Stories indexed with the term ‘request for proposals’

Work Session Called on Conference Center

On Tuesday, March 8, 2011, a committee appointed by the Ann Arbor city council and charged with reviewing proposals for future use of the Library Lot – the top of the Fifth Avenue underground parking structure – met for the first time since November. The expected result of Tuesday’s meeting had been that the committee would move a proposed hotel/conference center project forward to the city council.

And that’s what the committee voted to do – specifically, to recommend to the city council that a letter of intent (LOI) be signed with Valiant, the developer, which could eventually lead to a development agreement. The city council will receive a presentation on the letter of intent at a work session on Monday, March 14 at 7 p.m. at the Washtenaw County Board room at 220 N. Main St.

David Di Rita of The Roxbury Group

David Di Rita of the Roxbury Group addresses the Library Lot RFP review committee. Left in the frame in the background is local attorney Tom Wieder. Right in the frame is Vivienne Armentrout, a former Washtenaw County commissioner and author of the blog, "Local in Ann Arbor." (Photos by the writer.)

In the draft of the LOI unveiled at Tuesday’s committee meeting, the city and Valiant would try to strike a development agreement no later than four months after the signing of the LOI, with construction to start 15 months after the signing of the development agreement.

Attending the committee meeting on Tuesday was David Di Rita of The Roxbury Group, which has served as a consultant to the committee. In November, Di Rita had delivered a report to the committee recommending Valiant’s proposal over a similar project proposed by another developer – Acquest.

The majority of Tuesday’s meeting time was taken up with Di Rita delivering introductory remarks – a self-described “soliloquy” – and walking the committee through the main points of the draft LOI, or responding to committee member questions.

In his introductory remarks, Di Rita distinguished between the idea of analyzing the financial viability of a specific proposal – which he stressed that The Roxbury Group had not done – and the overall economic validity of a concept.

Key points in the draft LOI are the idea that Valiant would pay for the acquisition of development rights on the property, but could use part of that payment for the design and financing of the conference center. The city of Ann Arbor would own the conference center, and would not be held liable for its maintenance and operation costs, unless Valiant were to cease holding the management agreement. The city’s ownership could, according to the draft LOI, possibly implicate payments by Valiant to the city in lieu of taxes. The draft LOI also calls for reserving no fewer than 350 daytime parking spaces in the underground parking garage, currently under construction, for the hotel/conference center.

In addition to committee members, more than 20 people attended the meeting, filling the fourth floor conference room of city hall. Attendees in the audience included Ward 1 councilmember Sabra Briere; Ann Arbor District Library director Josie Parker; and AADL board member Nancy Kaplan. Several people who attended have expressed objections to the hotel/conference center project, based on either the substance of the proposal itself or the decision-making process.

Related to complaints about the decision process, the meeting began with an adamant request from local attorney Tom Wieder to be allowed to address the committee, which was denied by the committee’s chair, Stephen Rapundalo. [Full Story]

School Board Issues RFP for Search Firm

Ann Arbor Public Schools board of education meeting (Aug. 23, 2010): At a special meeting held Monday, the school board approved a request for proposals (RFP) from professional services firms to assist them as they search for a new superintendent. The RFP was released to search firms and posted on the AAPS website [.pdf of RFP]. The district’s current superintendent, Todd Roberts, has resigned, and will be leaving the district by mid-November to move closer to family and to become chancellor of the North Carolina School for Science and Math.

Christine Stead and Deb Mexicotte

Christine Stead and Deb Mexicotte discuss a draft of the RFP from search firms to help with the hiring of a new superintendent. (Photos by the writer.)

Board treasurer Christine Stead had offered to draft an RFP for board review at the last regular board meeting. Monday’s meeting was an opportunity for the rest of the board to review her work, and suggest changes. Most of the recommended changes were accepted without objection, but others led to some reflective discussion that revealed priorities for the board.

One of the changes made to the RFP was to add a pre-bid meeting for the purpose of answering clarifying questions about the RFP. The pre-bid meeting will be held on Friday, Sept. 3 at 10 a.m., at the Balas Administration Building, 2555 S. State Street. Any interested bidders are invited to participate in person or via teleconference. The deadline for submitting responses to the RFP is Friday, Sept. 10 at 10 a.m.

The only other official business conducted at Monday’s meeting was the passing of a motion to entertain Roberts’ suggestions for interim staff, which he will bring to the next board meeting. [Full Story]