Miami says Omaha firm the best fit for Marlins Stadium garage work
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
As Miami negotiates a contract to hire Omaha-based architectural firm Leo A. Daly to design the Marlins ballpark's parking garages, city officials insist goals to hire local workers will still be met.
The staff presented in the firm's proposal is made up of Miami residents, said Capital Improvements Director Ola Aluko in an e-mail Tuesday.
Leo Daly, an international architecture, planning and engineering firm, has a local office of about 20 employees at 3390 Mary St. in Coconut Grove.
Mr. Aluko said that as a requirement of the selection, the firm must adhere to the personnel listed in its proposal and any staff replacements over the design and construction phases require city approval.
Miami's department of capital improvements received 19 proposals for the garages' design.
The runners-up included five locally-headquartered firms: Miami-based Bermello Ajamil & Partners and Arquitectonica, and Coral Gables-based Spillis Candela DMJM, Rodriguez & Quiroga and Wolfberg Alvarez & Partners.
Mr. Aluko said a selection committee chose Leo Daly based on its experience and qualifications, capabilities and the proposal's thoroughness, among other attributes.
The ballpark's garage facilities estimated at $94 million include two five-level garages on the north side of the stadium and two six-level garages on the south side. The four garages total 4,840 spaces and are to feature a foliage design with art and advertisement displays on the side walls, development plans show.
Garages on the north side, facing Northwest Seventh Street, include 61,678 square feet of retail space at ground level, plans show.
For such a large-scale project, selection committee member Art Noriega said he liked Leo Daly's extensive garage experience in projects around the county. Mr. Noriega is Miami Parking Authority's chief executive officer.
He said that while the parking authority has never worked directly with Leo Daly, it has with one of the firms on its team.
That firm is parking consultant and structural engineering firm Timothy Haahs & Associates, Mr. Noriega said, which the parking authority has hired for parking garage projects in the past.
In fact, Mr. Noriega said Pennsylvania-based Timothy Haahs, with offices in Miami, is the lead design firm in the courthouse garage the authority is building downtown to house its main offices.
Locally, Leo Daly is the architect of the clubhouse the city is building at the Melreese Golf Course and previously designed the new terminal for American Airlines at Miami International Airport.
The firm's local office managing principal is Miami-Dade County Public Schools board member Agustin J. Barrera.
The city conducted its search for an architectural and engineering firm in February, weeks before the project was approved.
Mr. Aluko said the city had to start early because the negotiation process to hire a firm is lengthy.
"By starting the process early, we can ensure a design completion and construction commencement in line with the construction of the stadium," he said.
The parking is the only work planned for the first phases of the ballpark complex that is not under stadium and infrastructure contractor Hunt/Moss, a firm hired without a bid process.
Mr. Aluko said it was not necessary to require a bid waiver on the parking element as well because "95% of the garage construction is above the ground and can be coordinated with much more ease than below-ground infrastructure which ties into the function and operations of the stadium."
He added the garages' construction is also shorter, allowing more flexibility in coordinating the work.
Mr. Aluko said the city is still negotiating consulting fees and scope of services with Leo Daly.
A final contract should reach the city commission next month for a final vote.