Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Village 3 RFP Is Out

Mary Curtius, a spokesperson for Arlington County, tells the HeraldTrib that the “Request for Proposals” for companies to redevelop Buckingham Village 3 was sent to “our list of developers late Wednesday." The RFP is now on the county’s web site, as well. The release of the RFP was slowed when the county manager's office asked to look it over before its release in early November.

The RFP asks for, “an experienced development team to partner with Arlington County to rehabilitate the existing 140 units at Buckingham Village 3 and to design and implement an affordable housing program that encompasses home ownership and/or rental opportunities for a range of income levels.”

Village 3 sits inside the square of N. Pershing Drive, N. Thomas Street, N. 4th Street, and N. George Mason Drive.
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The RFP not only asks for companies to redevelop the units within the limitations of historic designation and with sales and lease in mind, but to “explore opportunities to increase the number or size of units while delivering a minimum of 140 affordable units." “Bump out” additions to some buildings are mentioned in the RFP—five locations have tentative approval. In the past, housing advocates have said using basement space might be a possibility.

None of the 16 buildings can be destroyed, and any additions or subtractions (from “tot lot” playgrounds to trees) must be approved by the county’s Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board.

As well, tenants on the working group, which produced the RFP with county staff, have asked for:

  • Individual [utility] meters for each unit/household
  • Remove boilers and replace with (non-boiler) heat and air conditioning systems
  • Energy star appliances such as new refrigerators
  • Gas stoves
  • Reuse and refurbish existing wooden floors where possible
  • Where carpets are used, use colors that do not soil easily
  • “Tot Lots” in existing common areas
  • Community meeting space on the property

  • Some of these items (such as the color of the carpet and the gas stoves) have come in as a reaction to the renovation of Gates of Ballston, which uses electric stoves and beige carpets. Residents there have complained of the stoves which overheat, they say, and of carpets that are too easily soiled.

    “The County will retain ownership of the land in order to guarantee affordability for the long-term,” the RFP states. However, due to state law, the county cannot own the buildings; however, it can own the “lease structures” David Cristeal, in the county's housing division, has said in the past.

    The proposal will be evaluated on “Vision,” “Housing Program Concept,” “Proposed Financial Plan,” and “Experience and Qualifications of Developer and Development team,” the RFP states.

    Although the RFP states there will be a time for public input, it does not list who will be evaluating the proposals, which was a mild point of contention between the residents on the Village 3 Working Group and the county staff.

    Deadline for the proposals is Jan. 18, 2008.

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