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City Council has a terrible history of issuing Requests For Proposals (RFPs) for potential developments on City owned land. A recent example is the failed RFP process for the library lot. While the RFP was broadly worded, the behind the scenes vision called for a conference center and hotel. A group formed to oppose the idea that the City should subsidize a conference center - Citizens Against the Conference Center. The conference center idea was such a boondoggle that Council withdrew the the RFP and nothing was developed on that site.

In an apparent attempt to avoid yet again another embarrassing failure, the Council passed a resolution to hand off the task of finding uses for City owned land in the downtown area. That task was given to the Downtown Development Authority. The following is the text of the Council resolution:

RESOLVED, City Council authorizes the Ann Arbor DDA to take responsibility for facilitating the process of redeveloping Parcels as follows:
Phase I -- DDA assembles information and brings in development expertise
´ Assess potential downtown development sites:
City information
  • Planning Department: Consult the Downtown Plan, Central Area Plan,
  • A2D2, and other pertinent City-approved Plans
  • Planning Department: Gather zoning, character area, historic district, and other Parcel-specific data
  • Public Services: Obtain detailed public infrastructure information for Parcels, including data on adjacent storm, water, and sanitary main capacity, hydrant coverage and other capacity-related information
  • City Environmental: Solicit potential Brownfield opportunities and review known environmental issues for each Parcel
  • DDA and Planning Department: Map Parcel land use information, including proximity to retail corridors, anchor institutional locations, vehicular and foot traffic estimates, green space, walking distances to landmark destinations
´ SPARK USA information
  • DDA requests that SPARK provide information on potential state and federal development incentives
  • DDA requests that SPARK share information regarding current and potential business interest in downtown Ann Arbor and SPARK's advice on attracting business and development to the downtown
´ Professional expertise
  • Hire real estate consultant(s) to provide detailed Parcel-specific information, as well as data regarding broader market conditions, including development demand, financing, residential and commercial leasing rates, and current valuations for downtown properties
  • Invite Councilmembers, developers, DDA members, planning commissioners, and other interested parties from other jurisdictions to Ann commissioners, and other interested parties from other jurisdictions to Ann Arbor to explain how their communities successfully redeveloped parcels in their downtowns
Phase II - Visioning Downtown Development
´ Build upon the final A2D2 Guidelines and Strategies to develop a Parcel-by-ParcelPlan. Each individual Parcel is not expected to reflect every community goal, but in the aggregate the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan will project a downtown consistent with the community's downtown vision
  • Hold work session(s) with City Council and the City Planning Commission to prioritize Parcel development goals, such as purchase price maximization; catalyze growth and improvement in adjacent parcels; maximize pedestrian activity; or strong/iconic design characteristics
  • Collate relevant data from A2D2 public meetings and surveys to determine broad community vision
  • Solicit robust public input and conduct public meetings to determine residents' Parcel-level downtown vision
  • Solicit UM, EMU, and other higher education faculty to authorize class participation in the visioning process
  • Meeting(s) with UM Planning staff to maximize coordination
  • Meetings with business and community leaders to obtain their analysis of downtown's strengths and weaknesses, its opportunities and inherent obstacles
  • Research development plans and processes in comparable communities
Phase III - Taking these ideas and shaping a strategic plan for City Council approval
´ Finalize a Parcel-by-Parcel Plan to articulate Parcel-specific desired land uses and design components
  • Draft the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan
  • Solicit robust public input and confirm the extent of community consensus for the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan through public meetings and surveys
  • Hold meetings with business and community stakeholders to determine professional assessment of the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan
  • Revise the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan as needed
  • Meet with Planning Commission and City Council
  • Obtain Planning Commission and City Council approval of the Parcelby-Parcel Plan, as an amendment to the Downtown Plan
Phase IV - Implement the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan
´ Pursue Parcel 1
  • Consider/approve DDA incentives, such as parking, affordable housing, pedestrian improvements, and use of DDA TIF
  • Draft RFP with DDA real estate consultant and City Staff
  • City Council reviews/approves RFP
  • Distribute RFP utilizing DDA real estate consultant to ensure wide distribution in, and coordination with, development community
  • Conduct pre-proposal meetings and tours of the Parcel
  • Assemble an Advisory Committee consisting of DDA members, City Planning Commission members, community members, development professionals, City Staff, and City Council members
  • Advisory Committee conducts Proposal review and developer interviews
  • Advisory Committee provides DDA with its recommendation
  • Advisory Committee provides DDA with its recommendation
  • DDA reviews and considers Advisory Committee recommendation
  • Forward approved recommendation to City Council
  • City Council reviews/decides upon DDA proposal recommendation
  • DDA consultant assists DDA as DDA and City Staff negotiate purchase and other project details
  • City Council reviews and approves agreements to purchase and redevelop Parcel
  • City Council reviews and approves the Parcel site plan and site plan development agreement, after receiving a recommendation from the City Planning Commission
  • Project constructed
´ Repeat with other Parcels

RESOLVED, That for items above requiring City Council approval, the City Administrator shall
place such items on the agenda of City Council no later than thirty (30) days after the City
Administrator's receipt thereof. In the event that such item is not voted upon within thirty (30)
days of being placed upon the agenda, then at each subsequent meeting of the City Council
where the item does not appear on the agenda, the City Administrator during Communications
from the City Administrator shall provide a status report as to reasons for the item's failure to
appear on the agenda.

RESOLVED, That in light of the DDA's expenditures of Phase IV monies in reliance upon City
Council's approval of the Parcel-by-Parcel Plan, any resulting RFP, and the DDA-proposal
recommendation, if City Council declines to approve a Parcel site plan for any reason other than
the site plan not complying with applicable zoning regulations, then the City of Ann Arbor shall
reimburse the DDA for all direct DDA Phase IV costs related to such Parcel ("Parcel Costs"),
provided that the DDA has provided to the City an accounting of DDA Parcel Costs incurred to
date (and its estimate for future Parcel Costs) at each instance at which DDA requests Phase IV
approval with respect to such Parcel.

Final action: 4/4/2011
Ann Arbor Neighborhoods,
Jan 7, 2013, 9:02 AM