County team set to endorse firm for Metrozoo master plan
county selection committee has recommended the county manager negotiate
with one of five firms vying to develop a new master plan for Metrozoo.
Gregg, chief of planning for parks and chairman of the selection committee,
said the county's cone of silence rule forbids his disclosing the
firm's name until county commissioners get the recommendation.
be going to the manager very shortly," Mr. Gregg said. "The
commissioners will see the item before their August recess."
the running are Zoo Plan Inc., The Portico Group, CLRdesign Inc.,
Arden Architectural Group and the Patrick McBride Co.
part of an effort to redevelop the zoo in deep South Dade at the former
Richmond Naval Air Station and the adjacent South Miami-Dade area
as a tourist destination.
important for the zoo and the Zoological Society of Florida to get
the plan going because it sets the stage for redevelopment of the
zoo," Susie Torriente, an executive assistant to County Manager
Merrett Stierheim, said last fall, when a snag threatened the process.
by all five companies were deemed unresponsive because all were missing
some elements required by the request for proposals, she said. To
avoid having to initiate another request, and wait for more proposals,
the county commission waived competitive bidding procedures to allow
Mr. Stierheim to negotiate with the bidders directly. A selection
committee, headed by Mr. Gregg, was then formed.
of the five bidders' proposals:
Plan Inc., a 27-year-old zoological group, suggested researching the
community to draw inspiration for future expansion, including staging
a series of local television programs in which viewers could call
in with recommendations.
should be geared to operating within the funds the community could
provide, the firm said, and the zoo, not the surrounding area, should
be the first focus of renovation.
Portico Group, which designed the San Francisco Zoo South American
Gateway and the Toronto Zoo African Tropical Rainforest, placed its
emphasis on creating small, high quality exhibits that would surprise
and excite people, providing variety and a quality experience. The
firm also suggested more marketing, specifically more signage on the
Florida Turnpike and surrounding roads to make people aware of the
Inc. calls for the development of a "South American Adventure,"
with visitor-friendly exhibits. The group calls for two- to three-day
workshops every 30-45 days to address topics of interest to the business
community as redevelopment proceeds.
Architectural Group, a South Florida-based company, recommended an
initial study to evaluate market conditions, determine the basis for
expansion and pinpoint the type and size of new zoo facilities for
Patrick McBride Co., a 20-year veteran zoological design firm, updated
the zoo's master plan in 1988 and also designed the popular South
American Rain Forest and Asian River Life exhibits. The firm recommends
the zoo create new exhibits that foster visitors' "one-on-one
connection" with the animals.
ideas include a demonstration study, new guidelines for architectural
and engineering firms to steer the redevelopment, new physical assessments
and incorporating community comments and suggestions into any redevelopment