venues to celebrate the coming together of all who call Vero home.”

“DPZ CoDesign is considered the more qualified firm based on its approach to engage the community in a design process for the three city-owned properties and the quality of previous relevant work by the firm,” Mr. Falls said. “The firm's approach to the project includes a multi-day design charrette that will engage the community in the development of the design and the preparation of, at least, five scenarios for the city's consideration.”

“If Council desires to enter into a professional service agreement for planning services for the Three Comers Site, Council should authorize staff to enter into negotiations with the firm that City Council determines will best meet the needs of the City,” Mr. Falls said.

The two companies submitted very different proposals with very different fees. DPZ proposed a fee of $148,660. Calvin, Giordano & Associates proposed a fee of $57,840.

That wide difference in fees was one of the main reasons the council decided to delay their decision. Council members indicated they were having difficulty comparing one proposal to the other.

Council member Harry Howle suggested that the city enter into negotiations with DPZ CoDesign, but he was only joined by Mayor Val Zudans. New council member Robbie Brackett, Laura Moss, and Tony Young joined to defeat the motion with a 3-2 vote.

Council members indicated they would review the proposals and public comments and revisit the issue over the next few months.

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