Downtown Design Guidelines Update

Agency: American Planning Association
State: Federal
Type of Government: State & Local
NAICS Category:
  • 541330 - Engineering Services
Posted Date: Aug 3, 2021
Due Date: Sep 13, 2021
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Downtown Design Guidelines Update Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC)

Memphis, TN

Request for Qualifications (RFQ):

Downtown Memphis Design Guidelines Update


Last revised over 8 years ago, the Downtown Memphis (TN) Design Guidelines & Principles are in need of an update to improve their usability and continue to raise the bar on design excellence for public projects and private development that receives a public incentive.

Why update the Design Guidelines?

Improved design guidelines will:

  • Provide clear direction to property owners and developers about the type and quality of development that our community expects.
  • Raise the level of discourse and debate at Design Review Board (DRB) meetings by providing a better framework for evaluating projects with more objectivity.
  • Set high standards to improve the quality of commercial development and architectural design for DMC-affiliated projects.
  • Offer guidance for all projects that fall under the purview of the DRB, including projects located inside and outside the Central Business Improvement District (CBID).
  • Provide direction on the appropriate use of quality exterior materials.

Goals for the revised Design Guidelines:

  • Clear, concise, and easy to understand document with an emphasis on pictures and illustrations over long paragraphs of plain text.
  • Goal: Maximum document length of 20 pages.
  • Use locally-relevant examples and illustrations when possible.
  • Align with the BuildDowntown Plan priorities to help build compact critical mass and create a great pedestrian experience.
  • Special emphasis on walkability, public realm and streetscape design, ground-floor transparency, and quality exterior materials.
  • DRB and DMC adopt the revised design guidelines in Q2 2022.
  • Maximum total budget of $50,000.

Scope of Services:

The exact scope of work will be determined in collaboration with the selected consultant. In general, the project is anticipated to include:

  • Review and evaluate the existing CBID Design Guidelines.
  • Identify best practices and examples of innovative and effective Design Guidelines applicable to Downtown Memphis.
  • Work with DMC staff to solicit meaningful public input from key Downtown stakeholders and the general public throughout the process.
  • Work closely in collaboration with DMC staff and a committee of volunteer Design Review Board (DRB) members to prepare a preliminary draft and a final draft document.
  • Consultant should be available to attend one or more meetings of the DMC Board of Directors and the DRB, if needed.

Project Timeline:

The exact project timeline will be developed in consultation with the selected consultant. The dates below represent DMC goals for key milestones.

  • August 2, 2021: RFQ published.
  • September 13, 2021: RFQ responses due by 4:00 PM CST.
  • October 2021: Interview a shortlist of finalists.
  • Nov. 2021: Target date for DMC Board of Directors to select consultant; it is anticipated that the contract starting date will follow immediately thereafter.
  • April, 2022: Complete first draft of the CBID Design Guidelines.
  • June/July 2022: Request adoption of CBID Design Guidelines by DMC and DRB.

Submittal Process & Deadline:

Should you be interested in submitting a proposal for this project, please email the response as a single PDF document to on or before 4:00 p.m. CST on September 13, 2021.

Questions? Email Brett Roler —

Visit the link to learn more about this RFQ:

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Monday, September 13, 2021
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