Definitely an unfortunate turn of events. It also puts the city in a tougher negotiating position when Fallon has “set the market” so to speak by publicly altering the financial terms of their bid fairly dramatically.
I hope we hear something on this soon. I see they were going to revise the RFP before opening it back up again. Curious as to what it will include, especially in regards to the existing building. Hopefully the lot doesn't sit empty for too long, the longer that building sits the harder it will be to save. If that's even feasible at this point.
The city has opened the RFQ process back up with submissions due by November 9th. Realize the city has implemented some limitations on the project (affordable housing benchmarks, preservation of existing building) but man this is an absolutely prime site. Two blocks either direction from Brightleaf (undergoing significant revitalization by new owner) and the soon to be under construction ATC West.
Dang! I really liked the "runner up" plan from last time. But yeah, it's a key location that deserves attention, and I do hope there is a significant volume of affordable housing, ideally targeting households under 50% AMI, since it's so close to the main bus station.
Looks like Durham has chosen 6 new finalists. Including the return of Akridge. I haven't seen any renderings yet as I read through these. Its mostly general info, (such as including affordable housing), development approach, and info about the company. This time Durham only wanted developer qualifications, not any specific plans for the site.
Good to see Akridge in the mix again (the link to their response is not working for me btw).
While scrolling through the Silverstein and Tramwell-Crow responses, I got the sense that they're rather well-established developers with deep and notable portfolios. Is that just me and my naivete?
Granted, the goal of these responses is partially to sell themselves as a company and showcase their talents, but I was really struck by their completed projects. Perhaps that's a sign of what's to come, but it's probably too soon to tell.
Ah, that's a surprise! I'd heard first-hand that it was a no go (my colleagues were the architects for the Akridge proposal last time around).
Too early to pick a favorite from the RFQ. It looks like only one of them committed to a design team, and I actually think that is much more influential to the quality and uniqueness of the proposal than the developer. Amazing developers have partnered with lackluster designers in the past to produce mediocre results that aren't up to par with the rest of their portfolio. Conversely, a great architect can push a less ambitious developer in new directions.
To that end, I'm intrigued by the Trammel-Crow team. Evoke Studio is a fresh local firm with amazing talent and vision. And Perkins&Will, who was behind Akridge's previous design, would be on board too.
There were 15 responses to the initial RFQ and the 6 were selected from that group to submit proposals during the RFP stage. The city will review the submissions then invite “select” firms to an interview round after which they will advance to negotiations with the preferred development partner.
I don’t see where the RFP responses are posted but this document gives an overview of the two finalists. I *think* I prefer the Ancora site layout slightly with the open public space fronting Chapel Hill St. They are discussing at the City Council working session on the 26th.
Interesting that the two finalists are essentially the same teams as before.
1. Akridge has partnered with the same design team, and you'll notice a lot of similarities between this design and the previous proposal, which I posted renderings of earlier on in this thread.
2. The Ancora team is essentially the former Fallon design team & partners but just a different developer. Hard to judge from this one rendering, but the proposal appears less ambitious than before and the design quality has suffered. I actually think preserving open space along Chapel Hill is totally the wrong move. A strong urban front here is crucial, because the two neighboring buildings (the Mutual Life Tower and the former Police HQ building) are so set back. Leaving that amount of open space will never let this area feel active or urban; it'll just appear like dead left-over space. The amount of plaza being preserved in the Akridge proposal on the other hand could really feel vibrant with the right retail there.
It seems the city got nowhere close to what they were hoping for with financial offers. Interested to see what happens.
Wow well I just listened to the city council work session and they really are going to scrap this and start over. Unbelievable. I’m sure prospective development partners will be super excited to embark on yet another dead end process whenever they get a new RFQ underway in 2-3 years. Everyone involved said their #1 priority was to deliver new affordable housing so of course they chose the option that pushes that furthest out in the future. The fact of the matter is that both of these proposals met the critical objectives for the site and would deliver huge value to the city, well in excess of the $10MM or whatever they want in financial return.
Jillian Johnson actually said “we don’t have a need for commercial space downtown”. I was absolutely flabbergasted.
I’m overly excited about this at the moment but this is a huge disappointment and step back for the city.
Was there any talks about next steps? If they are able to wrangle more funding to deliver the project they want, that sounds great. If this is just more delays with no additional funding, it sounds like this lot is going to sit empty until the end of time. This project isn't going to get cheaper the longer they wait