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Architects chosen for city senior center project

By Grace Lovins

Birmingham city commissioners reviewed bid proposals for the facility assessment and conceptual designs for the city’s future Senior Center during the Monday, February 12, meeting, selecting a global architecture firm to fulfill the city’s bid request.

The city issued a request for proposal (RFP) on November 17, 2023, according to a memorandum included in the meeting packet, for sealed bids regarding the renovation or expansion of the recently purchased YMCA property. Birmingham purchased the YMCA building located at 400 E. Lincoln back in July of 2023 for $1.5 million with the intention of it serving as the new home of Birmingham Next.

According to city manager Jana Ecker, eight proposals were submitted ranging in price from roughly $54,000 to about $187,000. A selection committee made up of internal city staff reviewed the proposals and gave individual evaluations based on the proposals’ cost, timeline, references, project team and personnel qualifications, among other items.

Ecker explained that after the reviews, two proposals were found to be the best potential options from the bids submitted. The two firms, Krieger Klatt and Norr, LLC, were invited to the meeting to discuss their proposals with the commission.

Krieger Klatt is a Royal Oak based architecture and interior design firm that has been around since 2011. For the proposal, they partnered with Spark 43 Architects, a Grand Rapids based architecture firm that focuses on sports and recreation facilities. Jason Krieger, owner of the firm, stated that their architects have experience with municipal buildings, having worked on Royal Oak City Hall and currently working on a project for the city of Lansing.

Norr, LLC, is a global architecture and engineering firm with an office based in Detroit. The firm’s website lists projects for cities around the globe ranging from schools, residential buildings, courts and hospital centers.

Both firms gave presentations to the commission based on the proposals that were reviewed by the internal committee of staff. Following the presentations, commissioners noted that they would have liked to be more informed of the proposals submitted earlier on in the process.

Commissioner Therese Longe stated that, after listening to the presentations, both were excellent, however Norr, LLC. had the upper hand when it came to cost, personnel and public engagement. Norr, LLC’s proposal was $25,000 less than Krieger Klatt’s and included one more public engagement session.

Most commissioners agreed that while both firms would be capable of taking on the project, Norr, LLC. seemed the best option due to cost and public engagement.

Norr’s proposal provides an anticipated end date of June 28, 2024, with a presentation given to the city. Phase one of the proposal would include tenant and community surveys, field investigation and a feasibility study. Phase two would include a community presentation, concept design and test fit, and the final deliverable, according to the report.

Commissioners voted unanimously, 7-0, to approve the bid proposal from Norr, LLC. Ecker noted towards the beginning of the meeting that the commission will likely begin laying out the process for the project in March.


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