During the March 22 Reservation 13 community meeting, Mayor Gray said that he was directing Victor Hoskins, Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, to seek Best and Final Offers (BAFOs) for development of parcels F1 and G1 on the site – the two parcels located next to the Stadium-Armory Metro. In the Reservation 13 Master Plan, these parcels are envisioned to include mixed-use retail and residential development.
As I explained in an earlier post, this announcement would normally be good news. While the “parcel by parcel” approach is not ideal, it at least gets development at Reservation 13 off the ground, particularly on the parcels around the Stadium-Armory Metro station. And there was clear interest by at least two developers in developing F1 and G1 back in 2010.
But talk of a Redskins training facility complicates the process. First, Mayor Gray made it clear at the March 22 meeting that he has not taken parcels F1 and G1 off the table for the training facility. Thus, any developer who considers submitting a BAFO for F1 and G1 must factor in uncertainty about whether the city will ultimately use the parcels for the training facility.
Second, the 2010 request for BAFOs (pdf) issued by the city included a significant sweetener for bidding developers. The request specifically states:
If the District selects your team for the development of Phase I, and subject to the successful completion of Phase I, your team will have the exclusive right to negotiate redevelopment of Phase 2 of the Hill East project.
In other words, the “winning” developer for Phase I (Parcels F1 and G1) would have the right of first refusal to develop the remaining parcels at Reservation 13. It is unclear whether the two developers who submitted bids to the 2010 BAFO request would have done so without this incentive.
I’m curious to see if the Deputy Mayor’s office includes this same language in their 2012 request for BAFOs for Parcels F1 and G1. Given the discussions around using 30 plus of the 50 acres available for development on Reservation 13 for a training facility, I don’t know how they could. And even if they do keep the language, would developers want to put time, money and effort into submitting a bid when the request could be withdrawn or cancelled at any time?
A cynic might envision the following scenario:
1) The city submits the BAFO request for Parcels F1 and G1, but removes the “first right of refusal” language for the winning developer.
2) With the removal of “first right of refusal language” and the general uncertainty surrounding the city’s interest in a Redskins training facility for the site, the two developers decide to not submit BAFOs in response to the new request.
3) The city declares that developers are not interested in developing Reservation 13, so the only “catalyst” for development is the training facility.
Let’s hope that is not the city’s game plan.