Fort Gillem authority solicits
business plans

By Daniel Silliman


Fort Gillem's Redevelopment Authority is set to interview the three firms proposing business plans for the redevelopment project.

Burns and McDonnell, Matrix Design, and Huntley Partners have submitted proposals to the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) on how the 1,190-acre military installation, being vacated in the next three years, can be reworked into a successful, mixed-use, light-industrial development.

The reuse plan already has been approved; the business plan is supposed to financially guide the redevelopment.

The three firms will be interviewed by the LRA on Dec. 3, at 5 p.m., at Forest Park City Hall.

According to the Request for Proposal, put out by the LRA, the business plan will "provide a development timeline, including phasing and detailed cash flow analysis; a refined market and feasibility analysis; and a local investment and financing strategy."

The plan is supposed to have a timeline of 15 years, showing the federal government why the closed base should be sold to the city's LRA, rather than in an open auction.

LRA officials believe the redevelopment is safe from economic worries because it's anchored economically by the proximity of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and the need for light industrial developments, offering things like cargo space.

The business plan is expected to take into consideration "all kinds of economic factors," said Fred Bryant, executive director of the LRA. It is not expected to significantly change the reuse plans, however, and Bryant expects all the business plans to be fairly similar. The scope of work requested in the RFP is pretty narrow and specific, according to Bryant.

"There's a scope of work they're all required to consider, but we may hear some differences," the executive director said. "They're going to talk in detail about how they're going to approach those things, like private versus public financing, and then, if they have any special experience, they're going to say how they think that will help them do this job. They're going to have to show the board why they're the best possible candidate."

According to the RFP, the redevelopment authority is especially interested in organizations that have previous experience with tax allocation districts, former military base redevelopment planning, market analysis, and purchasing property from the military through an "Economic Development Conveyance," or "Public Benefit Conveyance."

The company winning the bid is scheduled to have completed the business plan by Jan. 9, 2009.