Osceola approves Perkins+Will contract for Judge Farms masterplan

Osceola County Commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a $625,000 contract with Perkins+Will to create a master plan for the Judge Farms research park.

The Austin, Texas-based firm beat out seven other design firms in March for the chance to transform the site of the new Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center into a global player in the high-tech sensor industry. 

County Planning Director Kerry Godwin said the design team began its initial assessment of the 500-acre site even while contract negotiations were ongoing. 

"We met with them several weeks ago and talked specifically about the building under construction," Godwin said. "They met with staff to review all the projects that are in permitting, and they toured the area."

With the commissioners' approval Monday, the county can officially issue a notice to proceed for the eight-month contract. 

"They're highly qualified, and they've done similar projects throughout the U.S., so from that standpoint I'm excited to work with them," Godwin said. "It's a great project. They can't believe how successful the county has been in getting so much done so quickly." 

The teams' portfolio includes master planning for established research parks, such as Huntsville, Alabama's Cummings Research Park and Research Triangle Park in North Carolina, as well as new research parks affiliated with Texas A&M University, University of Texas and the University of Florida. 

The contract is divided into four phases. Phase I, slated to last 10 weeks and budgeted for $190,000, includes the initial site assessment, an initial framework concept plan and high-level design guidelines. The P+W team will host a three-day charrette with county staff and stakeholders, such as the University of Central Florida. 

The charrette will cover topics such as land use, building orientation, green open spaces, transportation access, environmental sustainability and utility corridors.

"We're hoping to schedule it the first week of June," Godwin said. "Before the end of June, we'll have a preliminary report and preliminary master plan."

While the P+W team prepares design guidelines for Judge Farms, county staff and design consultants will be working concurrently to draft a set of guidelines for the E192 corridor beyond the research park. County Commissioners last week approved a six-month building moratorium for the 1,852-acre redevelopment district that extends from Partin Settlement Road to the Kissimmee city limits.

"Perkins+Will is only responsible for the Judge Farms property," Godwin said. "We may end up with higher standards on that property than we have for the corridor as a whole. The corridor may be more generic to allow for market response. We may be more specific as to the uses (and design standards) on the Farm."

Phase II of the contract calls for P+W to deliver a master plan for the research park. The team also will identify the research and development potential of the site, taking into account the local talent pool and regional technology ecosystem. P+W could even narrow in on specific target industry niches within the advanced manufacturing industry to find the ones most likely to thrive in Osceola County.

Much of Phase III is focused on fine tuning the master plan and market analysis. The draft master plan will be presented at the end of the nine-week period. It will include more detailed drawings of the street network, landscaping plans, signs and density projections. 

"The graphics will be supported by summary narrative but the typical focus of this document will be to tell a compelling story of the master plan in images and photographs," the contract reads.

During Phase IV, the P+W team will deliver the final master plan, market study and architectural and landscape design guidelines, along with recommendations for how to implement the plan - including financing strategies.

The final master plan will include "high quality" 3D renderings from aerial and street-level perspectives. The document will have detailed cost estimates, branding and market strategies, staffing recommendations and short-term and long-term goals.  

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