SARASOTA — The Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization, a group of residents and civic and business leaders studying ways to improve a 42-acre, city-owned downtown tract, is seeking a designer.
To that end, the group issued a Request For Qualifications to architects and planners interested in developing a master plan for the property, which includes the 1,740-seat Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and other venues.
The request “invited best-in-class teams to submit their qualifications to lead a comprehensive master planning process for the site.”
AG Lafley, the former Procter & Gamble Co. CEO who is chair of the nine-member Sarasota Bayfront group and led a similar effort in Cincinnati, called the move an “important milestone in the transformation” of the bayfront land.
“The selected design team will engage the community in an approximately nine-month planning process to create a visionary, sustainable and implementable Bayfront revitalization strategy,” Lafley says, in a statement.
Interested design teams will have eight weeks — until Sept. 1 — to prepare their responses, and a shortlist of finalists will be unveiled in mid-September, the group says.
Those finalists are expected to meet in October for a series of community work sessions open to the public and similar to the process the city undertook in 2000 when the Sarasota Downtown Master Plan was developed by Duany/Plater-Zyberk.
A design team is expected to be announced in November.
“The creation of a professional master plan will affect our community's bayfront experience and is the catalyst for achieving our shared vision for this significant community asset,” says Michael Klauber, a Sarasota restaurateur who leads Sarasota Bayfront 20:20, a related group.
Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization has also retained HR&A Advisors, a New York consulting firm that worked with Lafley at the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. and has developed hundreds of clients over the past four decades, to help facilitate the design selection process.