Seven firms in hunt for Mill parking contract

March 14, 2013 9:49:26 AM

Carl Smith - [email protected]


Seven entities have expressed interest in handling the architectural development of an $8 million Starkville parking facility tied to The Mill project, while two firms are vying for the project's construction manager title, an email obtained by the Dispatch states. 


The email states Unabridged Architecture; Belinda Stewarts, AIA; JBHM Architectural Services; Dale & Associates; Pryor & Morrow; Shafer & Associates; and Beard & Riser Associates have each expressed interest in the architect/engineer portion of the project. Harrell Contracting and Copeland and Jones expressed the same interest for the construction manager portion of the project, the email states. 


A review committee is scheduled to meet 8 a.m. Friday at City Hall to discuss proposals for the project, formerly known as The CottonMill. Starkville aldermen officially formed its portion of the six-person group March 4 to vet proposals for the four-level, 650-space parking deck. An $8 million Community Development Block Grant through the Mississippi Development Authority is tied in with the project. 


Requests for proposals (RFPs) were recently published for those services and deadlined for 5 p.m. March 6. 


Originally, the city was to have two representatives - Starkville Mayor Parker Wiseman and an alderman - on the review committee, but the board amended the proposal to include three total aldermen. Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, Ward 4 Alderman Richard Corey and Ward 5 Alderman Jeremiah Dumas will serve alongside Wiseman, a Mill representative and a Mississippi State University liaison. 


Phylis Benson, a project analysis with the Golden Triangle Planning and Development District, told aldermen in a February memo that David Shaw, MSU vice president for research and economic development, and Mill developer Mark Castleberry have both expressed interest in sitting on the committee. 


The committee will rate all proposals associated with architectural and construction manager searches with a 100-point scale based upon qualifications, experience and project personnel. 


Once the committee finishes its review, negotiations will begin to determine a mutually satisfactory contract first with the highest-rated firm. If a contract cannot be negotiated, the firm will be requested to submit a best and final offer in writing. If an agreement cannot be reached then, negotiations will begin with the next best-rated group. 


This process will continue for both searches until a mutually satisfactory deal is struck. 


The Mill development now focuses on transforming MSU's historic Cooley Building into a conference center, constructing a nearby hotel and developing parcels in the land adjacent to the university's old physical plant. 


Officials have yet to determine a specific location within the proposed development for the parking deck, but Wiseman said earlier this month the project would boost the potential for dense development by providing parking needs and because of the area's proximity to MSU. 


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch