Pensacola’s Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park was honored Tuesday evening with an award of excellence from the North Florida chapter of the Urban Land Institute.
Award winners were announced Tuesday at a ceremony in Jacksonville, Fla. Landscape architect Steve Dana accepted the award on behalf of Jerry Pate Design, which served as the owner’s representative on the project. The Maritime Park won out over two other finalists — Depot Park and Bo Diddley Plaza, both located in Gainesville, Fla. — in the “Open Space” category.
Infinity Hall, a new dormitory at the University of Florida in Gainesville, received the award of excellence in the “Non-Profit/Public” category. The Edison, a restaurant located in a former city power plant in Tallahassee, Fla. topped the “Reuse/Repurpose” category.
In a post to social media, Pensacola Mayor Ashton Hayward called the award “a big win for our amazing community.”
Construction on the $53 million park, which included a multiuse sports stadium, took place from 2009 through 2012, following a tumultuous 2006 referendum in which Pensacola voters approved the project by a 2,000-vote margin. The stadium — used by both the Pensacola Blue Wahoos minor league baseball team and the University of West Florida Argos football program — has since won wide acclaim, including a 2012 “Ballpark of the Year” award from BaseballParks.com and Ballpark Digest’s “Best Double-A Ballpark” in 2016.
Billed as “the real estate development community’s most prestigious awards,” ULI’s Awards for Excellence program is intended to highlight the institute’s efforts to identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development. Projects from the 34 Florida counties within the North Florida chapter’s territory are nominated and then reviewed by a panel of independent judges from the local and national development community.