The city of McMinnville will be accepting requests for proposals on the Blue Building property.
Accepting RFPs was suggested by city attorney Tim Pirtle on Tuesday night to members of the city Building and Grounds Committee. It was prompted by a desire for city officials to have some control over the fate of the property.
Sealed bids and live auctions, which are traditionally used to liquidate government property, are a top-bidder-wins scenario.
RFPs are an open-ended form of solicitation. In this case, the city is soliciting ideas for the future development. Those written proposals should also include how much the person, company or organization is willing to pay for the Blue Building property.
“We recommend leaving the RFP very generic and very wide open so, if for example, an interested party wanted to make one of the terms and conditions of the proposal be removal of the property from the Historic Zone District they could,” said Pirtle. “Leave it wide open and see what you get.”
Alderman Steve Harvey voiced approval.
“This seems to be a good idea,” said Harvey. “Everyone I’ve talked to, a couple developers and some citizens, seem to think it’s a really good idea.”
Pirtle added, “I have been contacted by two parties who have expressed a genuine interest in the development of the property. It was two different visions, but nevertheless, the end result would be the Blue Building, perhaps, could be placed back on the tax rolls.”
Unlike an absolute auction, in which the city would be required to transfer ownership of the property to the highest bidder, any and all RFPs can be rejected.
“I like the concept, the idea,” said Vice Mayor Everett Brock. “The only thing that I have a problem with is putting what they would be willing to pay for that thing. That will tip their hand if we end up going back and actually wanting competitive bids at some point in time.”
The value of the Blue Building property was estimated at $1.3 million.
Pirtle explained this is not a two-step process – RFP, followed by an auction.
“If the majority vote of the board is to accept a proposal, it would be subject to negotiation,” said Pirtle.
Brock replied, “So we aren’t limited to the price they quoted.”
“No,” said Pirtle.
Alderman Stacey Harvey expressed concerns for allowing each proposal to become public knowledge upon their opening and then that information being used by the others who submitted proposals when it comes time for negotiating.
“You are going to have to have public airing of the proposals,” said Pirtle. “You cannot do that in a closed meeting.”
Details on the criteria for proposals will be generated in the next few days, including the opening and closing dates for submitting proposals. Discussed was allowing 30 days, with the window closing on Oct. 25.