May 23


Thanks to my friend Chris Chromy for forwarding this RFQ for the Nicollet Mall Design Competition!  Great timing for my post a few weeks ago about the benefits of design competitions.

Here are key details from the RFQ on how the design competition will work.  


City and MDC are seeking qualifications from multidisciplinary firms (or teams)
with a track record of creativity, design excellence, problem solving skills,
and the successful completion of similar complex urban redevelopment projects. 

City and MDC will be using a two-stage, qualifications-based selection process
that will include this RFQ and
a Design Competition that culminates in Final Presentations and  Interviews, after which the winning
firm will be selected.

the purposes of these Qualifications and the Design Competition, the City is
interested primarily in the key design team members, not the full team of
consultants and sub-consultants that will be required to execute the full
design contract (Schematic Design through Construction Administration).  The city encourages lean teams, maximum
creativity, and the use of resources on design, rather than the expenditure of
time and resources on the creation of large teams and arrangements that will
not be necessary at this stage of the process.

Stage I:  RFQ: Qualifications will be reviewed by an
Implementation Committee comprised of City and MDC representatives.  The purpose of the RFQ process will be to finalize a short list of up
to four qualified design firms that will be invited to participate in the
Design Competition.

Stage 2:  Design Competition:  The city will issue the Design Competition Brief to the approved short list of qualified firms.  Each firm will have approximately
8 weeks to complete and submit their design ideas for Nicollet Mall. The
four firms will make a single, one-day visit to Minneapolis at the end of the
competition to tour Nicollet Mall, meet with City staff, present their
submissions publically, and interview with the Review Panel, which will include
members of the Implementation Committee and the design community.  The Minneapolis City Council will approve the
winning firm based upon a final recommendation from the Review Panel.  The final design submission will be in form
of a brief PowerPoint slide show (20-30 slides) and will include four

  • The firm or team's previous work
  • Design Ideas for one enhanced connection or linkage
  • Design ideas for one block of Nicollet Mall
  • Questions and suggestions for next steps

Each team will also submit a brief proposal for full design services including team and fee as % of construction cost.

Compensation:  Each of the four selected qualified firms
will receive a stipend of $30,000 for participating in the Design Competition.  Payment shall be made upon City receipt of
the firm’s completed design submission and proposal as required by the Design
Stipend Agreement. 

Steps:  The City intends to enter into a
contract with the winner of the Design Competition for full design services
related to the reconstruction project. 
However, based upon available funding, the City may also elect to
proceed with Schematic Design phase services only, or may elect not to proceed
with design services at all.  In any
case, the City is not under any obligation to enter into a contract with the
winner of this design competition for partial or full design services related
to the reconstruction project.

I hope more agencies will test/refine this model.

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Mike Spack

My mission is to help traffic engineers, transportation planners, and other transportation professionals improve our world.

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