|VA Homes. FTM file.|
In May, FTM broke the news that through the Request for Qualifications process, the city had selected Bloomfield/Schon as the sole developer to rehab the vaunted VA homes in Alexandria Circle located in Tower Park.
Bloomfield/Schon (Cincinnati) was selected over Neace Ventures (New Albany, Indiana), because according to the city's engineer, Bloomfield/Schon was willing to see the project through from beginning to end. From the report: "Regardless of the timeframe it would take to sell each residence, Neace Ventures was not proposing to complete any of the restoration, including the exterior. Therefore, there is the possibility that it would be several years or more before the residences would not look blighted. (Bloomfield/Schon is) open to selling a shell of a building to the right buyer who would also appreciate the historical value and complete a restoration in a timely manner. They seemed aware of the true costs associated with this project as well as thoughts and ideas to financially make the project work."
The agreement prepared by the city on June 1, 2015 and signed off by council on June 15, 2015 details some of the specifics, including when the developer and the city must decide to move forward or cut bait.
- According to the agreement, the city will allow the developer sole and exclusive rights to "investigate and determine the feasibility of the project" for 12 months. The developer can, at any time, abandon its efforts and walk away from the project. Also, within the agreement the city and the developer can extend the agreement twice, that could extend it a total of 6 months.
- Before June 1, 2016 the developer must provide: a comprehensive project narrative; a proposed budget including debt financing, equity investments by the developer, public funds (city/federal) and the amount to make the project economically viable; a proposed project schedule; and a plat of subdivided land.
- The city will not have to put any financial "skin in the game" for "appraisal prices, utility services, transportation and traffic studies and reports, soils and engineering reports, surveys, title evidence and environmental studies for or related to the project." This also includes architectural, engineering and construction costs. There will be staff time that the city will be required to "work cooperatively" with the developer during the term of the agreement.
- The developer will make routine progress reports to the city every two months.
- The city must agree not to disclose any "plans, estimates or proposals, or other information" to any third party.
It is unclear if "third parties" named in the agreement includes media. FTM will continue to work with the city to make this process as transparent as possible.