Civitas Urban Design and Landscape Architecture Firm Selected for Minnesota Lake Effect: Signature Project on Lake Minnetonka

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Denver-based Civitas has been selected by the City of Wayzata to lead a multi-disciplinary team to revitalize the Lake Minnetonka waterfront with a park and esplanade. Fresh from completed projects in San Diego and Calgary, Alberta, Civitas was chosen from a shortlist of three firms by a selection committee that called it the “thinking team,” pointing to the firm’s depth of experience in designing waterfront parks for healthier communities, economies and habitats.

An aerial view of the City of Wayzata on Lake Minnetonka, on the western edge of Minnesota’s Twin Cities metro area. Denver-based Civitas will lead the team to create a new vision for the lakefront.

“The Lake Effect: Signature Project will change how a great community celebrates and protects Lake Minnetonka.”

Award-winning urban design and landscape architecture firm Civitas has been selected from a shortlist of three design firms to lead a multi-disciplinary team for the Lake Effect: Signature Project to revitalize the Lake Minnetonka waterfront for the City of Wayzata, Minn. The selection of Denver-based Civitas was announced after a Wayzata City Council vote last week. As part of the effort, Civitas will lead a team that features Snow Kreilich Architects (Minneapolis), Applied Ecological Services (Prior Lake), Solution Blue, Inc. (St. Paul), and HR&A Advisors (New York City) on the project.

“The Lake Effect: Signature Project will change how a great community celebrates and protects Lake Minnetonka,” says Civitas founding principal Mark Johnson. “We are thrilled to give life to this exciting vision for Wayzata.”

The Wayzata Lake Effect is a community-wide multi-year initiative to redevelop the lakefront for the 21st century. “A project of this magnitude requires a design team that understands the significance of Lake Minnetonka to our community’s identity and economic development,” says Wayzata Mayor Ken Willcox. “It was evident in the Civitas proposal and during the team’s interview that they understood the needs of our community and are ready to work with us on a Signature Project that exemplifies our vision for a revitalized lakefront.”

Civitas is the lead on a number of recent high-profile waterfront redevelopment projects, including, the North Embarcadero (San Diego, Calif.), and the award-winning St. Patrick’s Island (Calgary, Alberta), designed in collaboration with W Architecture and Landscape Architecture. In addition, Civitas was recently named to a shortlist of five firms under consideration for the reimagining of the Thames Riverfront in downtown London, Ontario, and as one of six firms competing for the St. Petersburg Pier Approach in Florida’s Tampa Bay.

Wayzata announced the designer selection process in June 2015, with the field narrowed to a shortlist of three firms in July from which the Designer Selection Committee ultimately chose Civitas. “Despite a crowded field of highly qualified submittals, the Lake Effect Designer Selection Committee was unified in choosing the Civitas team,” says Mary deLaittre, Lake Effect Project Consultant and Principal of Groundwork: The Foundation for City Building. “This is the ‘thinking team,’ because of Civitas’ depth of experience designing waterfront parks as what they call ‘investments in healthier communities, economies, and habitats.’”

Schematic design development and delivery on the Lake Effect Signature Project will take place October 2015 through April 2016, and will include extensive community engagement and opportunities for input. Evaluation of the Signature Project design is expected to take place in Spring 2016, and fundraising will be initiated in advance of the anticipated Fall 2016 project start.

About Civitas:
With a core purpose of creating healthier cities, Civitas is an idea-based practice of urban designers, architects and landscape architects engaged in strategic planning for urban change and project design for built works. Having celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014, the consultancy and design studio advises on a wide range of strategies for re-imagining urban life and places. For more information, visit

Media contacts: Anne McGregor Parsons, WordenGroup Public Relations, anne(at)wordenpr(dot)com, 303.777.7667

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