Volume 10, Issue 29- Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Mary Scott Nabers, President/CEO, Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Now that the rhetoric and the debate over passage of the federal tax bill have subsided, one component of that legislation is getting lots of attention. That would be "Opportunity Zones." 

Last month, the U.S. Department of the Treasury approved the final round selection efforts for designated opportunity zones. This new program allows investors to avoid capital gains tax by socking away profits by investing opportunity funds in designated zones throughout the country. 

To qualify for tax benefits, at least 90 percent of the assets in opportunity funds must be invested into a low-income area which has been designated by the federal government. The zones represent areas in need of infrastructure and real estate investment. The goal is to encourage the free market to help these distressed areas by providing funding.  

The program lets investors avoid the usual tax on capital gains if the profits are allocated to opportunity zones between now and 2026. Other incentives kick in if the investments are held for at least 10 years. 

Companies can receive as much as a 15 percent tax break if they stick with an opportunity zone investment for at least seven years. This program is similar to one created by President Clinton in 1994 which set up empowerment zones, but that program has since expired. 

A census tract is used to designate a region as low-income thereby creating an opportunity zone. At least 20 percent or more of the region's households must fall below the poverty line, or the median family income in the tract must be below 80 percent of the statewide median income. Florida has 427 of the 8,700 low-income census tracts nationwide designated as opportunity zones.

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Courtesy Photo: Citizens Planning and Housing Association. Rendering of State Center project.
Maryland- Maryland has re-launched development of the State Center project in Midtown Baltimore. The Maryland Stadium Authority and the Maryland Department of General Services issued a request for expression of interest (RFEOI)in taking over the redevelopment of 28 acres of state offices. The site is considered a transit-oriented development by city and state officials for its location adjacent to subway and light rail stops. It's also near Symphony Center, a complex of apartments, offices and shops. The project, however, remains mired in lawsuits with a developer that began working on a $1.5 billion plan in 2009. 

Baltimore sued the firm for its delayed progress and the firm countersued the city for breaking contract. It's not clear how the litigation will be resolved, or if the project can proceed. The RFEOI is viewed as the first step in a multi-step process of selecting a new master developer which will serve as a basis for creating a short list of firms invited to respond to a request for proposals. Responses from interested developers are due Aug. 22 and results are expected in September.
North Carolina- Wake County Commissioners will hold a public hearing on Aug. 6, to discuss more than $1 billion in bond proposals. The $349 million Wake Tech bond would fund construction projects for four years on the college's various campuses. The $120 million parks bond would provide money to purchase land for county parks and open space and to extend greenways. 

The $548 million Wake County Public School System bond would go toward building seven new schools and renovating nearly a dozen others. The school construction bond would fund two years of a proposed seven-year building program. If voters approve all three referenda, the county would have to raise its property tax rate by 3.8 cents to pay off the bonds.
Florida- Funding for a new ballpark for the Tampa Bay Rays is still up in the air. Plans for a new Ybor City complex project would include a 28,216-seat stadium at a cost of $892 million. Building the stadium on a 14-acre site would serve as a replacement for the aging Tropicana field in St. Petersburg. The team has tentatively committed $150 million to the project, yet management has hinted that the team's contribution could be more than double that figure with the right level of support via ticket sales and a major sponsorship. 

A public-private partnership is expected to be in order, but the exact cost to all parties involved remains unclear. The Rays are currently committed to play at Tropicana Field through 2027, but under the terms of the three-year window could buy out of the lease for $2 million annually.
Courtesy Photo: City of Denver. Rendering of National Western Center.
Colorado- A collaborative project between the city of Denver, Denver County, Colorado State University and the Western Stock Show Association will transform the stock show campus along Interstate 70 into a year-round destination. The first two phases of construction, costing $756 million, will stretch over the next seven years for the National Western Center. The redevelopment will preserve historic buildings, connect the site to the South Platte River and surrounding neighborhoods, and potentially create one of the largest campuses to be powered by renewable energy. 

Major assets within the National Western Center's first two phases will include redevelopment of the stockyards, construction of a 508,000-square-foot, year-round Equestrian Center with 1,050 below-grade parking spaces, and a Livestock Center, including an equestrian barn and arenas. When not in use for the stock show, the 325,000-square-foot Livestock Center will provide multiuse space for small concerts and other events. 

The final piece to the National Western Center, a 60-acre parcel known as the Triangle, will include construction of a new 10,000-seat event center to replace the Denver Coliseum, along with a Trade Show and Exhibit Hall, structured parking and renovation of the historic 1909 Stadium Arena into a new use. A request for qualifications is expected to go out late this year. National Western Center partners will be looking for innovation and creativity to deliver the required and associated uses on the Triangle site. The hope is for the county to start breaking ground on the projects as early as 2019.
Interstate 20 bridges
Georgia and South Carolina- The Georgia Department of Transportation and the South Carolina Department of Transportation are collaborating on a $90 million project to replace Interstate 20 bridges over the Augusta Canal and the Savanna Canal. The project would start near the Georgia Welcome Center, about 800 feet west of the Augusta Canal, and extend until Exit 1 in South Carolina. 

A single bridge will replace the two eastbound and two westbound bridges over the Augusta Canal and the Savannah River that connect the two states. The bridge will have three lanes on each side, 12-foot outside and inside shoulder on both directions with eastbound and westbound travel lanes separated by a median. The two bridges over the Augusta Canal were built in 1964, while the two bridges over the Savannah River were built in 1965. Bids for the project will be issued in October.
Courtesy Photo: Charlotte Area Transit System. Rendering of Charlotte Gateway Station.
North Carolina- The city of Charlotte is working with the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT), a consultant team and local stakeholders to establish a private partner for the development of a full station district. The formal request for proposals process is expected to start later this summer, and officials said a private partner could be chosen as early as December 2018. 

The first phase of the Charlotte Gateway Station (CGS) will entail building infrastructure for passenger rail to access the CGS station district. The planned work will include building 2,000 feet of rail track, signals, five new bridges and a rail platform. Phase 1, partially funded through a $30 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant, is also funded through state and local funds. Work for the first phase of construction has been awarded and is currently set for completion by 2022.
Arkansas- The Arkansas Department of Transportation (ARDOT) proposed a plan to alleviate traffic on Highway 10 near Rodney Parham. Highway 10 has thousands of cars on its road daily, specifically, through the intersection of Cantrell and Rodney Parham. 

The plan is to elevate Cantrell to become almost like a parkway. Cantrell will be above Rodney Parham, so there won't be a traffic light on the highway anymore. Under Cantrell, Rodney Parham will have a "Texas turnaround" put in place, in part of what's called a single point urban interchange. The project is expected to cost around $70 million. Construction won't begin until late 2019 to early 2020.
Indiana- Five sites have been proposed for a convention center in Lake County. A recently completed study found that a 70,000 square foot convention center would be feasible for the region and an economic boost for Northern Indiana. Proposed sites include the former Radisson/Star Plaza property and Century Mall, both in Merrillville; Silverstone in Hobart; Kennedy Avenue and Interstate 80/94 in Hammond and Majestic Star in Gary. The convention center is expected to cost $58 million to build and to generate nearly $400 million in direct spending over 20 years. 

Priorities include having a full-service quality hotel on site and mixed-use development. The report, which was commissioned by the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority, stated that providing incentives through a tax increment financing district and implementation of a food and beverage tax would be the most likely sources to pay for the center. Yet at this stage, officials are still open to creative funding ideas such as the initiation of a public-private partnership (P3) to drive the project forward.
Massachusetts- The town of Montague approved a draft for the request for qualifications (RFQ) for an $11.2 million facility presented by the Department of Public Works (DPW) building committee. The project is a proposed 25,500-square-foot facility on municipal property adjacent to the town's public safety complex, in an undeveloped wooded lot.  

In May, the town approved a debt-exclusion to fund the project. The anticipated start for the project is to begin construction in 2019, with a plan for completion in 2020. The town plans to first contract with a project manager, who will help assist and advise the contract negotiations with a potential designer that was used for a project in 2015.
California- In April, San Jose hired its first chief information security officer, responsible for securing a digital environment. The city plans to issue a procurement for a wide range of security tools that will transform San Jose's security operations and enable the cybersecurity division, created in 2016, to support the organization as it strives toward its goal of being a smart city. 

The request for proposals (RFP) will allow the city to get a contractor to perform security assessments. A virtual security operations center will be outsourced, as well as an incident-response capability that will allow the city's cybersecurity division to do appropriate forensics and communications and the legal aspects of any incident in case something was to happen. The RFP also covers cybersecurity training and a purchasing contract that will allow the city to buy security tools quickly without needing to re-enter the procurement process each time it needs to adapt. San Jose has set a goal to become the most innovative city by 2020.
Utah- Snow College has announced that it will issue a request for proposals for 100 units of student housing. The Utah State Board of Regents has authorized Snow College to participate in a public-private partnership (P3) to develop the Richfield campus. 

The housing will be built on college property and the developer will be responsible for building and maintaining the structure and parking lots under a lease agreement for 40 years. The facility will become college property at the end of the agreement.
New Jersey- Camden County officials have issued a request for proposals to redevelop a mile-stretch of Haddon Avenue, that contains vacant buildings and lots, and other parts of the downtown area. The county is seeking a vendor to study the prospects for sweeping changes in the Parkside, Whitman Park and Gateway neighborhoods, including new homes and shops at two transit-oriented developments. One of those sites could feature a new light-rail station. Ongoing planning envisions a station for a light-rail line between Camden and Glassboro.  

The vendor, once chosen, is to prepare a study focusing on "redevelopment plan overlay zoning" for the entire corridor, rather than putting an individual focus on the Parkside, Whitman Park and Gateway neighborhoods. The vendor also will prepare feasibility studies for the Haddon Gateway and Haddon Square projects. Bids are to be opened Aug. 22.
California- Napa Valley College (NVC) leadership has decided to delay the 2018 facilities bond, opening the door for public-private partnerships (P3). The decision to postpone a bond could accelerate the college effort to meet academic and community needs in other ways - mainly with P3s designed to bring more affordable housing and job training to Napa. 

The college is preparing a proposed P3 for apartments to the northeast corner of the campus. These apartments will directly impact housing affordability and student retention. Other plans being floated include producing a public-private culinary-hospitality facility and a machine tool and welding manufacturing complex that would provide training - and careers - for NVC graduates.
City of Lancaster
Pennsylvania- The city of Lancaster will be funding a $2 million renovation of Lancaster Square as part of a larger overhaul of the downtown area. Public input sessions have been productive thus far, with residents discussing ideas such as calming traffic along North Queen Street and working to create more of a link between the square and Binn's Park. The Plaza project would be part of a larger overhaul of the block. 

The city has proposed replacing the annex between the Hotel Lancaster and 101NQ (101 North Queen) with a parking garage or mixed-use retail and residential space. The city has issued a request for proposals for private developers that are interested in collaborating on the project. Downtown Lancaster's newest destination on 101 North Queen St., appropriately named 101NQ, contains over 150,000 square feet of multi-use real estate. The 101NQ will open in 2019 and offer new retail, office and luxury residential spaces.
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Texas- The city of San Antonio has issued a request for information (RFI) about a potential autonomous vehicle pilot program. The City Council's Innovation and Technology Committee in June identified three zones in which to test smart city technology. The Medical District, Brooks and downtown were chosen as proving grounds for future initiatives that would be eventually rolled out citywide. The medical center would likely serve as the local nexus of autonomous vehicle testing. Brooks, the former U.S. Air Force base with 1,300 acres slated for live-work-play development on the city's Southeast Side, also could potentially feature autonomous vehicle testing.  

Other possible aspects of an autonomous vehicle pilot program could include shuttling from building to building its 2,000 employees scattered in various locations downtown. Among the other possible uses are integrating autonomous vehicles into city fleets, such as to maintain streets, stormwater systems, and transportation infrastructure, as well as trash collection. The RFI calls for responses to be submitted by Aug. 20.
Washington, D.C.- As part of President Trump's federal reorganization plan, a request for information (RFI) has been released on ways to help devise a strategy for building and maintaining a research center for reskilling federal employees and improving citizen services across government. The Government Effectiveness Advanced Research, or GEAR, Center is a public-private partnership that would address operational and strategic challenges facing the Federal Government, both now and into the future, by engaging researchers, academics, non-profits, and private industry across an array of disciplines, such as data science, organizational behavior, and user-centered design. 

The center's findings would be used to design and roll out initiatives across the executive branch. The administration has yet to determine whether the GEAR Center will be a physical institution, a network of experts working together remotely, or an office attached to a university or think tank. In the RFI, officials asked industry to weigh in on the benefits of different operating models and what government's role in the center should be, as well as propose different strategies for funding the center in the long term. The White House plans to provide funding to stand up the center, but it would need outside money to keep it up and running in the long run, officials said. They asked respondents to include sustainable funding strategies in their proposals. Responses are due by Sept. 14.
Jane Garvey
Washington, D.C.- The $2.1 billion North Tarrant Express project in Texas and Jane Garvey, have been recognized as models of excellence in innovative transportation finance by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). The awards were presented July 19 in two categories during ARTBA's 30th Annual Public Private Partnerships (P3s) in Transportation Conference. 

P3 Champion of the Year: Jane Garvey made outstanding contributions to the forward progress of P3s in the U.S. transportation industry. Garvey served as the first female Federal Aviation Administrator. She served as acting administrator and deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), where she conceived and developed the "Innovative Financing Initiative," or GARVEE bonds, enabling states to use federal highway funds more effectively. Most of the funds-management methods tested by more than 30 states under the initiative were later enacted into law. 

P3 Project of the Year: The North Tarrant Express in Texas is a project that demonstrates the value P3s bring to U.S. transportation development. The 13.5-mile project improved safety and doubled highway capacity lanes across six municipalities in North Texas, including one of the state's busiest highway corridors with as many as 200,000 cars traveling the stretch daily. The project, which began in 2010 and was completed nine months ahead of schedule in late 2014, was long considered a high priority for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and became one of the first P3 projects of its kind to be approved under comprehensive state legislation passed in 2003. Long-term savings for TxDOT include $650 million in maintenance costs estimated over the remaining 45-year concession period. The partnership leveraged public investment by more than five times, enabling the project to be completed earlier than under the state's transportation funding model. The expansive design-build-finance-operate-maintain (DBFOM) reconstruction project has greatly changed the face of infrastructure in the Dallas-Fort Worth and greater North Texas region. 
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- Nathan West will be the next Port Angeles city manager in Washington State. West has served as the city's community and economic development director since 2008. He began working for the city as principal planner in 2005. West will replace the current City Manager Dan McKeen, who announced in May that he would retire Sept. 5. 
- Grant Schneider has been chosen as the federal chief information security officer (CISO) for the Office of Management and Budget. Schneider has been filling the CISO role in an acting capacity and is the National Security Council's (NSC) senior director for cybersecurity. He will continue serving in his position on the NSC. Schneider previously served as the Defense Intelligence Agency's chief information officer. 
- Gregory McLeod has been chosen as the president of Edgecombe Community College in North Carolina. McLeod most recently was at Thomas Nelson Community College in Williamsburg, Va., where he served as interim dean of health professions and provost and chief campus administrative officer of academic and student affairs. 
- Kristin Williams has been named chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) effective Aug. 16. Williams currently is president of Henderson Community College. 
- Kenneth Martin will retire as the president of Ellis County campuses after 43 years with the Texas school. Martin has served Navarro College in various roles from advising students one-on-one to establishing innovative and inclusive programs. Before appointed as president, Martin worked as the vice president of academic affairs from 2004 to 2011. 
- Chris Zapata, who stepped down as city manager of San Leandro earlier this month, was named city manager of Anaheim in southern California. Zapata had served in the San Leandro job since 2012. He will officially start his new position on Aug. 6. 
- North Carolina Ports announced it has hired Bill Corcoran as chief information officer (CIO) to grow the authority's information technology department and business process area. Corcoran enters his new role as CIO with nearly 30 years of experience in both the IT and maritime industries. Before joining the North Carolina Ports team, Corcoran served as the senior vice president of strategy and service management and vice president of business process and information technology with a Japanese transport company. 
- University of Colorado President Bruce Benson has announced his plans for retirement come July 2019. Benson has led the state's largest higher-education institution since 2008. 
- Fort Worth has named Jim Davis as the city's fire chief in Texas. Fort Worth's last fire chief, Rudy Jackson, retired in February. Davis was the assistant fire chief in Columbus, Ohio. Davis is expected to begin work in Fort Worth on Sept. 17. 
- Eric Berglund, formerly the president of the Southwest Florida Economic Development Alliance, was announced as the first CEO of the Land of Lincoln Economic Development Corporation. The LLEDC is a public-private partnership aiming to attract economic development to Springfield and Sangamon County. 
- For more than a year and a half, the Albany, N.Y., Police Department has been led by acting Police Chief Bob Sears, but with Sears set to retire, Eric Hawkins will take over. Hawkins has been the police chief in Southfield, Mich., since 2012. 
- North Dakota's chief information officer, Shawn Riley, announced a new position called the chief reinvention officer, or CRO, that will be filled on Aug. 20 by Julie Cabinaw, a private industry executive. The creation of Cabinaw's role came along with two others who will work alongside Riley. Duane Schell has now been named the state's chief technology officer. The state has also created a new chief data officer position, for which it is still seeking applicants.  
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