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Cummings Research Park Master Plan Update

Request for Proposals


I.
II.
III.
IV.

General Background Information


Scope of Services
Requirements for Submittal
Terms and Conditions

I.

General Background Information

The Chamber of Commerce of Huntsville/Madison County (The Chamber) is seeking qualified


respondents to provide a proposal for services to engage in a master planning update process for
Cummings Research Park (CRP). One of the world's leading science and technology business parks, CRP
was founded in 1962 on 3,843 acres in Huntsville, Alabama. Park residents include nearly 300 Fortune
500 companies, local and international high-tech enterprises, US space and defense agencies, a twoyear college and research university. CRP is owned by the City of Huntsville and managed by the
Chamber of Commerce. A Board of Directors governs the Park, and board members are appointed by
the Huntsville City Council.
In recent years for a variety of reasons, CRP occupancy has declined. As the Park recently marked its
50th anniversary, stakeholders recognized that CRP was overdue for an update. Based on initial
conversations with stakeholders there are several factors that should be considered in the master plan
update, and they can be divided into two primary areas physical and cultural.
Cultural factors:

The current composition of CRP is heavily dependent on federal funding which makes it
susceptible to sequestration and other federal budget challenges;
There is a sense that the current way in which CRP is marketed does not appeal to emerging
commercial and technology companies;
There are few opportunities for collaborative engagement among CRP companies that would
add value to residing in the Park versus other locations;
The physical environment presents a cultural challenge to talent recruitment. Todays
workforce is gravitating toward more multi-use environments and away from homogenous
office settings.

Physical factors:

The zoning and land-use framework should be evaluated to strike a balance between
maintaining exclusivity of character and embracing contemporary development and workplace
models;

The physical connections with adjacent resources like the University of Alabama Huntsville
(UAH) and Redstone Arsenal do not reflect or enhance the existing or potential collaborative
opportunities. For example, there is little in the way of walkable connections beyond the CRP
boundaries, and there is unmet demand for business incubation;
This lack of connectivity is also reflected internally, as many of the buildings and campuses are
perceived as islands;
Over time, the boundaries of CRP have become blurred, and it is not always clear what is in
CRP and what is not. This is exacerbated by a lack of articulated gateways at the main
entrance points to the Park;
Fiber infrastructure is not of the capacity that would be consistent with the demands of a hightech research park;
CRP East and CRP West have, due to a variety of factors, developed and aged differently. They
may warrant different treatments in future planning.

The position of Director of CRP is currently vacant, so the Chamber has hired a consultant as the CRP
Master Planning Project Manager. This consultant has been meeting with stakeholders, including both
current CRP companies and companies that have left the Park. He will provide input to this process and
assist with access to companies and stakeholders throughout the master planning process.
The CRP Board of Directors, the City of Huntsville, the Huntsville Industrial Development Board and the
Chamber, as well as those individuals and businesses with a vested interest in CRP, are anxious for the
Park to continue its role as an economic driver within the region. To do so, it is recognized that all
involved need to take a realistic and unfiltered look at how the existing model might be
underperforming and how it should be improved and modernized. To that end, respondents will be
asked to provide services on two fronts: Market Positioning and Master Planning.
II.

Scope of Services

Market Positioning. Respondents should conduct an analysis of the Parks existing performance within
the international research park network, and suggest strategies to prepare CRP for an evolving
marketplace. Particular attention should be paid to:

Diversifying the roster of industries that are attracted to CRP;


Identifying criteria that are in demand by target industries;
Understanding the demands of the current and future workforce, and how the Park might make
itself more attractive to that workforce;
Updating the marketing/branding/recruiting for the Park;
Developing closer/better articulated partnerships with the tenants at Redstone Arsenal and UAH
(and other local institutions, as applicable);
Initiatives to develop and grow a culture of collaboration and identity among Park tenants;
Strategies for strengthening the technology focus and reputation of the Park, among its tenants,
in the region, and internationally.

Means, methods and alternative approaches based on the respondents expertise will be considered
so long as they support the goal of a revitalized and vibrant CRP.
Master Planning. Respondents should provide a review of the existing CRP master plan including land
use, zoning, regulatory framework, design guidelines, deed restrictions, amenities, connectivity, et al.
and suggest updates to those elements and others. Considerations should include:

Suggestions for new zoning categories, particularly those supportive of mixed-use development,
as well as recommended changes to existing guidelines and restrictions;
Locations of new land-use types, including considerations of new mixed-use or commercial
nodes, or activity centers, and should the analysis dictate strategic introduction of residential
program;
Improvements to the mobility network, particularly around bicycle and pedestrian
accommodations, both within CRP and between CRP and its adjacent centers of employment
and commerce;
Additional amenities parks, greenways, recreational facilities;
Identification of distinct character areas within CRP, possibly taking advantage of the differences
between East and West CRP;
Improved physical connections to the surrounding areas, including but not limited to UAH,
Redstone Arsenal and the University Drive corridor;
Strategic gateway initiatives including Park signage.

Master planning should be done in close coordination with the CRP Master Planning Project Manager,
who will facilitate the involvement of the CRP Board of Directors, the City of Huntsville, the Huntsville
Industrial Development Board and the Chamber.
Although much information has been gathered through an Advisory Council process and by the CRP
Master Planning Project Manager, respondents could conduct stakeholder meetings and interviews, in
person or by phone. Recognizing the scale and importance of this effort, the respondent is encouraged
to propose in some form of partnership, to maximize the qualifications and experience brought to bear.
III.

Schedule

The Master Planning process is on an accelerated and fixed time schedule. The goal of the Chamber is
to have a complete plan to present to stakeholders by December 2015 with the intent of implementing
any required zoning or ordinance changes in the first quarter of 2016.
Proposals must be submitted by June 1. The Chamber expects to select a firm/team by June 12.
A Q&A call will be held on May 11 at 10 a.m. Central time. To receive the call-in number, interested
parties must submit a letter of intent to propose and include a point of contact with email address to
Lucia Cape (lcape@hsvchamber.org) by 5:00 p.m. Central time on May 8. Questions and answers will
be captured and shared online. The URL for the Q&A will be shared with firms/teams that submit a
letter of intent or inquire after the call.

IV.

Requirements for Submittal

Cover Letter. List the team members and identify the primary contact person. Please include phone
number, facsimile number and e-mail address. Provide a brief summary of why the proposed team is
qualified to perform the services needed as outlined in this RFP. The letter must be signed by an
authorized principal of a firm included on the proposal. It should also include a statement that the
proposal will remain valid for not less than 180 days from receipt of the proposal by the Chamber.
Team Description. Provide general information for any and all firms listed, including the following:

Contact person, title, telephone/facsimile numbers and e-mail address;


Team lead (if applicable), main address, telephone/facsimile numbers and e-mail address;
Address, phone and facsimile numbers of office from which services will be provided, if different
from above;
Description of the firm size, number of employees, and a description of expertise;
Identify the individual who will serve as project manager for the team and describe the project
manager's prior experience with efforts of similar scope and size;
Profiles of key staff, including the Project Manager, who will be involved in the effort and their
previous experience with research park planning and analysis.

Analysis and Planning Process. Clearly outline how the Team proposes to accomplish the scope of work.
Include a timeline of meetings, delivery of drafts and reports, and suggested products.
Master Planning Budget. The Respondent should propose a budget for preparing a Market Analysis and
Master Plan for Cummings Research Park. This should be accompanied by a description of the tasks and
timeline associated with developing the end products.
Proposals will be accepted electronically through a Dropbox account. In order to obtain a Dropbox
link, each firm/team must send a point of contact with email address to Lucia Cape
(lcape@hsvchamber.org) by May 22 at 5:00 p.m. Central time. A link will be sent to the point of
contact the following week.
V.

Terms and Conditions

This request for proposals is not an offer or a contract. The Chamber reserves the right to accept or
reject any or all proposals and is not obligated to contract for any product or service described in the
request for proposal. The Chamber is under no obligation to accept any proposal, nor is the Chamber
obligated to accept the proposal providing the highest value, as there are many other non-monetary
factors which will be considered in the review and analysis of the proposals. Each respondent, by
submitting a proposal, agrees that it will not seek any legal recourse against the Chamber for any matter
related to the Chambers actions, inactions, or utilization of or related to the proposal.