City to manage Riverwalk through end of year
Loop North News

CHICAGO RIVERWALK

Photo by Steven Dahlman (Left) On the Chicago Riverwalk on Saturday, pre-cast stone is lowered into place, guided by hand signals. The crane operator on Wacker Drive cannot see the load so he is looking at the signalperson at upper left. The signalperson is looking at the worker in the white hat. (Click on images to view larger versions.)

24-Mar-15 – With only one bid received to operate the Chicago Riverwalk, the city has decided to manage day-to-day operations itself, at least until the end of this year.

The city’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management, which it calls “2FM” for short, will manage the Riverwalk once it starts to open in late May, according to Oswaldo Chaves, Riverwalk construction manager for Chicago Department of Transportation.

Prospective operators of concessions on the Riverwalk have submitted proposals. The city is keeping the number of proposals and details of each one confidential, but Chaves said on Tuesday, “There’s a good number of them.”

“They’re very interesting,” he told a meeting of the Chicago Harbor Safety Committee. “There’s a committee that’s been formed. They’re going to pick the vendors by the end of this week, I believe, and they’ll be entering in negotiations for contracts shortly thereafter.”

The contracts with vendors would be temporary and for six months only. After that, the permanent Riverwalk manager, which the city intends to select by the end of the year, would continue negotiations with vendors.

On January 6, a spokesperson for the Department of Procurement Services confirmed there was a single response to the city’s solicitation for a Riverwalk manager. While the city will identify the lone bidder only as Riverwalk Partners LLC, that company shares an office and manager with MB Real Estate Services.

Being the only bidder does not guarantee anyone they will be awarded the contract. The city has the right to reject all proposals and issue a new solicitation.

Arcade spaces are done

The arcade spaces under Wacker Drive, where vendors will be located, are finished, according to Chaves, and so are the restrooms. Some benches are being installed now but not the teak outdoor benches west of State Street.

“We don’t want it to get damaged and also we don’t want folks to move in there prior to [when] we’re ready to open.”

Ross Barney Architects

(Above) Rendering of Marina Plaza, a stretch of Riverwalk between State Street and Dearborn Street.

CDOT had planned to start waterproofing the Riverwalk on Monday but weather delayed that. Most of the construction should still be finished by the end of March, according to CDOT, and after that, crews will work on landscaping and other finishes.

The three-day weekend of May 23-25 is when the city expects to open Phase 2 of the Riverwalk, from State Street to LaSalle Street. Construction of Phase 3, from LaSalle Street to Lake Street, says Chaves, should start this spring and be finished in summer 2016.

By Steven Dahlman | Loop North News | sdahlman@loopnorth.com

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