Eight firms competing for the contract to design Osceola County's high-tech research park have offered a glimpse into their vision for the 500-acre Judge Farm in their recent responses to the county's request for letters of interest.

The research park on U.S. 192 near the Florida Turnpike interchange is home to the $70 million Florida Advanced Manufacturing and Research Center, which is under construction and expected to open in 2017. It will also have a residential component, retail uses and public space.

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Eight teams responded to the RFLOI in December. Those proposals, which have been sealed until now, were made by: AECOM, Atkins, Jacobs, LandDesign, Perkins + Will, RJ Whidden and Associates, Sasaki and Zyscovich Architects.

Each respondant was asked to include experts in planning, marketing, park design and development of architecture design guidelines, as well as landscape architects who develop streetscapes, signage and lighting plans.

GrowthSpotter will break down all of the proposals in a two-part series:

AECOM, San Francisco, California
AECOM has proposed a five-month planning process, beginning with a vision kickoff and vision confirmation in the first three weeks. The team would conduct two charettes during the conceptual framework development and as part of the final master plan development phase.

AECOM provided economic analysis and planning for the Hong Kong Science and Technology Center.
AECOM provided economic analysis and planning for the Hong Kong Science and Technology Center. (AECOM)

Experience: The firm has designed several industrial parks in the U.S. and Mexico, including the Logistik Industrial Park, home to Mexico's first BMW plant. AECOM provided economic expertise for the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park for a plan to develop a "green technology" cluster. The firm also provided landscape architecture services for Kissimmee's Lakefront Park.

Team leaders: Keith Orlansky, principal in charge, and Greg Ault, project manager

The firm utilizes a design-build-finace-operate approach, and emphasizes its strength in placemaking. "There is a profound difference between a mere assemblage of buildings, open spaces, and civil infrastructure, and a place that resonates with individuals, organizations and cultures purposefully striving for comfort and stimulation — real place making," Ault wrote in the introductory letter.

ATKINS North America, Orlando
Along with subconsultants, Atkins proposed a seven-step process beginning with the initial investigation and site analysis. In Task 3, team members would assemble a package of comparable projects that could serve as prototypes. The team will prepare three preliminary framework concepts and up to 10 vignettes for placemaking concepts and patterns. Task 6 would be the design charette, leading to the final task, preparation of the final concept plan.

Akins designed the master plan for Osceola Heritage Park, which is directly across from Judge Farm.
Akins designed the master plan for Osceola Heritage Park, which is directly across from Judge Farm. (Osceola County)

Experience: The Atkins team was master planner for the Celebration and Baldwin Park communities, and the firm designed the master plan for Osceola Heritage Park, which is directly across the street from Judge Farm.

Consulting architects Looney Ricks Kiss provided master planning services for the 1,300-acre Meadowville Technology Park in Chesterfield, Virginia.

Team leader: Wilson McBurney

The anchor research campus will be the key component of an overall "Innovation District" that features open plan loft buildings, along with dining and entertainment options designed to appeal to the millennial workforce. The plan will create a workplace environment targeted specifically for the needs of start-ups and entrepreneurs.

JACOBS, Orlando, Florida
The Jacobs team organized its approach into four phases, each with multiple tasks. Phase one begins with conduct site analysis, stakeholder interviews. The team will conduct a full-day visioning workshop with stakeholders and conclude with a public kickoff event.

Phase two includes the transportation, land use and economic analysis. That includes a branding launch and report on opportunities for transit-oriented development.

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Phase three would entail a multi-day charette. After a full day work session with stakeholders, staff will develop five conceputal plans. Those plans will be presented to the public on the fourth day of the charette.

The final report and recommendations will be prepared during phase four, including transportation recommendations, design guidelines, funding options and implementation strategy.

Jacobs designed KACARE, a 20-acre research center focusing on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia.
Jacobs designed KACARE, a 20-acre research center focusing on renewable energy in Saudi Arabia. (Jacobs)

Experience: Jacobs recently completed a long-range master plan for Argonne National Lab's 1,500-acre campus in Chicago. Argonne announced a partnership last year with the International Consortium for Advanced Manufacturing Research (ICAMR), which will be located at the site. The firm also completed a 20-year master plan for the Kennedy Space Center.

Project managers: Dan Kirby, project executive; Tricia Quinn, project manager

The Jacobs team projects that Judge Farm could generate billions of dollars in private investment. The proposal recommends targeting housing and retail development to appeal to two major target market segments: Millennials and and primary households with families (mostly Gen X). This project should also appeal to younger workers already in the market, who are looking to move to a project which would reduce their need to commute.

A well-designed, integrated multi-generational community can serve all of these groups by providing a range of housing options (based on price, format, and tenure), along with strong access to surrounding communities, walkable neighborhoods with shopping and dining, and large format retail if appropriate.

LANDDESIGN, Alexandria, Virginia
The firm utilized a series of explorative diagrams to outline its project approach, beginning with understanding how the Judge Farm site relates to other hubs of activity, such as Disney, Orlando International Airport and Lake Nona's Medical City.

Other steps include enhancing connectivity to downtown Kissimmee, OHP and Valencia College. Diagrams envision an eco district, a village district, a community district and a research district within the property.

LandDesign designed the corporate campus for Lowe's Home Improvement in Mooresville, North Carolina. The campus is built around an 8-acre lake and includes multiple walking trails and water features.
LandDesign designed the corporate campus for Lowe's Home Improvement in Mooresville, North Carolina. The campus is built around an 8-acre lake and includes multiple walking trails and water features. (LandDesign)

Experience: The firm is currently developing a master plan for the New Orleans Convention Center district. The LandDesign team also designed a corporate campus for Lowe's Home Improvement, and developed a 50-year master plan for Research Triangle Park.

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Project manager: Peter Crowley, lead designer; Ray Waugh, project manager

The LandDesign team emphasized its committment to sustainable design. The proposal recommends using the stormwater system as a major design component, and using it to enhance the pedestrian experieance.

"Rather than relegate stormwater to its traditional back of house place, our aim is to create a dynamic lakefront experience that will serve as stormwater managament as well as the main green amenity on site. The organic forms of water will serve as a form that both complements and contrasts the urban grid form of the development," the firm highlighted in its proposal.

Part Two on Tuesday outlines the proposals from Perkins + Will, RJ Whidden and Associates, Sasaki and Zyscovich Architects.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407)420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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