State gets 43 bids for Union Station revitalization project
By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on March 29, 2009 2:00 AM
Architectural firms' letters of interest for the Union Station revitalization project have arrived - more than 40 of them.
"We're very pleased with the turnout there. It's a long process, but we're excited to be moving on it," said Craig M. Newton, senior project engineer for the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The committee received 43 letters from firms around the country expressing interest in turning the historical building into a modernized and fully functional multimodal public transportation center. Project officials expected the Station would generate a lot of interest, but an uncertain economy likely added to the competition.
"We knew it would probably be more than typical because of the environment of the economy," said Julie Thompson, president of the Downtown Goldsboro Development Corporation.
The committee members sorted through the bulk of the letters and plan to organize a short list of candidates this week.
The steering committee is also discussing how to arrange interior features like ticket counters, bathrooms and offices while placing exterior structures to the best, safest and most efficient effect and remaining true to the historical significance of the station. They plan to have a basic format prepared in time for the winning architectural firm to step in and take over the designs.
"We hope to have the layout done about the same time as the architect is ready to start," Julie Thompson said.
The early and tentative layout designs include several exterior features that will require entirely new construction, including a bus terminal and outdoor waiting area. Funding for the exterior structures may not come from the exact same sources as the money dedicated to Union Station itself, and will likely utilize a combination of funds from federal, state and local sources, Ms. Thompson said.
"We're getting parts of money from wherever we can get it," she said.
Greyhound plans to contact the city this week with information on the specifics of what they will need to operate service from the reinvented station, and other plans are still in the works with the NCDOT Rail Division.
The Union Station revitalization project won't be awarded to a company based on which firm comes up with the lowest offer, Newton said. The committee will instead negotiate the fee once they've decided on the winning company.
"We're making it based on who's best qualified," Newton said. "The primary criteria is simply whether they have recent, relevant experience on similar projects."
Among those criteria are whether they've worked on projects of size and scope matching that required by Union Station, and the firms' previous experience with renovations of historical buildings.
The handpicked candidates will be asked to submit a more detailed proposal, and the committee will further narrow down the possibilities by an interview elimination process.
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