The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission recently released a request for qualifications (RFQ)
from developers who are interested in developing the Duneland School
Corporation parcel the Town purchased across Ind. 149 from the Town hall in
28 acres of DSC property and the four-acre site that contains Food Truck
Square--can be developed starting in March of next year once the Town makes
its last payment to schools, according to Town Attorney Clay Patton. The
Commission is looking for proposals that include an updated Town hall and a
Town community center, while maintaining or enhance the character of Food
President Eric Hull said releasing the RFQ isn’t a commitment to development
just yet, but it’s “the next step in the development of that property.”
Consultant Tina Rongers explained the process, saying it’s “a casting call
for master developers.”
Rongers said the
first step is advertising the RFQ by contacting the NWI Forum, using
existing connections to developers, and advertising in industry
publications. Interested developers will deliver a master development plan
and a packet containing information about their employees, track record,
comparable projects they’ve completed, what connections they can bring to
the project, and what kind of creativity they expect to bring to the table.
expected to come into the project with private equity to fund construction
and management of the property.
Once the proposals
are submitted, the Commission will appoint a committee of Town officials who
will review the proposals and make a recommendation. Hull clarified that the
RFQ doesn’t require the Town to spend any money, nor does it obligate the
Town to pursue any project. The Commission will interview the
developer/developers recommended by the committee and make the final choice.
Rongers says that
the master plan selected “becomes our playbook on how that site goes from
being vacant to vibrant,” and the developer will work with the town to
engage stakeholders, form a project schedule and implement those projects.
whether or not any residential development is allowed on the parcel would be
part of the master development agreement after a developer is selected, but
the first priority is the Town community center. Town employees would also
get a chance to weigh-in on what they think about the impact of different
types of development. Patton also said the Town would have the option to
negotiate on the projects put forth by the developer in the agreement.
voted to release the RFQ and require submission by Nov. 14. If a developer
is selected, that will be announced at the December meeting.
President Kevin Tracy announced that he is stepping down from his leadership
role due to personal reasons. He will remain a member on the Commission.
Hull was voted in as the new President and member Nick Loving was elected