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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Roosevelt Roads redevelopment authority issues RFP for marine research & innovation center

With the Local Redevelopment Authority for Roosevelt Roads promoting the preservation and regeneration of the marine environment, the design competition represents an opportunity to set standards within the “blue economy” of the Caribbean.

By The Star Staff

Puerto Rico’s Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) for Roosevelt Roads is issuing a request for proposals (RFP) through a design competition for the development and construction of the Marine Business, Research and Innovation Center (MBRIC).

The RFP seeks qualified architectural and engineering firms able to provide a full range of services – including studies, design, sustainability design, permits procurement and other services for the MBRIC.

Located in the eastern region of the island -- specifically in the former Coast Guard Pier at Roosevelt Roads in the municipality of Ceiba -- the project will be developed in conjunction with Bluetide Puerto Rico Inc., which collaborated with the LRA in the development of the program, as well as in establishing the needs and requirements necessary for the development of the MBRIC, according to a statement.

Bluetide will be responsible for overseeing the operation and maintenance of the facilities. The development of MBRIC is funded through a $16 million grant issued to the LRA on June 26, 2021 by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). Along with Bluetide, the LRA’s determination is to operate the MBRIC as a hub, bringing together marine-related businesses and scientific knowledge. Ultimately, the center will work as an education, training and certification facility to foster marine-related technical skills, contributing to the 200 nautical miles of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

The EEZ is an area of the sea in which the U.S. Caribbean has particular rights to explore, research, develop and use the ocean’s marine resources. Therefore, MBRIC has the potential to advance the EEZ of the U.S Caribbean and attract innovative marine-related industries, including energy production from water and wind.

With the LRA Roosevelt Roads promoting the preservation and regeneration of the marine environment, the design competition represents an opportunity to set standards within the “blue economy” of the Caribbean, uniting a broad network that includes academia, the scientific community, marine-related businesses, policymakers and the general public. At the same time, the project stands to become an architectural reference of considerable impact, following the LRA’s vision to transform Roosevelt Roads. It is advisable, but not a requirement, for respondents to the design competition to have prior experience working with the EDA’s terms and conditions for construction projects, including (but not limited to) environmental and engineering requirements. It is also recommended that respondents have experience working with projects funded by the EDA or similar federal agency programs. Moreover, it is advisable, but also not a requirement, for respondents to have prior experience working with solid waste management unit sites under environmental remediation by the U.S. Navy or a federal agency, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976.

The selection process will include a review of proposals by the LRA Evaluation Committee, the LRA Board of Directors Selection Committee, Bluetide, the University of Puerto Rico, and the Roosevelt Roads Community.

Formerly used for sugar cane cultivation and cattle grazing, Roosevelt Roads was a military installation since its acquisition and development by the Navy in the 1940s, until its closure in 2004. The property is a unique, rare resource, having been isolated from normal development trends since the beginning of the last century and situated along the foothills of El Yunque National Rainforest. Thus, it represents an interesting mix of natural ecological areas (where some 3,340 acres are under the care of the Conservation Trust), physical infrastructure, a major airfield with an 11,000-foot-long runway (under the care of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority), and waterfront development areas.

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