June 11, 2008

Sole downtown bidder didn't meet most BDDC requirements

The only downtown revitalization plan the city received failed to meet many of the requirements laid out for developers interested in working on the former mall site.
Other than laying out the concept of creating a “live, work, play community” on the 17-acre, city-owned site, the plan submitted by the Florida-based Heritage Financial Group provided few details and almost none of the financial information required.
The proposal didn’t include a total development cost estimate, a timetable, professional references, a list of other projects, an estimate of the impact on city taxes, a description of the help the developer might want from the city or state governments and more.
The Bristol Downtown Development Corp. plans to review the proposal Monday. If it seeks promise in the proposal, it will likely meet with firm’s representatives soon and perhaps pick a preferred developer by the end of July, as officials hoped to do.
Heritage’s plan calls for upscale stores, restaurants, offices, housing and amenities ranging from a train station to a dog park on the site.
As part of its request for developers, the downtown nonprofit asked for 14 specific items that it said were required as part of any submission. Heritage ignored most of them.
One requirement, for example, is for any interested developer to send in “a summary of the scope of the project that identifies the total development cost estimate of the project.”
But the plan from Heritage doesn’t mention any expenses.
Another requirement is that developers aiming to get the nod send in “proof of financial capacity to undertake the project in the form of audited financial statements.”
They’re supposed to have provided “a list of names and addresses of bank(s) and/or financial
institution(s) references” as well, along with “letters from prospective tenants” if possible.
The BDDC said that the financial information “should be submitted as a sealed separate document” and vowed it would “held in confidence by the BDDC.”
The agency didn’t promise to keep any other information secret.
The developer was also required to “provide a description of the method of financing the project” and to “provide a clear and detailed plan for securing the necessary equity and debt to finance the project, highlighting the nature and likely timing of any major contingencies.”
It was also asked to “include preliminary commitments or statements of interest from lenders and/or potential equity partners.”
Those, too, are not included in Heritage’s package submitted to the city.
Developers interested in the project were also told to give the city “a list of at least five professional references” with key personnel fully identified with a complete resume.
Heritage only mentioned the name of its proposed project manager, with nothing to indicate who he is or what he’s done.
Officials plan to discuss the bid from Heritage when the BDDC meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at scollins@bristolpress.com


Anonymous said...


Arrivederci Legrande

former Republican activist said...

I'm just happy we had the right people put in place by the council. Special thanks to Minor and Nicastro...two of the best Bristol has!

And thank you Mayor Ward as well!

5th generation Bristol resident said...

Ward...two more years in 2009 (at least)

Anonymous said...

Back to the drawing board!

Anonymous said...

Don't forget, Ward fought the idea of the BDDC.

We are lucky that we did get some of the right people on it.

No thanks to Ward.

Anonymous said...

Bristol and Fairy Tales.

From Alice in Wonderland:
"It gets curiouser and curiouser".

What next?

Anonymous said...

We are lucky to have all the right people ~ including Mayor Ward. Thanks all!

former GOP activist said...

Johnnie R. and the BDA would have thrown this out weeks ago.

You're right again Mayor Ward!

Anonymous said...

Like they threw out the never ending elevator project at the Carousel Museum? Hey, wasn't Howard Schmelder simultaneously on both the BDA and the Carousel Museum Boards? It does get curiouser and curiouser.

If you laid the dollars end-to-end, that Johnnie R and the BDA have pissed away in the last decade you would have a ribbon of money that extended from Bristol right into Mr. LaGrande's Jacksonville office.

I'm glad the BDDC has the capable decision makers in place to handle this project in a professional and thorough manner.

Anonymous said...

Who are the "capable decision makers" on the BDDC? You can't possibly be referring to Frank Johnson, John Lodovico, and John Leone, who have presided over the decay of city business and the mismanagement of Bristol's commercial developments through the mayor's office, the chamber of Commerce, and the Zoning board.

Anonymous said...

Frank Johnson is a capable guy but I question his judgement sometimes.
Leone is capable and has better judgement.
Johnnie Lod concerns me a bit.

but they're all good guys.

Anonymous said...

Like Jonathan hs moved the SEBBP right along, with people just waiting to get in?

Anonymous said...

Nominated by Nicastro Zoppo Ward.

Anonymous said...

June 11, 2008 5:14 PM poster,

Get your facts straight. Howard was not on both boards.

It is better to keep you mouth shut and be thought a fool then to open it and prove it.

Anonymous said...

right, what ever...

This proposal was ridiculous. Dump it, throw it out, move on...

or should I say move for-Ward!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for proving the point.