Council weighs Sail­winds de­vel­op­ment ap­proaches

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE vwingate@ches­

CAM­BRIDGE — Cam­bridge City Council met for a work ses­sion on Fri­day, Sept. 30, to dis­cuss de­vel­op­ment ap­proaches for the Sail­winds port prop­erty.

City man­ager San­dra Tripp-Jones pre­sented the council and Mayor Vic­to­ria Jack­son-Stan­ley with proand-con lists for each of the four strate­gies: re­quest for quo­ta­tion (RFQ), re­quest for pro­posal (RFP) with min­i­mum re­quire­ments, RFP with cri­te­ria or the city acts as the de­vel­oper.

Pros of the RFQ ap­proach would in­clude free­dom for cre­ativ­ity, a quicker up-front process, and the de­vel­oper would take the risk of suc­cess or fail­ure. Cons could in­clude wasted time and money in pick­ing a de­vel­oper and com­ing to an agreement on a plan, and the pub­lic would not see a plan un­til af­ter it is ap­proved.

The RFP with min­i­mum re­quire­ments would have the city se­lect a de­vel­oper based on a pro­posed de­vel­op­ment plan that in­cor­po­rates the city’s de­sired uses for the prop­erty. Pros of this op­tion in­clude the op­por­tu­nity for pub­lic in­put, abil­ity to in­cor­po­rate mar­ket study re­sults, and the de­vel­oper still car­ries the risk of fail­ure.

How­ever, the RFP with min­i­mum re­quire­ments may not move as quickly as the first op­tion, and the city may not get ev­ery­thing it wants.

In an RFP with cri­te­ria, the city would set more clearly de­fined pa­ram­e­ters for the de­vel­oper to plan within. The pros of this ap­proach are largely the same as that of an RFP with min­i­mum re­quire­ments.

More de­fined cri­te­ria may chill cre­ativ­ity and thereby limit the num­ber of pro­pos­als re­ceived by the city, and it would also re­quire more time on the part of the city to de­cide on the spe­cific cri­te­ria.

The fourth ap­proach would have the city act as the de­vel­oper for the project. This ap­proach would al­low for the most pub­lic in­volve­ment, and the city would be more in con­trol than with any other ap­proach. The city would re­ceive the prof­its should the project be fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful.

Were the city to act as the project de­vel­oper, it also would be the most time con­sum­ing and costly of the ap­proaches. It would re­quire build­ing and main­tain­ing in­fra­struc­ture and on­go­ing man­age­ment costs. If the project were to fail, the city would bear that bur­den.

Tripp-Jones said the city does not have the ex­pe­ri­enced per­son­nel it would re­quire to de­sign, build and man­age a project of this mag­ni­tude.

Mayor and council will now be able to weigh their op­tions with more in­for­ma­tion and de­cide at a later meet­ing how to pro­ceed with the de­vel­op­ment of the 12-acre prop­erty.

The state trans­ferred the par­cel, which in­cludes Gov­er­nors Hall, to the city in Au­gust 2014 with the agreement the city would de­velop the land within 15 years. The state wanted to sell the land to a de­vel­oper, but the city stepped in and asked the state to transfer the land to it, and give the city a chance to de­velop the land con­sis­tently with its com­pre­hen­sive plan.

“Any re­de­vel­op­ment of the prop­erty shall pre­serve pub­lic ac­cess to and along the prop­erty’s wa­ter­front with park or open space,” said Cam­bridge City At­tor­ney Rob Col­li­son said. “These must be ad­hered to. Not all of the prop­erty is look­ing to be trans­ferred. The city will be re­tain­ing some or re­quir­ing the de­vel­oper to ded­i­cate some for the pub­lic ac­cess and pub­lic park.”

A two-acre par­cel of the prop­erty is be­ing leased to Yacht Main­te­nance Com­pany un­der a 30 year agreement that the council voted to ap­prove on Wed­nes­day, Feb. 17. Ear­lier in 2016, the council de­clared a small area, less than an acre, to be ex­cess prop­erty in or­der to in­clude it in the por­tion leased to YMC.

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