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County Commissioners release Request for Qualifications for a new Chatham County Court Complex

Category: Local Govts & Politics

By Lou Phelps, Savannah Business Journal

February 8, 2017 – Chairman Al Scott and the Chatham County Commissioners released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) today for what is termed a ‘public/private’ County Courthouse Complex in downtown Savannah.

The Project will include the development of a new Trial Courts Building, renovation of the existing County Courthouse, and may also include parking and retail components in an effort to enhance the overall development opportunity. The project includes a two-step process; an RFQ and then negotiation with a firm “where the team will design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Project (“D/B/F/O/M Teams”), it states.

RFQ responses are due at the Office of the Purchasing Director, Suite C, "Citizens Service Center” @ 1117 Eisenhower Drive, Savannah, Georgia, 31406 no later than Monday, March 13, 2017 at 5:00 PM.

The County is seeking a Public Private Partnership (“P3”), where a partner would be responsible to Design/Build/Finance/Operate/Maintain (“D/B/F/O/M”) the new Trial Courts Building “in a way that is consistent with the County’s objectives and maximizes the value and utility of the development, while also coordinating and executing the other elements of the Project. Through this solicitation process, the County will determine if there is a feasible approach to engaging a private partner to assist in developing the Courthouse Complex. The private partner must demonstrate the appropriate experience, financial capacity, and proven track record of successfully executing projects similar in size and scope,” it states.

“The County believes that a private partner with expertise and experience can add value in the financing, delivery, and ongoing management and operations of the new Courthouse Complex. The County’s specific goals and objectives include: 1. Design and redevelop the County Courthouse Complex into a vibrant addition to historic downtown Savannah consistent with its distinct architecture and style. 2. Replace the existing County Courthouse with a new, modern facility to meet user needs and adaptively reuse the existing courthouse. 3. Secure financing that minimizes the impact to the County’s balance sheet and credit, while also providing for long-term maintenance and lifecycle costs, with a buy-out option for the County to purchase the facility during the term of the agreement. 4. Reduce long-term maintenance costs, provide for cost-effective facility management and operations, and increase energy efficiency. 5. Design the Project to achieve LEED Silver or better. 6. Maintain ongoing operations at the current Courthouse and minimize impacts to the public, businesses and adjacent property owners during construction of the Project, and 7.  Provide efficient parking for the Courthouse Complex employees and the public.

Two or more companies may collaborate in submitting a response to the RFQ, according to the document, “but a single entity must be designated to contract with the County and be responsible for performance under any future contract,” it states.

“The County received a robust number of responses to the 2015 RFQ and has since decided to expand the project scope, clarify the County’s objectives, provide a new timeline, and restart the RFQ process,” according to the Chatham County administration.

“The County has also retained The PFM Group as its transaction advisor to assist in the procurement effort and in the evaluation of financing alternatives that best meet the County’s objectives.

“For those parties who submitted responses to the 2015 RFQ, we ask the responses be updated and resubmitted in their entirety to meet the requirements of this RFQ,” according to today’s document. 

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