Volume 7, Issue 25 - September 23, 2015
Baby Boomers create boon for housing developers nationwide
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Every day in America, 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 years old. That's a staggering fact! And, it has ushered in a huge new housing market that gets stronger each day. Housing experts say the senior housing market is exploding and the trend will continue for decades. 

The situation has government officials taking a long, hard look at partnerships with private-sector investors. Public officials want to build senior housing facilities in their communities because doing so has become a huge economic development opportunity. 

New housing designed especially for seniors has numerous benefits. 

In This Issue
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N.Y., N.J. request federal funds for rail tunnel project
Christie, Cuomo pledge half the costs if federal government steps in with rest
Photo by Arturo Pardavila III is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Commuters going from New Jersey into New York City and vice versa; rail passengers going nearly anywhere from Boston to Washington, D.C.; drivers crossing over the Hackensack River in northern New Jersey; travelers in New York's Penn Station; the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; the governors of both of those states, Andrew Cuomo (below, left) and Chris Christie (below, right), respectively.

All of these people - and many, many more - stand to benefit from a new rail tunnel project under the Hudson River. But it's those last two who perhaps have the most say about whether and when it gets done. And they've taken it upon themselves to say something substantial and to another pretty important person with no small amount of influence himself, President Barack Obama.

Cuomo and Christie wrote a letter to the president last week requesting federal funding on the long-delayed, much needed infrastructure project. In it, the governors committed to funding half of the $20 billion project, provided the federal government step up to pay for the other half. 

"We are writing jointly," the governors wrote, "in an attempt to move the stalled project forward by putting a funding proposal on the table that we believe is realistic, appropriate and fair: split the responsibility for the cost. If the federal government will provide grants to pay for half of the cost of the project, the Port Authority, New York and New Jersey will take responsibility for developing a funding plan for the other half, convening all relevant agencies, and utilizing the proposed federal low-interest loan, local funding sources, and other funding strategies necessary to complement the federal grant commitment. This funding framework is comparable to previous structures proposed for a new tunnel."

The project is designed to replace a rail tunnel that is more than a century old and frequently bogged down in delays. It was also damaged in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. A much smaller but similar project was canceled by Christie in 2010 because the governor said it forced too much of the expense on New Jersey citizens. The shared burden - and how big each state's share would be - has been the biggest sticking point ever since.

But, as conceived now by the two states, the new project would be overseen by the Port Authority, which would create a dedicated department to plan the project and facilitate its construction and completion. The states' congressional and senatorial delegations have each been working to find federal funding sources.

In addition to the rail tunnel, the project includes new tracks and a replacement for a bridge over the Hackensack River in New Jersey and a renovation project that will expand New York's Penn Station.

Christie and Cuomo concluded their letter with a reminder that President Obama has previously supported the two states in their efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy and in the ongoing construction of the new Tappan Zee Bridge. "Your support of both of these project set records for accelerating infrastructure projects," wrote the governors.
Roadmap to upcoming opportunities
Interested in staying ahead of the competition? Then ... take note! Government entities throughout Texas are planning November bond elections.

The bond vote represents contracting work valued at $8.7 billion. New construction, renovation and maintenance projects, road work, new bridges, street improvements, new public safety buildings, parks renovations and water and wastewater projects - this is what the bond funding will cover.

The Strategic Partnerships Team will deliver all the details and subscribers will be able to get information that is not available anywhere else. Order now  and be among the first to receive the information!
L.A. Metro seeks flexibility in P3 procurement
County transportation agency develops own policy regarding unsolicited P3 proposals
Photo by Doug Kerr is licensed under CC BY 2.0
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is asking to be given some additional flexibility in terms of how it can procure projects through public-private partnerships (P3). A bill making its way through the state assembly's current extraordinary session on transportation is aimed at giving Metro the ability to accept and negotiate unsolicited proposals, expanding the types of projects Metro can finance using a P3 arrangement and allowing the transportation authority to pursue P3s without first having to gain approval of the California Transportation Commission. 

Essentially, the bill is designed to cut through a lot of the red tape and regulations imposed on Metro from above by the state and allow it to implement its own policies regarding P3s. Though it is allowed to utilize P3s by Section 143 of California's Streets & Highway Code, LA Metro contends that the stipulations put on it by the code limit its ability to be truly innovative. 

For instance, in terms of unsolicited proposals, Metro is able "to receive and act upon" unsolicited P3 proposals, but it "must include a competitive solicitation, in response to which 'at least one other responsible bid' is received." The new bill would allow Metro to engage in sole source negotiation in response to unsolicited proposals without seeking out competitive bids. 

In addition to this legislative action, the transportation authority also has designed its own policy with respect to unsolicited proposals, modeled after a similar policy in place at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit Authority. Metro also created a new Office of Extraordinary Innovation this summer, designed to facilitate resourceful and creative ideas. That office will consider unsolicited proposals as they come in. CEO Phillip Washington brought with him from a previous job in Denver this desire for flexibility and innovation. He has said that Metro needs an unsolicited proposal policy that "will encourage the private sector to bring ideas to us, rather than waiting on an RFP to come out. That policy says, 'You bring your ideas and give us 30-45 days to determine whether it has technical or financial merit. If it does, we will begin either a competitive-type process or a single-source or sole-source-type process.' "

The pursuit of this flexibility hasn't come just from Washington, though, who was appointed in March 2015. Metro had been investigating the manner in which it might take advantage of unsolicited proposals since 2013 and began drafting the policy in the summer of 2014.

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UC-Riverside plans new $150 million lab building
The University of California Board of Regents approved spending $7 million toward a $150 million research building for the system's Riverside campus. The outlay will go for preliminary planning on the Multidisciplinary Research Building, which will be located on the north side of campus. It will include laboratories, office space and enclosed environmental space for plants and animals. The laboratories will include both wet and dry lab space and be built so they're useful to researchers from a variety of sciences, with the explicit goal of engendering collaborative research. UC-Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox (pictured) said the building would provide research facilities for about 50 of the 300 additional faculty members the university has pledged to hire by 2020. They would have their own research groups, and as many as 400 people would be able to make use of the new research and lab space. The building is the first of three that the university has proposed construction of in the near term. Wilcox presented an assessment of the school's status and pointed out its faculty-to-student ratio, which at 1-to-29 is much higher than the UC system's 1-to-23 UC average. "We simply don't have enough people," Wilcox said. "We're very good, but we're too small. Our goal is to transform UCR to become a national model for academic excellence." The other two buildings in the university's plans are another multidisciplinary research building and an engineering building. In total, the three could house 130 faculty members. The additional lab space would allow UC-Riverside to reach the system's average per capita research space.
Massport seeking waterfront developers
When the city of Boston pulled out of the running to host the 2024 Summer Olympics, it left available about 30 acres of South Boston waterfront property. The land had been discussed as part of a potential solution to locating a stadium site in the city, and now that that's out of the question, the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) has decided to search for a developer for the property. Olympics organizers had discussed moving fish and meat purveyors from another location to the site in the city's marine industrial park to make room for a stadium development. Massport has now issued a request for letters of interest in the site, and the authority is open to having the fishmongers and meatpackers move to the marine park as a part of the redevelopment. It is considering two approaches for the project: one solely focused on seafood processing and other maritime uses or a project that includes maritime industrial uses along with other complementary businesses that make sense for the industrial park. Officials have gauged the interest of the wholesalers in moving to the terminal, and they seemed receptive to the idea. Massport wants to strengthen the seafood industry in the area, possibly with a public seafood market. The deadline for submitting responses is Oct. 27.
Charleston allots $18M for aeronautical training center
Trident Technical College in North Charleston, S.C., will soon be home to an aeronautical training center where students will learn to assemble large commercial aircraft. Charleston is the location for one of just three manufacturing facilities that build wide-body commercial airliners, and Charleston County will provide $18.75 million toward the planned $79 million S.C. Aeronautical Training Center at Trident Technical College. The funding will come from general obligation bonds backed by an increase in the college's portion of property taxes. The school is still about $16 million short of what it needs to fund the new center's construction, but a spokesman said that officials "will go back to the state legislature during the next session to request the balance. Site preparation work is underway, and we will bid the infrastructure work this fall." He also said the school is in the process of selecting an architect to design the building. In addition to the county funding, the project has received a $2 million federal grant, more than $30 million from the state, another $1 million from the city of North Charleston and $4 million from the college. Trident owns the land where it will be built. The center will train workers in aircraft assembly, aircraft maintenance and avionics. It will include 215,000 square feet of training space with an additional 165,000 square feet of classrooms, shops and labs, as well as 50,000 square feet of open bays to accommodate aircraft, large aircraft parts and training aids.
St. Joseph County to build $2.8 million sports complex
Kids in St. Joseph County, Ind., will have new fields to play in now that the county's Board of Commissioners approved to fund $2.8 million of a $3.9 million youth sports complex. The property will have three football, six soccer, four baseball and four softball fields. Tom Lowry, mayor of Three Rivers, voiced his support for the complex: "I believe in it so strongly, I believe in it because of the children. We are here tonight because due diligence was found." One condition of the funding is that the complex be open to residents countywide and not just one town's residents. The sports fields will be located in Lockport Township along Enterprise Drive, east of North Main Street.
California to add Bakersfield high-speed rail station 
The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the city of Bakersfield have agreed to construct a high-speed rail station in the Central Valley city. The station area planning agreement sets up both the city and the rail authority to study economic development opportunities tied to the construction of a rail station. "This will be a very exciting and significant project that will provide an opportunity to not only shape how Bakersfield can best take advantage of a future high-speed rail station, but to also plan for the continuing revitalization of the entire downtown area," said Bakersfield Community Development Director Douglas McIsaac (pictured). Once a final location for the station is identified and cleared, design and construction will follow. The agreement awards $750,000 to the city to explore site-selection alternatives and to seek public input for the design of a station. The Kern Council of Governments will provide an additional $150,000 to support the planning effort. Other cities that have entered into similar agreements with the rail authority include Fresno, Merced, Gilroy and Palmdale.
Richmond-to-Raleigh high-speed rail receives go ahead
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT)'s Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), the State of North Carolina and the Commonwealth of Virginia have signed a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a proposed Richmond-to-Raleigh passenger rail line. The agreement on the FEIS is among the final steps necessary before construction of the project can move forward once funding is secured. "North Carolina, Virginia and the Department of Transportation have worked together to bring us closer to high-speed rail connecting Richmond and Raleigh," U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. "And I urge everyone involved to continue pushing this effort forward. High-speed rail in this region is not a luxury but a necessity." The 162-mile route between the two cities would make use of existing and former rail lines for more than half of the route and is part of a larger multi-state planning effort to provide high-speed passenger service between Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. "Today brings us closer to breaking ground on this critical project for one of the fastest growing areas of the country. The project will improve safety and reliability, reduce the travel time between Richmond and Raleigh and increase opportunity for jobs and growth in the Southeast," FRA Acting Administrator Sarah Feinberg said. The FEIS includes responses to comments from citizens, elected officials, residents, businesses and other stakeholders that have been involved in the process.
Texas A&M announces plans for new McAllen campus
The Texas A&M System announced this week an agreement to build a satellite campus in McAllen, Texas. The deal is among the city, Hidalgo County and the system's flagship campus in College Station. The campus will be located on 100 acres in northwest McAllen and start as a single facility to open in 2017. It will likely begin with about 100 students, but plans call for expansion to more than 500 within five years. The campus will operate similarly to satellite campuses in Galveston and Qatar, funded through the state's Permanent University Fund and overseen by Texas A&M's president, currently Michael Young (pictured). The city of McAllen and Hidalgo County provided the property, along with $10 million for construction of the facility and another $8 million for utilities and infrastructure. The school will offer engineering technology, biomedical sciences, agriculture and life sciences courses at the campus. "This important new presence in South Texas enables Texas A&M to provide additional academic and leadership development opportunities to young people in fulfillment of our land-grant mission," Young said. "We are proud of our long association with the Rio Grande Valley and look forward to building on the area's tremendous economic growth and development for the benefit of all."
Heritage House redevelopment plans move forward
The Greensboro, N.C., City Council approved plans last week to purchase a condemned apartment building called Heritage House. The council's plans call for the building's demolition at a cost of $2.6 million rather than renovation, which could cost as much as $17 million. "It seemed the more economical approach would be to tear it down and then offer it for other types of uses, because, really, as a residential facility it wasn't in the neighborhood per se," said planning director with the city of Greensboro, Sue Schwartz (pictured). "That wasn't a really good place for children, this was a land use that needed to be changed. There's something better that can go there." The city estimates it will take about 3 to 6 years to see out the process of buying back the property, demolition, preparation for redevelopment and then the actual work by a private buyer of building something new on the property. Heritage House was closed last year and condemned due in part to outstanding utility bills owed to the city.
Milwaukee County Zoo to build new elephant exhibit
Milwaukee County, Wisc., has issued a request for proposals (RFP) for a new $10-$15 million African elephant exhibit at the county's zoo. The county would like to relocate the elephants to the existing moose, brown bear and wolf exhibit yards. The new 5-acre exhibit space will feature an indoor living area, a watering hole and a 12,000-15,000-square-foot elephant barn. It would enable the zoo to maintain and exhibit four to five African bull elephants. The cost of the project would be split jointly between Milwaukee County and the Zoological Society. The design phase needs to be completed in 2015, with construction scheduled to begin in March 2017 and a completion date of April 2018.
America's Central Port gets $750,000 loan from county
Madison County, Ill., has given a $750,000 loan to America's Central Port for rail improvements at the 60-acre industrial site. "America's Central Port plays a particularly important role in the economic development of Madison County," said Madison County Chairman Alan J. Dunstan (pictured). "But equally important is America's Central Port has significant room for growth, both in terms of businesses located at the 1,200 acre facility, and the new jobs that can be created." The full costs of the renovations will be about $1.6 million and increase the site's size to more than one million square feet of industrial and distribution space with access to rail and water transportation. "When fully utilized, it is estimated the site will attract approximately $60 million in new, private investment and will create more than 200 new jobs," Dunstan said. Owned and operated by the Tri-City Regional Port District, America's Central Port is a 1,200-acre business and industrial park set along the Mississippi River, just north of St. Louis and adjacent to the Chain of Rocks Canal.
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News About public-private partnerships (P3)

County approves negotiation for P3 with PortMiami 
Miami-Dade County has agreed to allow PortMiami to negotiate the formation of a public-private partnership (P3) with a large cruise line to construct a new terminal for the world's largest cruise ships. The terminal's 400-meter length will provide a berth large enough to welcome the two largest cruise ships in the world and two others of equal size that are scheduled to be built by 2016 and 2018. The two existing ships are now berthed at Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades, but the lease there expires in 2018 and the cruise line has requested to base at least one of them at PortMiami. The new terminal would allow Miami to double the number of cruise customers it serves to about 1.5 million. As part of the P3, the cruise line would spend more than $100 million to finance, design, build and operate the terminal. The port would pay less than $10 million up front and receive almost that much annually from the deal. Plans call for the new terminal to be operating by late fall 2018.
N.Y. congressman files legislation to increase P3s
New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney (pictured) has filed legislation that would require the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) to help state and local governments form public-private partnerships (P3s) to get large transportation and infrastructure projects financed and under construction. The Public-Private Partnership Infrastructure Investment Act calls for USDOT to develop a best practices program for forming P3s as well as to work toward "standardizing state P3 authorities and practices, including fair and balanced assumptions made in the calculations, consistency on unsolicited bids, non-compete clauses, and other major elements." The legislation also calls for the creation of a transportation procurement office within USDOT that will help agencies implement these best practices. As a member of the House's Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Maloney has served on a panel that was focused on the use of P3s "across all modes of transportation, economic development, public buildings, water, and maritime infrastructure and equipment." He said of the legislation, "I know how important it is to bring the private sector to the table to form public-private partnerships that stretch our limited resources and allow us to invest in and rebuild our infrastructure."
WMATA considering P3 for fare card loading system
Washington, D.C.'s city buses have slowed considerably over the years, and service is less reliable than it once was. One move the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is considering to make in order to combat this trend is to allow passengers to refill their fare cards at streetside kiosks rather than at the farebox onboard the bus itself. That could decrease the wait times as people board the buses and pay the fare. WMATA is also contemplating using a public-private partnership (P3) to implement such a system. The private partner would pay the upfront costs to purchase, install and maintain the kiosks, either permanently or for a pre-determined period of time before WMATA would take ownership. The pilot project could cost $11.2 million to implement and another $320,000 per year to maintain. WMATA said that it would repay the developer over a five- to seven-year period from savings achieved by what it has estimated would be a 33-hour daily reduction in bus operating time created by the new system. No decision has yet been made about whether to go through with these plans.
New Jersey university launches P3 to build residences
New Jersey's Economic Development Authority has authorized New Jersey City University (NJCU) to form a public-private partnership (P3) to build four residential apartment buildings and a retail component on the ground floors, plus a new dormitory, all on university-owned land in the western part of Jersey City. Currently, that land is a 21-acre vacant lot. When the project construction is completed, it will hold more than 600 private apartments. The revenue generated by allowing private companies to build private residences on university-owned land will let NJCU build a performance arts center with multiple theaters, practice rooms, classrooms and a dance space. "We've been able to take that vacant lot and monetize it, basically at no cost," said Sue Henderson, the university's president. "We're not doubling our tuition. We're not putting this on the backs of taxpayers." The $400 million project will generate about $150 million in leases over the next 50 years.
Developer offers P3 for Texas county courthouse
Hidalgo County, Texas, hasn't even officially decided to replace its courthouse yet, but a private investor has made an offer to build a new courthouse while redeveloping the existing structure. The idea is to construct a new facility and then, as part of a public-private partnership (P3), redevelop the old courthouse as an office building, primarily for lawyers who do business with the county. An architectural firm recently estimated it would cost $149 million to build a new courthouse, including the demolition of the old structure. The benefits of doing the project as a P3 include the saving of time and money. The costs of the project would be fixed and any significant changes to those figures would be paid for by the developer. As well, if the existing courthouse is renovated rather than demolished, there's no question of tearing down a historical landmark. Because the courthouse is more than 50 years old, the state considers it "historic" and possibly subject to preservation rules in any effort to demolish it. That eventuality would be eliminated if it were renovated.
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