Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Harrison Square Request for Proposal

The Redevelopment Commission of the City of Fort Wayne issued a "Request for Proposal" for the "Convention Center Hotel Development" on December 21st, 2006.

You can read the entire proposal over at the blog "Downtown Fort Wayne Baseball."

<http://downtownfortwaynebaseball.blogspot.com/2007/02/new-downtown-hotel-rfp-and-info.html>

The formal "RFP" confirms some of the things that I have suspected for a long time.

Last Thursday I had a chance to talk to the Mayor in a public forum and ask him about the project. We had a friendly exchange and he said that he did not know the answers to my specific questions; he said that the project was still in the planning stages. The Mayor promised me that I could meet with The City of Fort Wayne so that I can review the financial projections for the project when they are completed and before they are voted on by City Council. I am looking forward to that meeting!

According to the original RFP:
The RFP was issued on Dec 21st, 2006 (Cover page)
The RFP requires the hotel to have 300+ rooms (Page four, section 2.1)
The RFP states that “The hotel program must include a minimum of 300 rooms to be considered responsive” (page 4, section 2.4)
The RFP requires proposals to be submitted to the City by 5 PM on Feb 13th, 2007 (Page 12, section 13.3)
The RFP stipulates that “a refundable deposit in escrow of $300,000” will be established by the Respondent (page 5, section 3.4)

The RFP was amended with Addendum Number 2 on January 17th, 2007. The amendment says that “The City of Fort Wayne is willing to negotiate the number of rooms for the hotel and will consider lowering the number of rooms that are now set at 300.”

One “Respondent” requested that the deposit be lowered; Fort Wayne immediately waived the deposit requirement, page 3 of the written questions submitted by the Respondents.

Other interesting items:

“A portion of the Parking Garage revenues can be directed to support hotel operations,” page 4, section 1.3.
“Parking will be provided in the 900 space garage,” page 4, section 2.3.
“The City will pursue negotiations with the top ranked Respondent with the goal of a Development Agreement by April 1st, 2007,” page 11, section 10.3.

I have several questions about this RFP:

1. From the first day this project was “unveiled” every official press release and communication from The City of Fort Wayne has stated that “for the project to be economically viable the hotel must have 300 rooms or more.” Why was this requirement removed from the RFP on January 17th, 2007?

2. Requiring a minimal deposit of $300,000 for a project of this magnitude seems very low to me. Why was this requirement waived?

3. This is a large project that requires a large amount of planning. Why does Fort Wayne want to have a Development Agreement in place by April 1st, 2007?

I have a lot more questions about this project and I am greatly looking forward to
meeting with The City of Fort Wayne and analyzing the financial projections.

I applaud the Mayor for allowing an independent citizen to review this project
BEFORE it is voted on by our City Council!

Mike Sylvester

11 comments:

Robert Enders said...

If this project fails and the local economy tanks, Richards won't be in office when it happens.

Now, there have been times in this nation's history where things were going so bad that many politicians just did not want to be in charge when the waste material was about to hit the fan or already did hit the fan. A good example is when LBJ wisely declined to run for relection in 1968.

scott said...

"Why does Fort Wayne want to have a Development Agreement in place by April 1st, 2007?"

Just trying to help you out here, Mike. From the questions answered section, it says that the Belmont Beverage site will be vacated by April 6th. Naturally, demolition would occur after that. Having the development agreement in place by April 1st makes it possible to get started on construction of the hotel. The development agreement is for the hotel only, not Harrison Square. The hotel would still be built independent of Harrison Square's fate.

B.G. (Semper Paratus) said...

Bob makes some good evaluations regarding the past...

It doesn't really matter HOW much crap is tossed at ANY fan (imho)...

What DOES matter is *if* the fan is even ON, at what SPEED the blades are turning, and who the heck is STILL in the "line of fire"...(and who managed to side-step the fallout).

B.G.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Scott:

You missed the point...

Why are we in such a hurry? Fort Wayne cannot answer ANY of my specific questions about the financial aspects of this project.

We should NOT be in such a rush.

Haste makes waste...

Mike Sylvester

scott said...

Mike, I wasn't addressing the speed at which the city is working. I simply meant to answer the question bluntly. They want the development agreement in place so they can start construction on the hotel.

I interviewed Mark Becker recently and I specifically asked about the parking garage and other financial aspects with you and some others in mind. I think you will be surprised to hear some of the answers. We should have it up on the blog within the next week or two.

bud said...

Scott,

Why no link to Terry Haffner's editorial on your blog? Are you doing only the pro-baseball commentary now?

scott said...

Bud,
Do you have a link? We try to find everything we can, but we're only human after all.

bud said...

Scott- News setinel Yesterday.

scott said...

Thanks Bud.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere in one of the HS write ups, the reason why the room requirements were dropped 50 rooms was because the Holiday Inn hotel purchase fell through, and that hotel will continue to operate.

LP Mike Sylvester said...

Anonymous:

That may be true, how does that change the financing?

Mike Sylvester