Volume 8, Issue 15 - July 6, 2016
Public transit agencies - collaborating with private-sector firms?
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
In a world of drone package delivery and self-driving cars, it's clear that all kinds of everyday activities are being impacted by technology. That's especially true when it comes to transportation.

Mobile app-based ridesharing is a trend that has tremendous energy behind it ... and, it has created a few road bumps along the way. The taxi industry has definitely been impacted as well as public transit authorities. With ridesharing services available at the tap of a button, many public transit users are trading fare cards for mobile apps.

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New York selects finalists for Javits Center expansion
Design-build project to cost more than $1 billion, begin construction in 2017
New York state officials have been moving quickly on a plan to expand the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the West Side of Manhattan:
  • In January, Gov. Andrew Cuomo included the project among his list of major infrastructure projects the state would be working on this year;
  • In April, lawmakers passed legislation allowing the Empire State Development Corporation (ESD) to use the Design-Build method of procurement in an effort to speed up the process of building public infrastructure;
  • Also that month, the ESD issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) seeking to identify potential partners for the project; and
  • At the end of June, ESD officials announced a shortlist of three developers that will compete to be selected as the winning bidder.
The project is certainly on a fast track toward construction, and the three shortlisted development groups will have until Oct. 31 to formulate their plans for the 1.2-million-square-foot expansion. The ESD controls the Javits Center, which already comprises 1.8 million square feet with 840,000 square feet of exhibition space, and the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation operates the facility.

Rendering of Javits Center expansion from Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Though the original plan for the expansion project called for construction to begin before the end of 2016, the announcement last week of the finalists indicated that project commencement wouldn't come until next year.

"We plan on maintaining our normally packed schedule through construction and filling the new space as soon as it opens," said Alan Steel, president and chief executive officer of the New York Convention Center Operating Corporation, which operates the Javits Center. "We will be able to attract a new generation of customers to the Empire State, leading to the creation of new jobs and new business opportunities for New Yorkers."

The expansion project will add nearly 650,000 square feet of meeting space, including a new exhibition hall, a 58,000-square-foot ballroom and 22,000 square feet of outdoor event space to the Javits Center. Additionally, a four-level, 633,000-square-foot truck garage will be constructed, with loading docks. That will allow for 200 tractor-trailer trucks to be removed from the street, contributing to "a 50 percent reduction in truck trips," according to the project's leaders.

The fact that the project will be conducted using Design-Build is a result of a push by state officials to loosen restrictions on the procurement method, which also is being used currently to rebuild the Tappan Zee Bridge. The officials argued that Design-Build would save both time and money on the types of major infrastructure projects that Cuomo had pitched in his January State of the State address, including a new Hudson River rail tunnel and the $3 billion overhaul of Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan.

The state legislature passed a bill in April, Cuomo signed it and the ESD issued its RFQ almost simultaneously.

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Indiana, Kentucky agree to build Interstate 69 bridge
State leaders in Indiana and Kentucky have agreed to pursue a project that would construct a bridge that would cross the Ohio River and extend Interstate 69 into the latter state. The highway currently stops just short of the state line in Evansville, Ind. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (pictured, left) and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (pictured, right) made a formal announcement of the agreement last week and indicated that a request for proposals (RFP) would be issued by the end of the year for the environmental and design phases of the project. Officials said that the two states will share the costs of development, design and environmental testing work for the bridge project. The state governments have allocated $17 million for the preliminary work that will ensue following the RFP process. Though the bridge project has been years in the making, it is still early enough in the planning stages that a location has not yet been determined. The bridge, however, will be built on a piece of property between Evansville and Henderson, Ken., officials have said. The project will now undergo a federal review that will include site selection, a process that could take up to three years.
University of Kentucky to issue parking structure RFP
The University of Kentucky will open a new residential hall for the fall 2016 semester with 1,100 beds. The new dorm will increase to 2,500 the number of students who will now live on the campus's northern end. Now, university officials are contemplating the construction of a new parking facility to accommodate the number of students making frequent use of that side of campus. The garage would be built on the site of a surface parking lot that currently has about 150 parking spaces primarily used by university employees and for surrounding retail businesses. A request for proposals is being developed and should be issued by the end of summer, according to university officials. "We need more parking," said Eric Monday, executive vice president for finance and administration. "We've also seen a lot of interest from various retailers to come into this marketplace. It would meet the need of the campus but also the local businesses."
West Virginia school authority OK's school projects
The West Virginia School Building Authority (SBA) last week awarded 13 major improvement project (MIP) grants to school districts throughout the state. The largest individual project will be a $10.8 million endeavor to upgrade the HVAC systems and implement an overhaul of the energy system within the Berkeley County school district. Another grant will go to Fayette County Schools, which will conduct a $1.2 million project that will add classrooms to Midland Trail High. That expansion will allow the school district to close a middle school that has been found to be structurally deficient. With state funding secured, Fayette County Schools officials will begin the process of closing down Ansted Middle School. The major improvement project funding historically has been granted on an annual basis, but officials with the SBA this year decided to combine two years' worth of MIP grants and award them simultaneously.
Missouri Valley sets bond vote for fire station, city hall
Members of the Missouri Valley, Iowa, City Council have set Aug. 2 as the date for a bond election that will decide the fate of a proposed facility to house a new fire station and city hall. The project has been in motion for about two years, and city officials have completed the planning stage and set a public meeting for July 21. The public forums will give residents a chance to view schematic designs of the proposed facility, ask questions about the project and receive information regarding how the $2.4 million bond issue would affect the property tax rate. The project is a part of the city's comprehensive plan, which was developed in 2012. It will construct a building that will house both municipal offices and the fire department in an effort to save money. Bids for the project will be sought following the Aug. 2 bond election, if the measure passes.
Alexandria leaders consider big changes to city hall
City officials in Alexandria, La., are proposing to tear down a portion of city hall and rebuild it at the location of a former bank facility. "It's doable. It's doable now," Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy (pictured) said of the proposal. "It is a game-changing project for the downtown, and one that I think would provide the basis for a whole lot more to happen." The idea would be to demolish a portion of the municipal facility while keeping the section of the building called Convention Hall. The cleared space would be converted into an open, park-like space. City offices would be relocated to the site of the former bank building. Roy's argument for the project is that, at a price of about $6 million, the relocation would be less expensive than remaining at the current location. "The truth is, we have a comparison of the dollars. It will cost you more to stay here than what we're going to propose in this project," he said. The condition of the current city hall is such that repairing aging infrastructure and other structural problems could be cost prohibitive. The project, said city officials, could be an important step in their effort to redevelop the city's riverfront. They have requested private developers provide proposals that could help the city meet its development goals.

News about public-private partnerships (P3s)

NYCHA issues RFP for mixed-income apartments
Seeking to generate funds that would go toward renovations of municipally owned housing developments throughout New York City, New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) officials have released a request for proposals (RFP) for a mixed-income residential building. The project will allow the selected developer to include 150 market-rate apartments in the 300-unit building. The new apartment tower will be constructed on East 92nd Street in Manhattan on a parcel currently occupied by a city playground. The RFP states that the developer will be required to include a 5,000-square-foot community center, a new playground to replace the one being lost and parking spaces. Also in the project's description is a wish list from residents of amenities they'd like to see in the new building, including gardening areas, an affordable gym, a small business incubator or job training center and a health facility. The project is a part of the NYCHA's NextGen program, which is intended to raise funding that could be used to make repairs at other NYCHA developments. Proposals are due Sept. 30.
Private partner selected for Denver's Great Hall
Denver International Airport's Great Hall will get redeveloped as part of a public-private partnership (PPP/P3) project. Last week, officials with the Department of Aviation of the city and county of Denver, which owns the airport, announced that they have selected a winning bidder to form the PPP. The private partner was selected from a shortlist of three developers, which was announced in May. Officials with both the public and private sides of the deal now will negotiate the terms and scope of pre-development work that needs to be done, a process expected to take between six and eight weeks. The pre-development work will itself take an additional six months and serve to refine the scope, financial terms and schedule for the agreement. It will also entail the negotiations of the final contract for the concession contract, covering the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the project. The PPP will redesign Denver International Airport's Great Hall, upgrading the airport's main terminal.
North Dakota State to build housing through PPP
Leaders of North Dakota State University (NDSU) have embarked on a project that will add student housing near the school's Fargo campus. To be built on property owned by the university's alumni association, the 300-bed facility will consist of studio and one- to three-bedroom apartments. The project will also feature study lounges, laundry facilities and parking. School officials released a request for qualifications (RFQ) in June seeking developers to form a public-private partnership (PPP/P3) for the project. Responses to the RFQ are due tomorrow, July 7, after which a shortlist of potential private partners will be named. A request for proposals (RFP) is scheduled to be issued by August and a developer selected in October. The chosen partner will design, build, finance, operate and maintain the residential facility through a ground lease.
Newark officials solicit proposals for parking garage
Newark, N.J., city officials have issued a request for proposals (RFP) seeking to identify a private partner to construct a parking facility on city-owned property. The project would be built and paid for through a public-private partnership (PPP/P3). Members of the Newark City Council last week approved the issuance of the RFP after many of the city's business owners requested city leaders address the downtown area's lack of parking. Newark's city government last year acquired the remaining portion of a surface parking lot it did not already own with the intention of building a garage on the property. The RFP proposes to do so using private-sector financing. The idea is for a private partner to build the parking facility with retail space located on the lower levels and for the city government to lease and operate the garage. The RFP's terms state that the garage must double the number of currently available parking spaces, which would entail construction of a facility with at least 400 spaces, as well as enough parking for the retail component. Private firms interested in the project will be able to present their plans to the city council at a not-yet-scheduled public meeting.

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