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RFP opens for $16M research facility planned for Roosevelt Roads

The Local Redevelopment Authority for Naval Station Roosevelt Roads (“LRA”) has issued a Request for Proposals through a design competition to get ideas for a $16 million Marine, Business Research, and Innovation Center (MBRIC) to be built at the former Coast Guard Pier.

The LRA is looking for architectural and/or engineering firms to provide “full-range of… services, including studies, design, sustainability design, permits procurement, and construction administration services during construction,” the agency said in the RFP released Aug. 1.

The agency envisions the development of a 45,000 square-foot, multi-use, multi-tenant facility with access by both land and water.

The project will be built in conjunction with Bluetide Puerto Inc., which will subsequently oversee the operation and maintenance of the facilities. The MBRIC is funded by a grant awarded to the LRA by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA). The deadline for submission is Nov. 17, and there is no registration fee or bid requirements.

The project will be located on a 2.93 acres property located at the former Coast Guard Pier in the former Naval Base in Ceiba, which shut down March 31, 2004. Since then, the Navy has transferred land to the LRA for economic development purposes, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority for airport purposes, the Department of Natural and Environmental Resources for conservation, and the municipality for general purposes.

Once operational, the MBRIC will be operated as a hub, bringing together marine-related businesses and scientific knowledge, which will all fuel the development and implementation of Blue Economy strategies for the Caribbean.

“The MBRIC will be a living platform which will support the progress of the Blue Economy workforce as an education, training, and certification facility to foster marine-related technical skills correspondingly, contributing to the 200 nautical miles Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ),” the RFP states.

The EEZ is the area of the sea in which the U.S. Caribbean has rights regarding “blue ocean” exploration, research and development and use of marine resources, the document further notes.

“As a result, the MBRIC has the potential to advance the EEZ of the US Caribbean and attract innovative marine related industries and products including, energy production from water and wind,” the document stated, adding that the University of Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and the University of the US Virgin Islands will also be gradually integrated into the project.

2nd Blue Economy summit held
In related news, Blue Tide Puerto Rico hosted its second summit in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, which brought together representatives from the banking and private sectors, as well as nonprofits and the federal government “in an economic diversification initiative,” said Juan Bauzá, the EDA’s representative in Puerto Rico.

“There’s a need to change the perception of what is eco-responsible development and the responsibilities we have as a society to create quality of life that has the potential to attract investment and create jobs while respecting the needs of natural ecosystems,” he said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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