City Announces Opportunities for the 2016 Riverwalk Concession Program


[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he city of Chicago has issued a Notice of Availability (NOA) this week for concession operations for the Chicago Riverwalk’s 2016 season. The goal of the NOA is to allow vendors an opportunity to submit proposals which will continue to activate and draw visitors to the Riverwalk. The city envisions a mix of recreational, cultural, entertainment, food and beverage, and retail facilities on the Riverwalk, creating a vibrant area to be enjoyed by residents, tourists and visitors alike. Based upon the positive reaction by Chicago’s residents and visitors throughout the summer, the city expects to receive a large number of highly competitive proposals for the 2016 season.

This past season, visitors to the Riverwalk were able to enjoy a tiki bar, wine bars, Belguim beer and frites, and recreational options included bike rentals to kayak tours. The late addition of the Hideout midway through the season provided a unique experience for Riverwalk patrons to relax and enjoy live music in an urban canyon of significant architecture. Throughout the summer, huge crowds visited the Riverwalk and on high volume days some Riverwalk restaurants reported 45-minute waits for tables, and many of the paddling excursions and bike tours were sold to capacity.

The city is now seeking vendors to provide a variety of activities, events and services in 2016. Examples of possible concessions include, but are not limited to, facilities for human-powered boating, bike rentals, food and beverage, retail that is specifically of a cultural or environmental nature, educational facilities, entertainment venues, commercial boats docked along the seawall with food and beverage or associated with a food and beverage provider operating in the land adjacent, and any other type of family-friendly concessions. Respondents are encouraged to propose other ideas to enhance the use and enjoyment of the Riverwalk and the Chicago River. One-year contracts will be awarded with the possibility of a one-year extension.

Proposals are due by noon on Dec. 2 and will be reviewed by an Evaluation Committee, which is comprised of city personnel familiar with the Riverwalk. Vendors interested in participating in the 2016 Season on the Chicago Riverwalk are invited to attend a Pre-Proposal Meeting on Nov. 4 at 2 p.m. in Room 1103 in City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St.

Vendors unable to attend the Pre-Proposal Meeting can submit questions to with “Notice of Availability Spec# 135525” as the subject. The deadline for questions is 4 p.m. on Nov. 6. Questions will be responded to in an Addendum to the Notice of Availability.

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