Naperville seeking consultant to review 5th Avenue plans
Naperville is seeking help while awaiting the first round of design proposals for redevelopment of the area around the 5th Avenue Metra station.
The city put out a request for proposals from companies qualified to advise on the financial, legal, planning and partnership issues that could arise from construction of new buildings and public amenities on 13 city-owned acres.
Ryan Companies, the firm identified to conduct a public input process and come up with designs for the sites, plans to release its first round of those designs Monday and host a meeting about them on Aug. 22.
Amy Emery, operations manager in transportation, engineering and development for the city, said the consultant won't be in place by then but could be selected by the city council this fall, roughly in time for a second round of designs from Ryan Companies.
Proposals from interested firms are due to the city Aug. 28. Emery said a committee of city staff members and council members Rebecca Boyd-Obarski and John Krummen will evaluate the proposals in September and score them for council consideration. The council is likely to select one company as its independent advocate for the 5th Avenue process by October, Emery said.
Mayor Steve Chirico said hiring such a firm has been part of the plan since nearly the beginning of the 5th Avenue redevelopment process, which began in early 2017. He said the city needs an expert with experience negotiating public-private partnerships "to make sure taxpayers are getting the best deal."
Some residents who have been critical of the selection of Ryan Companies as the project's sole developer also have called for an independent firm to review Ryan's work to ensure the city gets a fair shake from a company with a profit motive.
The sites in the 5th Avenue redevelopment area include four parking lots, a former public works building, a water tower, a couple of small buildings and the property of the DuPage Children's Museum. Proposed for the sites could be complex features such as a municipally owned parking garage to be built by a private company or a public stormwater storage tank under a private building, Chirico said.
Assets such as these will require planning about maintenance, liability and value, Chirico said -- all topics about which a qualified consultant could advise. Value, especially, will be an important point if the city sells any of the land or leases it, and Chirico said a consultant could help city leaders set appropriate prices or rates.
Emery said the city is seeking a company with expertise in joint ventures, suburban infill development, railroads, public transit and transit-oriented development. Chirico said many area companies have such qualifications.
"We feel like we'll get a good response on this," he said.
As the process moves forward, the public can see preliminary designs for 5th Avenue during a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 22, at the municipal center, 400 S. Eagle St.