Architecture & Design, Construction, and Economic Development

Pioneer wins bid for Calder Plaza redesign

Tentative plans include southeast edge planting improvements, a great pavilion with a stage, a café building.

January 18, 2019
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Progressive AE expected to wrap up the design phase of Calder Plaza in June 2019, in time for the 50-year anniversary of the La Grande Vitesse sculpture in Calder Plaza. Rendering courtesy DGRI

Grand Rapids has brought in Pioneer Construction to manage the redesign of Calder Plaza’s southeast edge, also known as phase one of the city’s master plan.

The Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority recently approved pre-construction services from Pioneer, up to $36,000 in cost, to support phase one improvements.

The city and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. sent out an RFQ for construction management services in October 2018, netting four firms. The selection team reviewed responses from Erhardt Construction, Owen-Ames-Kimball Construction, Pioneer Construction and Rockford Construction.

According to a memo from Stephanie Wong, DGRI project manager to the DDA, Pioneer Construction brought the strongest team with the expertise to meet the vision and cost evaluations of phase one.

“Pioneer Construction is thrilled to be working with GR Parks, DGRI and Progressive AE to help breathe new life and energy into this longstanding community gathering place,” said Chris Beckering, executive vice president of Pioneer. “Grand Rapidians have long been festival makers. The Calder Square enhancements will help leverage the potential of a world-class public space while improving access and mobility.”

According to the DDA memo, pre-construction deliverables include:

  • Three cost estimates at 30 percent schematic design, 60 percent design development and 90 percent construction development

  • Comparative cost studies to evaluate products and systems, and advice during the design phase on constructability, products, systems and how the design will affect work sequence, schedule and logistics

  • Vendor studies for nontypical elements of the project

  • Logistics planning for phases of construction

  • Preparation of construction schedule

  • Pre-qualification and solicitation of bidders

  • Preparation of bid package and work cope

Pioneer also has provided a percentage of construction management fees for the project. In addition to overhead and profit, the percentage includes insurance and payment bonds.

The final design, project scope and construction value have yet to be determined. Funding for pre-construction will be allocated from the fiscal year 2019 “Downtown Plan” line item, for which $325,000 in tax increment financing is budgeted.

When the Business Journal reported on the initial design phase in August 2018, the tentative plans included southeast edge planting improvements, a great pavilion with a stage and a café building.

Andy Guy, DGRI chief outcomes officer, said the basic ideas of a café space, a pavilion with an outdoor stage, enhanced landscaping and seating remain preferred amenities. The specific design of the pavilion continues to evolve and partners on the project will know more this summer, with a more specific construction schedule in the coming months.

The DDA in August also approved a contract with local architectural firm Progressive AE for design and bidding services in August 2018 to the tune of $213,180. Funding for the services is provided in the FY 2019 Priority Plan LTI Parks Design.

Progressive AE expected to wrap up the design phase of Calder Plaza in June 2019, in time for the 50-year anniversary of the La Grande Vitesse sculpture in Calder Plaza.

DGRI, along with the city and the county, adopted the master plan for Calder Plaza, derived from GR Forward, in February 2017.

An earlier Business Journal report said the DDA approved temporary improvements to Calder Plaza in anticipation of a more permanent solution in April 2018. The provisions included moveable furniture and lawn games like cornhole that can be easily stored.

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