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Committee selects five firms for Gas Plant engineering

Mark Parker

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While evaluation committees typically select their top-ranked firm from a list of finalists to complete municipal contracts, St. Petersburg’s $6.5 billion Historic Gas Plant District redevelopment is an atypical project.

A group of city officials and Tampa Bay Rays and Hines representatives decided last Friday (Jan. 26) that five shortlisted firms all possessed much-needed skillsets. Stantec, Kimley-Horn, Wade Trim, Langan and Clearview Land Design will now share civil engineering responsibilities throughout a 20-year construction process.

After the announcement, Brejesh Prayman, capital improvements director, said city administrators planned to select multiple engineering firms due to the redevelopment’s scope. He explained that the additional help would also increase opportunities for small businesses, minority-led subcontractors and disadvantaged workers.

“For a project with this size, this length, you can’t force and commit that amount of resources – that would be unfair to the general industry,” Prayman told the Catalyst. “Hearing from all these firms, they’re also looking to help mentor by bringing in students …”

Edmonton, Canada-based Stantec received the highest scores among the finalists. The company also has an office near the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport.

Stantec has worked on several local projects, including the Dali Museum’s new immersive geodesic dome. However, the firm’s contributions to downtown Tampa’s Water Street redevelopment drew specific comparisons to the Gas Plant project.

Evan Birk, transportation design manager, credited Stantec’s plan for the traffic grid surrounding a new ballpark. Catherine Corcoran, senior capital projects coordinator, noted that the global company was the only finalist to include a green infrastructure specialist.

“Stantec probably has the strongest experience as a general consultant with a wider spectrum of services,” Prayman said. “But they also have tremendous experience with projects of this complexity and size.”

Evaluation committee members included Catherine Corcoran (left), senior capital projects coordinator; Brejesh Prayman (center), capital improvements director; and Bill Wiener Jr., chief people and community officer for the Tampa Bay Rays. Photo by Mark Parker.

He explained that one firm will likely handle master planning while others focus on implementation throughout the Gas Plant redevelopment’s three phases. Detroit-based Wade Trim’s proposal and presentation ranked second.

Founded in 1926, Wade Trim also operates a downtown Tampa office. Tolly Kusen, a Hines associate, appreciated the firm’s commitment to completing stadium work in time for the 2028 baseball season.

“I also liked how they mentioned that they don’t bring designs to the table; they bring value,” Krusen added. “Which I think is really important given the timeliness of this project.”

The committee also credited Wade Trim’s focus on public engagement and stormwater management expertise. Diane Smillova, wastewater engineer, noted the firm’s efforts to develop young professionals.

New Jersey-based Langan Engineering ranked third. The company has offices in St. Petersburg and Tampa and previous experience working with Hines.

The firm’s resume includes the multi-purpose Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. Corcoran appreciated Langan’s focus on landscape architecture that combines aesthetics and functionality.

Birk said the company’s proposal included future utility space, an important aspect for a “legacy project” that will continue to evolve. Krusen called Langan a “very strong group and well-qualified for this project.”

Tampa-based Clearview Land Design will also contribute to the Gas Plant’s redevelopment. When the company emerged as a finalist among 10 applicants, engineer Matt Goolsby said the “small local firm” hoped to “be involved wherever we can.”

Corcoran said she thought Clearview’s project approach was comparatively narrow and did not incorporate the “human experience.” However, the committee said the firm possessed other specific strengths that would bring value to the project, including understanding permitting and stormwater requirements.

While Raleigh, North Carolina-based Kimley-Horn finished last in scoring, Prayman noted just 12 points separated the first and fifth firms. The company also has an office in St. Petersburg and prior experience with the Rays/Hines development team.

Kimley-Horn previously worked on Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves and a frequent comparison for what the public-private partners hope to build in St. Pete.

Krusen said Kimley-Horn’s familiarity with the development team provides a “unique perspective” and “greatly enhances their project approach.” He believes the firm’s relevant experience increases its ability to meet a demanding schedule.

Corcoran credited Kimley-Horn’s proposal for including new transportation technologies. “They obviously have a firm grip on the project goals,” she added.

An evaluation committee previously selected Kansas City-based Populous to design the $1.3 billion ballpark to anchor the Gas Plant’s redevelopment. New York-based Skanska USA, which led the $92 million St. Petersburg Pier project, will help coordinate efforts as the city’s owner’s representative.

 

 

 

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    Velva Lee Heraty

    January 30, 2024at6:49 pm

    The 92 million dollar pier was budgeted for 30 million so Skanska USA involvement is a concern for me. Can someone tell me, among all these players, who’s watching the money?

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