Fredericksburg Downtown | Request for Proposals
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Request for Proposals

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS: MARKETING FEASIBILITY STUDY FOR THE RENWICK COMPOUND IN FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA

 

  1. Introduction

This opportunity results from a $25,000 award from the Department of Housing and Community Development Virginia Main Street Program with additional funding coming from the City of Fredericksburg. This feasibility grant will be used to determine the viable options for the vacant and much underutilized Renwick Court House, the old jail, and the Wallace Library located at 809-817 Princess Anne Street in the heart of Downtown Fredericksburg. The Renwick Compound does not contribute to the vibrancy of Downtown while it stands vacant. The consultant selected to perform this feasibility study will analyze the potential of these buildings and the Community’s needs to help determine the best reuse opportunities with the intent to identify gaps in the local economic structure and provide knowledge of specific community needs or demands not currently met. This task is in line with both the City’s and Main Street’s visions.  The grant is intended to answer the question — what can these buildings become to bring an increased vitality to Downtown?

 

We desire a marketing or economic development organization that focuses on historic downtowns and historic buildings and can vet out the options of redevelopment for these buildings either as a group or individual projects. The resulting feasibility study will be shared with the City as it determines the next steps for the adaptive reuse of these empty buildings in a highly visible area of Downtown. It will set the tone for eight blocks of Princess Anne Street, in the Main Street district, where in the last four years, a new Courthouse has been built, a historic bank has been redeveloped as a restaurant, and office space, and new residential townhouses being constructed within a block of the Renwick Compound. Having these empty buildings become active components within our Downtown helps achieve Fredericksburg Main Street’s goal of a vibrant Downtown community.

 

The ultimate win would be a reuse and redevelopment project that marries the historic identity of this site with demand for modern, sustainable facilities in the core of a vibrant Downtown.

 

  1. Project Overview

Three city-owned buildings, of varying ages, sit on a property at the corner of Princess Anne and George streets. The overall lot measures 279.5 x 117.4 feet (0.75 acres). George Street has a steep grade, but the lot has been leveled out at the Princess Anne Street elevation. As a consequence, the rear lot line is 12 feet (more or less) higher in elevation than the adjoining alley between George and Hanover streets. The street corner of the lot, measuring 75 x 80 feet, is open space. The following details relate to the buildings:

 

Court House – The most prominent building on this site is the historic court house, designed by James Renwick and built in 1852. The two-story Gothic Revival building with prominent central bell tower is a unique design among Virginia court houses, which typically have Colonial Revival in style. Visitors to the court house entered through the central bell tower, which still contains the 1828 Revere Company bell made by Paul Revere’s foundry. This building occupies a frontage along Princess Anne Street of 137 linear feet, and has a footprint of 6,398 square feet. Total square footage is 13,157 and he building has been vacant for 3 years.

 

Old Jail – Directly behind the court house is an early jail constructed c. 1928.  The two-story building is built of poured-in-place concrete and cinder block, and features a decorative parapet at the roof of the primary mass. Earlier foundations extend 12 feet below the court house site and are visible from the alley below. These include brick, sandstone, and poured concrete, reflecting different periods of construction. Its footprint is 25.5 x 73.5 feet. A one-story addition at its south end, constructed with poured concrete on a brick foundation, is 25.5 x 15 feet. Total square footage is 2,131, and, other than storage has been unoccupied for several decades.

 

Wallace Library – The third building on the site is located at the corner of George Street and the rear alley. Built in 1910, the brick building was originally a one-story library with large, open interior space. In the 1970s, the interior space was modified with a second floor and the building became a two-level office building, which is its current configuration. The building footprint is 35 x 46.5 feet. Total square footage is 3,255. Property was most recently occupied by the local school board as office space, but has been vacated in the last few months.

 

The threat to the buildings is their physical condition and their lack of use. A Historic Structures Report, completed in 2016, details a variety of recommended repairs. Most important is arresting moisture infiltration, but attention is also needed to replace aging mechanical systems and to bring the buildings into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

 

The opportunities related to the buildings and the property are found in their location in the core of downtown Fredericksburg. They are within a block of Caroline Street, a daytime commercial area, and a block from William Street, an evening entertainment area. There is some parking on-site, which could be reconfigured to be more efficient, available on-street parking, and a large municipal parking lot just two blocks away. The City will replace the concrete sidewalks around this property with brick sidewalks to aesthetically integrate this area with the rest of the downtown community.

 

The City of Fredericksburg owns the land and all three buildings. The buildings are all empty and the City would like to see them adapted to new uses, either collectively or separately. Further, the open corner can be adapted, as needed, to enhance and support new uses. A plaza with four wayside exhibit panels, for instance, can be relocated.

 

The City has received funding to expand its downtown brick sidewalk network and the concrete sidewalks around this lot will be replaced in 2018 with brick sidewalks, to visually tie this complex into the rest of the downtown setting.

 

Downtown Fredericksburg has a terraced configuration, with the main streets running parallel to the Rappahannock River. Sophia Street is the lowest in elevation and occasionally floods, so many early uses were relocated from that street and many of the old structures are no longer standing. The setting is conducive to a riverfront park and new construction along that corridor is built to be compatible with flood events (first level dedicated to parking, for instance). The next avenue is Caroline Street, which is the commercial core of downtown. There are residential areas at either end of downtown Fredericksburg, but the central business district is centered on Caroline Street and an intersecting William Street. The next street parallel to the river is Princess Anne Street, where the subject property is located. Princess Anne Street is well out of the flood hazard area and historically developed as Fredericksburg’s religious/financial/governmental corridor.

 

The City’s most prominent churches line Princess Anne Street, and its oldest bank was established there as well. Government buildings include the old Town Hall, relocated there in 1814 from the lower-lying Caroline Street, the 1852 Court House (subject property), the existing City Hall (built 1910) and the new Court House (built 2013). The cross street, called George Street, is a six-block avenue, extending from the river to several activity centers around Hurkamp Park and the old Maury School. The next street to the north is William Street, which intersects Caroline Street and has developed into an active downtown destination in its own right, with numerous restaurants, a coffee house, and the Fredericksburg Area Museum.

 

This Compound is in the heart of the Main Street district (outlined above) and is vital to the overall success of the Downtown. The Renwick building has been mostly vacant for 3 years, the jail for several decades and the Wallace Library for few months. Bringing these underutilized historic buildings into a reuse and redevelopment project that benefits the Community and Downtown will have an extremely positive impact on the vibrancy of Downtown.

 

“A Historic Structures Report: Renwick Courthouse, Wallace Library and the Old Jail from 2016” is available on request for your review.

 

  1. Scope of Services

The scope of this project is composed of the following elements:

Expectation of written report and one presentation of the findings.

Feasibility Study, including:

  • Professional market demand study for potential reuse options
  • Draft Business plan and pro forma cash flow for proposed options and any development and construction budget, and financing plan
  • Preliminary design concepts and basic rendering sketches
  • Assessment of all available incentives
  • Parking analysis for proposed options
  • Code and Zoning assessments for proposed options
  • Ownership structure for proposed options
  • Management/Implementation for proposed options

 

Executive Summary, including:

  • Overview of the redevelopment options
  • Estimates for construction/rehab and timeline
  • Investment Analysis Financing/investment Structure
  • Recommendations
  • Case studies of comparable projects

 

  1. Proposal Guidelines and Evaluation Criteria

 

A site visit and information session is scheduled for February 2th at 10am at the Renwick Compound. Report directly to 815 Princess Anne Street; Fredericksburg, VA 22401.

 

Applicants should provide the following items as part of their proposal for consideration:

 

  • Description of experience in conducting market and/or economic development research
  • Description of experience in relation to historic downtowns and buildings
  • At least one (no more than three) examples of market research conducted by your organization of related work
  • Anticipated resources you will assign to this project
  • Your anticipated timeline and budget for completion of this project
  • Your project methodology
  • Total cost

 

The response to this RFP should include five hard copies and one electronic PDF file and should be submitted to Ann Glave by 5pm on February 26, 2018, to the following address either in person or mail:

Fredericksburg VA Main Street

904 Princess Anne Street, #303

Fredericksburg VA 22401

 

Any questions, reach out to Ann Glave at info@fredericksburgmainstreet.org or call 540-538-7445.

 

Proposals will be evaluated on the following:

  • Overall proposal suitability: Proposed solution(s) must meet the scope and needs included herein and be presented in a clear and organized manner.
  • Organizational Experience: Applicants will be evaluated on their experience as it pertains to the scope of this project.
  • Previous work: Applicants will be evaluated on examples of their work that demonstrate relevancy and applicability to the project.
  • Value, cost and timeline: Applicants will be evaluated on the budget and timeline on the work to be performed in accordance with the scope of this project.
  • Technical expertise and experience: Applicants must provide descriptions and documentation of staff expertise and experience.
Photo Credit: PETER CIHELKA/THE FREE LANCE–STAR/08DEC15