Selecting the Developer
In September 2014, Council directed the City Manager to move forward with the redevelopment project for Phase II of the downtown area concurrently with the Comprehensive Plan update and the work of the ad hoc Downtown Phase II subcommittee. Staff began this process with preliminary relocation planning for the bus garage, the salt dome and the Hudson Public Power facility. Initial inquiries to Windstream regarding the purchase of their property at the end of Clinton also began at this time.
Once sites were selected, financing options were reviewed, and a TIF (tax increment financing) was negotiated and approved with the Hudson School District for the estimated costs of capital improvements to deconstruct and reconstruct the public facilities currently located on the properties.
In spring 2016, Council authorized the issuance of a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). Different from a Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the RFQ process was used to determine the qualification, experience, and financial capacity in the initial selection of a preferred developer. In this instance, the City was not simply determining who should build this project based on a developer bringing forward its version of how Phase II should be developed. Public input and engagement will play a strong role in defining what Phase II will look like and what the mix of uses should be. It will be a public-private partnership between a developer and the City of Hudson.
The City of Hudson was fortunate in attracting very high-level development partners. Below are their RFQs. These are very large files and may take some time to download on slower internet connections.
The selection process was extensive, covering a three-month period. Initial presentations were open to the public and recordings of the presentations were put on the City website with a two-week opportunity to provide comments and feedback. A second round of interviews was conducted with the two finalists. Reference checks were performed, research into the two firms'· financial capacities was conducted, and reviews of comparable developments were completed.
The selection of a preferred developer provided the opportunity to enter into a non-binding letter of intent between the City and the developer. This partnership then began a public engagement process that will ultimately provide a proposed development plan for the Phase II area.
After the initial selection process, the field was narrowed down to two firms, Fairmount Properties and Testa Companies for their capability, capacity, experience, financials and references, etc.
The Testa team is under a single umbrella with the architect, contractor, sales/leasing and developer all under common ownership (vertically integrated). They have strong capacity, with a portfolio of public-private partnerships and the management of developments after they are built. This firm has a strong public engagement process and has stated the concepts they design will be based on public input through this process. Their financing approach is through more traditional venues. Testa stated in the first presentation they would desire to integrate Phase I into Phase II. The references for Testa were consistently positive, noting they did not over promise, were typically on schedule, and that multiple communities expressed an interest to see further investment by Testa in their communities.
- Developer: Testa Companies
- Architect: MOTA Design Group
- Contractor: Welty-Testa
- Public Engagement: MKSK
- Sales/Leasing: Testa Real Estate Group
The Fairmount team is comprised of multiple partners with Fairmount as the lead developer. Their portfolio includes public-private partnerships while maintaining ownership and management once a development has been built. This firm has experience in the public engagement process and has stated community input is a strong player in the conceptual development plans. Their financing approach is a mix of more traditional as well as private funding sources. Fairmount stated in the first presentation they wanted to develop Phase II in a village concept. The references for Fairmount were very positive, with some concerns regarding financial frameworks as well as some project delays. While these points were made, references also indicated some of these issues were beyond Fairmount's control. Fairmount was involved in the development of Downtown Phase I.
- Developer: Fairmount Properties
- Architect: Residential - Payne and Payne; Commercial - Dorsky, Yue
- Contractor: Residential - Payne and Payne; Commercial - TBD
- Sales/Leasing: Howard Hanna
The Selection -- Testa Companies
After extensive interviews, public meetings and background research Testa Companies was selected as the developer for the Downtown Phase II project based on the highest score for selection categories, including initial submission review, a public presentation, public comments, Round 1 and Round 2 interviews, finances, and references.