Council weighs Sailwinds development approaches
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.