Broward awards design contract for Fort Lauderdale government center

Miami-based architecture firm Zyscovich won the $1.5M contract to design a center that Broward and Fort Lauderdale would share

Bernard Zyscovich over the site of the county’s bus terminal on Broward Boulevard (Credit: Google Maps)
Bernard Zyscovich over the site of the county’s bus terminal on Broward Boulevard (Credit: Google Maps)

Broward County awarded a $1.5 million contract to Miami-based architecture firm Zyscovich to deliver a conceptual design for a new government center in downtown Fort Lauderdale that the county and city would share.

County commissioners voted unanimously to award the contract to Zyscovich after both county and city commissioners approved it in a joint meeting Tuesday.

The shared facility, known as the Joint Government Center Campus, would be built on the 3-acre site of the county’s main bus terminal on Broward Boulevard between Northwest First and Second avenues, across the tracks from the Brightline train station.

The joint government center would be located within a few blocks of Fort Lauderdale’s aging city hall at 100 North Andrews Avenue, built in the 1960s; and the county government center at 115 South Andrews Avenue, a former Burdines department store still equipped with escalators.

By summer, Zyscovich plans to assess the space needs of the city and county and propose a package of design criteria to guide the selection of a bidder to build the government center, Alan Cohen, assistant county administrator, told the commissioners.

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Bernard Zyscovich, founder and CEO of the architecture firm bearing his name, was unavailable for comment. The scope of his work under the county contract “does not include architectural design,” Cohen said. “We’re not producing a site plan.”

Los Angeles-based AECOM, a publicly held, international engineering firm, made an unsolicited proposal in June to build the county-city government center, but details of the proposal remain confidential, Cohen said.

Without describing the unsolicited bid in detail, AECOM Vice President Mark Blanchard told commissioners that the company’s proposal would “accommodate everything you need.”

But Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis said an assessment of city and county needs by Zyscovich should happen first. “We don’t know what we don’t know,” he said. An unsolicited bidder “may try to sell us a Cadillac, and we may only need a Chevrolet.”

After county commissioners awarded the contract to Zyscovich, Fort Lauderdale commissioner Ben Sorenson suggested another joint meeting of city and county commissioners in early January to amend an intra-local agreement prohibiting them from considering confidential details of the unsolicited AECOM proposal.