City selects Del.-based engineering firm to lead Maplewood Mall redesign project

  At a June 2013 block party, the underlying premise was to get locals thinking about what they'd like to see Maplewood Mall become. (Alaina Mabaso/for NewsWorks)

At a June 2013 block party, the underlying premise was to get locals thinking about what they'd like to see Maplewood Mall become. (Alaina Mabaso/for NewsWorks)

On the eve of the Re-imagining Maplewood Mall Spring Festival, Matt Wysong, the Northwest community planner for the City Planning Commission, announced that a lead consultant and landscape-architecture firm has been selected for the $2.2 million revitalization project at the central Germantown nook.

The lead consultant will be Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA), a Wilmington, Del.-based engineering firm which “led the design and engineering for the conversion of the Manayunk Bridge from an abandoned rail bridge to the City’s first pedestrian/bicycle-only crossing of the Schuylkill River,” according to a press release issued Friday night.

LRSLA Studio, which worked on The Porch at 30th Street and The Oval on Eakins Oval, was selected as the project’s landscape artists.

The 10-month contract represents just over $300,000 of that $2.2 million proposal, according to Wysong.

The back story

Last June, Eighth District Councilwoman Cindy Bass and Commerce Department Chief Operating Officer Kevin Dow announced $2.2 million in funding for a capital project to redesign Maplewood Mall in Germantown.

The Maplewood project began with events and meetings that invited ideas and opinions from the business owners and residents of the neighborhood.

This announcement marks a tangible step in a process that had, until now, involved much discussion in the Northwest Philadelphia neighborhood.

On Saturday, the latest in a series of events to mobilize energy and draw attention to the semi-hidden nook between Chelten Avenue and Armat Street and Germantown Avenue and Greene Streets will be held from 1 to 5 p.m.

About that decision

What follows is the press release issued by Wysong on Friday night:

“As a step forward in the revitalization of the Central Germantown business district, the City of Philadelphia has selected a design and engineering team to prepare a concept plan and accompanying construction documents for the reconstruction of Maplewood Mall.

“Maplewood Mall was conceived in the 1970s as a mixed-use pedestrian street. Today its roadway and plazas are in disrepair and are in need of a complete makeover. The City seeks to go beyond just a bricks and mortar reconstruction of the street and engage in a “placemaking” project. Through review of community visioning, consideration of previous studies, and the injection of professional expertise, the consultant team will provide a design that will create a framework for the reinvention of the Mall into a vibrant and successful urban space.

“This project is unique in its inter-agency collaboration. The City’s project team includes 8th District Councilwoman Cindy Bass, Department of Commerce, Parks & Recreation, City Planning Commission, Capital Projects Office, and Department of Streets. The project will be paid for using Department of Commerce neighborhood commercial corridor capital funding.

“Whitman, Requardt & Associates (WRA), an engineering firm based in Wilmington, Delaware, will serve as the lead consultant on this project. They have most recently led the design and engineering for the conversion of the Manayunk Bridge from an abandoned rail bridge to the City’s first pedestrian/bicycle-only crossing of the Schuylkill River.

“LRSLA Studio will serve as landscape architects for the project. This firm is based out of Philadelphia and their most recent public space projects include The Porch at 30th Street Station, The Oval on the Ben Franklin Parkway, and Hawthorne Park in South Philadelphia.

“Additional sub-consultants include Duffield and Associates of Philadelphia, who will provide stormwater management design and utility coordination; The Lighting Practice of Philadelphia, who will assist with lighting schemes; and Jenny Shanker of Philadelphia, the on-staff artist for the project.

“The scope of professional services shall include: preliminary, final design and construction documents for bidding. The Consultant Team will consider various alternatives for realigning and reconfiguring the roadway and plazas, traffic restrictions on the Mall, the functionality of spaces for events and pedestrian use, sustainable design practices, the provision of parking, maintaining access for loading and drop off, the incorporation of site specific public art, the possibility of new development parcels, and the use of construction materials and methods that allow for easy maintenance and repair in the future.

“This contract will last for 10 months and will cost $301,700. Design and engineering are anticipated for completion in May of 2015. Construction will commence following an additional bid process.

“Two public meetings will be bill held as part of this process. Their date and location are yet to be determined.”

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