Volume 10, Issue 1- January 3, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Here's a market segment worth monitoring in 2018 - social infrastructure. If social infrastructure is not a familiar term, think of it as construction related to social services - healthcare (hospitals), education (schools and universities), public facilities (courthouses, prisons and administration offices) and transportation projects of all types. Social infrastructure projects are often public-private partnership engagements with private-sector investors responsible for funding all or part of the project. But, no matter the type of engagement or where the funding comes from, social infrastructure projects in 2018 will represent lots of new business for many companies. 

By one report, the world will likely spend as much as $8 trillion for social infrastructure projects between now and 2020. Granted, that's a global projection, but still, it represents a lot of contracting opportunities and thousands of these projects will be launched in the U.S. If President Trump's Infrastructure Plan is ever finalized, there will obviously be many more social infrastructure projects. America's airports are in dire need of repair and expansion. Hundreds of university campuses need new research centers, student housing and additional teaching facilities. Public schools also have great needs - more classrooms, labs, technology centers and new gymnasiums. 

These types of construction projects result in many additional contracting opportunities.   

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The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the human population at 322.3 million on Dec. 31, 2015. That number has increased to an estimated 327 million as of Dec. 31, 2017. As the U.S. population increases, so does the need for healthcare facilities. Many state and county hospitals will consider partnering with a private firm or they may be forced to consider closing or selling the property due to lack of funding. Here is a look at some potential partnering opportunities.

The state of Michigan has approved a contract with a design firm to develop a new psychiatric hospital in Caro. The new hospital will be built on the same site as the existing state-run hospital. The design phase will start in early 2018. The new hospital has an expected completion date of 2021. The Caro Center is a regional state hospital for adults with mental illness. The new hospital is expected to accommodate 200 beds. 

In New Mexico, the Grant County Commission has considered a partnership instead of a sale of the Gila Regional Medical Center. Gila Regional, which is owned by the county, lost around $5 million in 2015 and $4 million in 2016. A task force is exploring the different options and plans to make a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners by the summer on whether a partnership is right for the hospital. 

The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) wants to build a hospital in Berkeley County, South Carolina. MUSC posted notice that they want a certificate of need from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control to build a 312,000-square-foot, $325-million-dollar facility with 128 beds.

UPCOMING CONTRACTING OPPORTUNITIES

New York- The Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to develop a mixed-use project above a 3.8-acre section of the Long Island Rail Road's Bay Ridge Branch freight rail corridor. The project would have to be built on a platform that spans over the railroad tracks with 22 feet of overhead clearance to maintain current and future freight rail operations. 

The MTA is looking to transform the site, located on 61st Street between Fort Hamilton Parkway and Eighth Avenue, into a mixed-use development with both affordable and market-rate apartments, retail space, office space and parking. The deadline for submissions is April 27, 2018.
Florida- The Okeechobee County Commissioners Board approved the advertising of a request for qualifications (RFQ) for the design of the proposed property appraiser, tax collector and driver's license building. Bids were received in 2013 for the project, but the board decided not to pursue the project. A RFQ will be issued again and county staff will take into consideration that the price of construction in the current economy will be higher than bids from five years ago. The facility will range from 12,000 to 15,000 square feet and the board has considered having more than one story built for the project. 

During the Dec. 28 meeting, commissioners also rejected all bids received for Agri-Civic Center additions to its arena project and authorized county staff to revise and reduce the scope of work and re-bid the project.
Minnesota- The Minnesota Department of Transportation in partnership with the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has announced a total of more than $18 million in grants for seven state highway projects. The largest single amount is a grant of $10 million for the Highway 169 and 101st Avenue North interchange project in Brooklyn Park. A retail franchise located near the project's location has agreed to contribute a portion of the $37 million for the overall cost. DEED is contributing $1.5 million. 

A grant of $5 million will go towards the Highway 10 and Highway 169 improvement project in Anoka. Total cost of this project is $83 million.
Illinois-The village of Minooka board approved sending out a request for qualifications (RFQ) for design firms to help plan and provide services for a 120-acre park, called Aux Sable Springs. Seventeen of the acres, located on Holt Road, will be designated as a forest preserve for Kendall County. The remaining acreage will be recreational with sports fields and a nature preserve. 

Future plans will include a sports complex facility in conjunction with the village's school districts. The village expects to receive the qualifications in February and there is currently no time table for completion of the project.
Massachusetts-The city of North Adams issued a request for proposals (RFP) to sell 218.6 acres of forested, former watershed land in Pownal. No bids were received. The land is assessed in Pownal at $378,300. The city hoped for some type of transfer that would conserve the property. The city previously sold a total of 3,420 acres in the area to the national forest in 2006 and 2007.

Donald Campbell, Southwest regional director with the Vermont Land Trust has said that the organization would assist in any effort to preserve the land. The proposal will go back to city council and any offers that were made prior to the RFP going out will be reviewed.
Iowa-The city of Waterloo's Community Planning and Development Department plans to issue a request for proposals (RFP) for a tenant in its downtown Public Market Building. The 7,700-square-foot structure was a former lawn care building that was renovated for $1 million as part of a $5.7 million public investment in the downtown, two-block RiverLoop Expo Plaza starting in 2007. 

A Community Attractions and Tourism grant for the project required the building to be used as a public market for at least five years and prevents it from being sold outright until 2028. Any proposals received from tenants would be evaluated not only on potential lease payments, but also on the use of the building, which has played a key role in providing restrooms and staging areas for events on the surrounding plaza.
NEWS ABOUT NATIONAL P3s

California The Orange County Transportation Authority's (OCTA) board has begun seeking bids for contractors to build the Orange County Streetcar. Bids are due in March 2018 for this private-sector partnership and the board is expected to award the construction contract in April. The $299 million project will be funded with state and federal dollars, along with revenue from Measure M, Orange County's half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements. 

OCTA's board is pursuing a full funding grant agreement with the Federal Transit Administration to cover nearly half of the streetcar's cost. The 4.1-mile streetcar line will run from Santa Ana to Garden Grove. The route would originate at the Santa Ana Regional Transportation Center. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2018, with operations starting in late 2020.
South Dakota A group of local citizens calling themselves Dive In Yankton has teamed up with the city of Yankton to get a new aquatic center at Fantle Memorial Park. Residents have chosen their favorite preliminary design and a public-private partnership (P3) is needed to relieve taxpayers of the potential burden for this estimated $16 million facility. 

The current pool is 70 years old, has cracks forming and lacks compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Due to the age of the current facility, it also isn't able to bring in larger swimming events, despite being built for swim meets. The city and Dive In Yankton plan to work on fundraising for the new facility before making further plans.
FloridaCollier County Commissioners have issued a request for proposals (RFP) from developers to either purchase or enter into a public-private partnership to build rental and senior housing on 64 acres of land. Five acres are located on Santa Barbara Boulevard between Radio Road and Davis Boulevard and 59 acres are located south of U.S. 41 at the future site of Manatee Park. 

County officials have identified a need for 532 apartments that rent for $1,200 or less. The $1,200 threshold would make those places affordable for families of four that earn about $55,000 a year. The purpose of the request is to seek information from developers and test interest and potential for each of the two sites.
WisconsinThe city of La Crosse is in need of updating its emergency service facilities, according to a task force that is dedicated to planning for the city's future, critical needs. The committee has recommended building a public safety facility to house the La Crosse Fire Department administrative offices, the La Crosse Police Department and the city Building and Inspections Department. There is also a need to build new fire stations on the far north and far south side of the city, replace the station on the intersection of Losey Boulevard and Green Bay Street and remodel the fire station at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Market Street. The last fire station was built in 1967. 

Estimates show that the project could range from $4 million to $9 million per building and even reach up to $33 million for a public safety building. The city presented the option of creating some kind of mixed-use building with a public-private partnership and suggested ways to spread out the investment so taxpayers wouldn't have to foot the bill for the entire project.
MassachusettsThe town of Sandwich is discussing ways it can reduce the cost of a $30 million wastewater treatment plant. The Sandwich Economic Initiative Corporation has held discussions on wastewater and plans to visit the neighboring town of Easton that built its treatment plant through a public-private partnership (P3). The town of Easton is also able to keep sewer rates low since it partnered with other towns to treat its sewage. 

Sandwich officials received a state grant of $34,500 from the District Local Technical Assistance program and has considered using it to communicate with its residents on what needs to be done to ensure water quality. Sandwich developed a wastewater plan in 2015 in accordance with Section 208 of the federal Clean Water Act. The town must file updates annually and this requirement was met by the wastewater consultant for the city in August 2017. The report recommends that Sandwich build three wastewater plants over a 60-year period. Along with a P3, Sandwich officials are also considering implementing a tax surcharge.
CALENDAR OF EVENTS

Feb. 26-28
The Public-Private Partnership Conference & Expo 2018 will be held Feb. 26-28 in the Downtown Dallas Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center, 400 N. Olive Street. The conference will present a series of keynote speakers, case studies, panels, workshops and networking opportunities. Attendees with little experience in the development and operation of the P3 model will benefit from industry experts presenting their knowledge, and valuable insights into market trends crucial for business decisions. 

More than 125 leading practitioners will present firsthand observations of P3 projects of all sizes in different markets from around the country. There will be in-depth roundtable discussions for public sector delegates who want to discuss P3 issues in a more candid and interactive forum. The P3 conference attracts senior management from firms in the construction, engineering, architecture, legal and consulting industries as well as public leaders, higher education officers and development agency officials at the municipal, state and federal levels of government. Registration is open for the conference here. View some details of the events here
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