By Gretchen Wehmhoff

A motion to create a Request for Proposal (RFP) to seek developer interest in building housing, to include senior housing, passed the Assembly Feb.17, but not without discussion that spanned a number of housing topics and locations.

The motion, brought forward by Assemblymember Orion Hanson, would have the municipal staff develop the RFP with the intent to encourage developers to look at the old clinic site at 11th and Broadway as a site for multifamily housing. Hanson believes an RFP is a more expedient process.

 “It’s non binding. And it’s sort of a way to gauge interest of whether there’s a project out there that could be profitable for a private entity to do it and match the city’s desires,” Hanson said.

The old clinic was removed a decade ago. The area is buffered by a creek and trees. It already has utility infrastructure available.

“The old clinic site is shovel ready. Garden City will take a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of money. And my concept here is that we put out an RFP or at least we get a draft of the RFP from staff that advances this process a little faster, we can then bring it back to committee. The old clinic site is three lots. It could be without any changes to code with conditional use,” Hanson said.

Hanson provided a copy of a resolution addressing the future of the property from 2013, Res. 13-06R. 

Assemblymember Alex Weddell noted that the original resolution from 2013 had clear specifications about the landscape of the area.

“I drove by the site today and looked at it and at least one of those lots has a stream that salmon go through. And there’s trees that in the original resolution are very clearly specified that they do not want to cut them down,” Weddell said.

Weddell suggested the staff developing the RFP take those notes into consideration.

Mayor Sam Bass is supportive of the idea.

 “I’m excited to hear more about this and if the RFP process is successful, then possibly that same RFP team building concept could be applied to other municipality held properties,” Bass said.

“I knew what I was doing in bringing that to the assembly was not how we typically advance, you know, ideas, concepts, through the public process, usually we take it to committee. And things languish in committees for a long time, they can be stuck in committee for a long, long  time, the public process is slow and deliberate,” Hanson said.

Hanson says the Assistant Borough Manager, Emily Deach is working on creating a file of the Muni’s potential properties and the individual issues with each:  such as available utilities, historical designations and if there may be contaminated land, for example.

“I think that’ll help the assembly as really needing to understand, sort of a real estate snapshot of what we’ve got,” Hanson said

Assemblymember Jay Burnham had added an amendment that suggest starting the process to create a land trust.

“I think what she is doing is going to affect kind of what Jay was going for in his amendment,” Hanson said.

“The use of an RFP to develop a partnership between the municipality and interested builders, private builders is a good option and may provide appropriate housing quickly,” Bass said.

“I’m hoping it’s not overly complicated.You have, you know, a developer or large construction company, or maybe a small one that comes up with good ideas. And we can look at those ideas and see if we like them or we don’t. It’s non binding,” Hanson said.