Outdoor Recreation Facility Successfully Updated by City of Miami

Outdoor Recreation Facility Successfully Updated by City of Miami

A seawall
in need
of repair



An existing
business to
work around



Success through collaborative
project delivery


Background: Outdoor Recreation Spot Ripe for an Update

With abundant waterways and a climate just shy of paradise, it is no surprise that the City of Miami, Florida invests heavily in its infrastructure and outdoor recreation facilities. The city boasts nearly 150 gorgeous parks, 12 swimming pool facilities, a Japanese Garden, the Grapeland Waterpark and the Melreese Golf Course – and that’s just the tip of iceberg. The city has made it a priority to encourage the community to go outside and have some fun.

The city also offers a range of amenities at Virginia Key, an 863-acre barrier island in Biscayne Bay, just outside of downtown Miami. Every year, locals and ecotourists alike flock to the sun-soaked oasis for adventurous mountain bike rides, scenic walking trails, kayaking, paddleboarding, yoga classes and, of course, pristine beaches.

Over the years, a Virginia Key seawall deteriorated and began caving in, leaving visitors and plant life susceptible to the dangers of powerful waves. However, due to lack of funding, the improvements – including those to the seawall and a kayak launch that had seen better days, had to wait.

Relief finally arrived in the form of a grant from the Florida Inland Navigation District (FIND), a state agency that helps manage and maintain waterways along the Florida Atlantic coast. With funding secured, the City of Miami and the Virginia Key advisory board developed plans for a seawall repair project that would mitigate sea level rise to protect the coast and preserve the local ecology.

The implementation of this project made such a positive impact on the City of Miami that it won a Harry Mellon Award of Merit for outstanding use of Job Order Contracting. Click here to find out more about the Harry Mellon Awards, including how to submit your project for this distinguished honor.

Challenge: Renovations Must Be Made Around Thriving Local Business

The city was not the only entity with a stake in Virginia Key. The Office of Capital Improvements (OCI) needed a way to accomplish the work at Virginia Key without disrupting a successful local business, the Virginia Key Outdoor Center (VKOC). The Outdoor Center is a private company that operates kayak rentals and many of the amenities that draw people to the area. This project was managed by the City of Miami Office of Capital Improvements (OCI), under the leadership of Hector Badia, Interim Director of the department.

Hector has decades of experience working in the public sector. As a department, OCI is responsible for the “planning, design and construction of new and renovated city facilities.” In Hector’s role, he monitors, controls and delivers capital construction projects to the community. He keeps an eye on project statuses and oversees financials. It’s his job to make sure things run smoothly.

“We’re the face of a project,” Hector said of OCI. “If we’re held up on time or on budget, we have to answer for it.”

To complete the necessary repairs at Virginia Key without encroaching on the Virginia Key Outdoor Center, Badia turned to a construction project delivery method he had successfully used many times in the past.

Solution: City of Miami Turns to Gordian’s Job Order Contracting

The city used Gordian’s Job Order Contracting (JOC) to procure the work for the Virginia Key improvements. JOC is an Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) construction delivery method that allows many projects to be completed through a single, competitively-awarded contract. This single-solicitation process enables projects to start faster and creates partnerships between project owners and awarded contractors, resulting in higher quality work. As the creator of JOC, Gordian has decades of experience implementing and supporting successful JOC programs.

Hector likes completing projects with Gordian’s JOC solutions for two reasons: Speed to construction and contractor quality. “A regular invitation to bid can take six to eight months and there is no guarantee the contractor will do the job well. With JOC, the process can happen as quickly as a week, and you develop relationships with contractors and learn their strengths. We have a pool of quality contractors, and we know who is good at what,” he said.

The collaborative aspect of Job Order Contracting would prove invaluable in completing the Virginia Key project.

Result: Stakeholder Collaboration Key to Rehabilitating Outdoor Recreation Facilities

The city and the contractor, Harbour Construction, Inc., along with a local Gordian representative, worked together to maintain the safety of the area during the construction process and allow the outdoor center to remain open. Using grant funding, the city made an impressive array of improvements while preserving the existing landscaping. Here’s what the city accomplished at Virginia Key:

  • Seawall restoration using native riprap lime rock and live vegetation to defend the coast from rising seas
  • Construction of a new ADA compliant floating dock with grating deck top and aluminum gangway from which to launch kayaks
  • New, ADA-compliant crushed-shell walkway
  • Addition of new native trees and area cleanup

Thanks to Gordian’s Job Order Contracting, the seawall was restored and the new floating dock at Lamar Lake in Virginia Key was installed without impacting a thriving local business. To celebrate, the City of Miami held a re-opening ceremony where they invited the community to enjoy the wonderful new space. But this project was just the beginning of Virginia Key’s revitalization. The City of Miami is planning a spate of eco-friendly renovations, including work on the Miami Marine Stadium Complex, the Virginia Key Marina, trail and road improvements, park and athletic field upgrades, and much more. By the time all the planned projects are complete, Virginia Key will be back in its rightful place as one of America’s top outdoor recreation destinations.

About Gordian

Gordian is the leader in facility and construction cost data, software and services for all phases of the building lifecycle. A pioneer of Job Order Contracting, Gordian’s solutions also include proprietary RSMeans data construction costs and Facility Intelligence Solutions. From planning to design, to procurement, construction and operations, Gordian’s solutions help clients maximize efficiency, optimize cost savings and increase building quality.