The city has commenced preparation of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for development of a mixed-use project at the Mobile Civic Center site.
The RFQ will be released in late September. Subsequently, a short-list of only qualified developers with sufficient financial capacity and demonstrated experience to develop projects of this size and character will be invited to submit a proposal to purchase or lease the property.
The city has selected CBRE as the exclusive agent for the redevelopment of the 22 acres currently housing the Civic Center. A recently conducted CBRE study pointed out the Civic Center site as an underutilized and prime piece of city real estate.
The city has worked with residents to listen to concerns and priorities for the existing buildings, uses, and redevelopment of the property. This public input will be included in the RFQ and RFP process and future development.
It is expected that the property will be redeveloped with a mix of uses, including civic uses. The Civic Center runs at a significant deficit and it is time to find a more cost-effective solution, to provide a venue for cultural performances and community enhancing social activities. In addition, it is an opportunity to reduce the footprint of asphalt and increase vibrancy and commerce that will improve the downtown corridor.
In that regard, it will be imperative that redevelopment provide the ongoing ability to provide space for Mardi Gras activities. The City has committed that Mardi Gras festivities will continue through the 2020 Mardi Gras Season, and it is expected that redevelopment will derive an improved solution thereafter.
“The city of Mobile is looking to attract investment activity to this underused site with the goal to connect the site to the Downtown and the waterfront and improve the city’s downtown core,” Mayor Sandy Stimpson said. “We recognize the importance of the cultural and social activities that take place on the site and will work with prospective developers to devise a plan that can retain key activities in a better and more cost-effective way.”
The current Civic Center, located at 401 Civic Center Drive, contains an arena, exposition hall and theater. The facility seats 10,000 people and includes 15 meeting rooms, 80,000 square feet of exhibition space, a 2,000-seat theater, and eight permanent concession areas.