CITY FORMS COMMITTEE TO REVIEW COLISEUM SITE REDEVELOPMENT SUBMISSIONS
(5/1/2008) NEW HAVEN- The City of New Haven has formed a Review Committee to evaluate six responses to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) from developer-driven teams seeking the opportunity to redevelop the former Coliseum site. The deadline for responses to the RFQ was April 22, 2008. The members of the Review Committee include: Long Wharf Theatre Managing Director Joan Channick, Alderwoman Bitsy Clark (D-7), Development Commission Chair Jonathan Koppell, Redevelopment Authority Chair Jorge Lopes, Town Green Special Services District Board Chair Don McGregor, Chamber of Commerce President Tony Rescigno, and Ninth Square Resident and City Plan Commission Member Maricel Valcarcel.
“This Committee represents a broad view of New Haven residents and the business community who will bring their expertise to this review process,” said Kelly Murphy, New Haven’s Economic Development Administrator. The Executive Director of the City Plan Department, the Director of Transportation and two members of the Office of Economic Development will also serve on the Committee.
The City elected to issue an RFQ for this 4.5 acre site to include a new Long Wharf theater as part of an integrated mixed use development. “Given the size and proposed uses on the site, the City thought it was best to issue an RFQ versus a Request for Proposal,” said Murphy. “When issuing a request for proposals, the responding developer conducts significant due diligence and devotes extensive time to develop a detailed and specific proposal for the uses of the site, which usually includes intricate site drawings, layouts, elevations, and parking plans. As an example, this is the process that was used for the Shartenberg project.”
However, for the Coliseum site, the City’s first step was to request the qualifications of the developers, with broad conceptual sense of their plans for the site rather than detailed plans and proposals at this juncture. By issuing an RFQ before requesting specific proposals from developers, the City has the opportunity to identify the developers that are the most qualified for the project without requiring all developers to spend significant time and money on developing detailed plans before they know that they are in the final running for the project.
In this RFQ process, the City sought submissions that focused on the qualifications of the firm, including their level of experience with a project of this size, significance and within an urban context, the qualifications of the principals of the firm, the financial capacity of the development team and their experience working with regulatory agencies and the community. Preliminary concepts of uses for the site are also included to gauge, on a broad level, whether the overarching use goals are consistent with those of the City. Once the City identifies the developers that are qualified to develop their property, the uses and design of the property become part of the negotiation. The evaluation criteria for this RFQ (which were included in the RFQ) include:
• Ability of the respondent to complete the stated RFQ requirements;
• Qualifications of firm regarding experience and successful track record with projects of similar scope;
• Qualifications of principals in the firm;
• Quality, feasibility, and value of the conceptual approach to the project;
• Financial capacity of the development team;
• Ability to work with the surrounding neighborhood and community; and
• Extent to which the conceptual project meets the stated development goals.
The Review Committee will meet in May to begin its evaluation of the submission and qualifications made for this project. Following this initial evaluation, the City and the Review Committee plan to interview a select group of respondents and will decide upon a solid direction at that point. It is anticipated that a preferred developer will be selected sometime this fall. Further inquiries about this process should be directed to Tony Bialecki in the City’s Economic Development Administration at 946-5891.
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