ATLANTA -- The state government is planning a dramatic makeover of Georgia's Capitol Square complex to provide visitors a more welcoming vibe.
The Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission issued a request for qualifications Wednesday seeking a design firm to develop plans to turn one side of the square into a public plaza and close off a street along another side to traffic.
According to the RFQ, the Capitol Plaza project calls for demolishing a 59-year-old parking deck across Capitol Avenue from the historic gold-domed Capitol building and creating an open plaza on the site "suitable for public gatherings, rallies and exhibitions."
An assessment in 2011 found that because substantial work would have to be done to repair the deteriorating garage, the state should consider replacing it.
A new parking deck, also across from the Capitol, is due to open in November 2014.
The second part of the project envisions closing to traffic the block of Mitchell Street south of the Capitol between Washington Street and Capitol Avenue and converting it into a "pedestrian-friendly" plaza.
Regulars at the Capitol frequently complain about the dangers of crossing the busy one-way street that separates the Capitol from the Coverdell Legislative Office Building, where many lawmakers have their offices.
Preliminary estimates put the cost of the new plaza at $3.3 million, while the work associated with closing Mitchell Street to traffic is expected to cost $3 million.
The Georgia Building Authority has hired Atlanta-based architectural firm Stevens & Wilkinson to provide the finalists among the companies responding to the RFQ conceptual drawings showing how the projects could be incorporated into the Capitol Hill complex.
Interested firms have until Aug. 29 to submit bids. Finalists will be notified on Sept. 5, with design work due to start by early October.
(Atlanta Business Chronicle)