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Project Background

In 2006, the City of Somerville commissioned an analysis of hotel supply and demand in Somerville. Pinnacle Advisory Group, a national hospitality consulting firm, published the analysis and subsequent strategic planning recommendations in February 2007, finding that Davis Square was a viable location for hotel development. The study identified three potential development sites in Davis Square, in addition to other sites around the City.

Davis Square is home to a thriving business district, and development of a hotel and public parking garage would contribute to the economic growth and continued success of the area by attracting visitors and spinoff businesses. Recognizing this, the Mayor requested that the Somerville Board of Aldermen make three City-owned properties available for disposition pursuant to Massachusetts General Law (Chapter 30b, section 16). The Board of Aldermen issued Order #184669 on December 13th, 2007, approving declaration of three City-owned properties in Davis Square as available for development as a hotel and public parking garage. The Board Order was amended March 13th, 2008.

To initiate a competitive bid process, the City issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) on September 15th, 2008. Development teams were invited to submit qualifications statements, which were received and reviewed by the Davis Square Hotel Technical Advisory Committee (consisting of Board of Aldermen members, neighborhood residents and City staff). The Technical Advisory Committee reviewed the qualifications of four development teams, and on January 9th, 2009 recommended that the Mayor designate two of the teams as qualified to move on to the next phase of the project.

Through its Purchasing Department, the City issued an exclusive Request for Proposals (RFP) on September 1st, 2009, inviting proposals from the two selected qualified applicants for the development of a hotel and public parking garage in Davis Square. Development of the disposition properties must include a hotel and a parking garage open to hotel guests and the general public, with possible additional ancillary uses such as restaurant or retail space.The City seeks an aesthetically pleasing development that is sensitive to the neighborhood and incorporates creative urban design principles.

The deadline for RFP submissions is November 6th, 2009. Submissions will be received and reviewed by the Technical Advisory Committee. After evaluating the proposals and submitting their findings to the Mayor, the Technical Advisory Committee will recommend to the Mayor one preferred applicant who best demonstrates the commitment to producing a successful project. The preferred applicant will design, construct and operate a hotel and public parking garage on one or more of the three municipally-owned properties available for disposition.

Proposal Guidelines

The Davis Square Hotel and Parking Project Proposal shall describe an aesthetically pleasing and creative hotel concept, ancillary uses, and parking facility(s). The Proposal must present a timeline for acquisition, construction and operation of hotel and public parking garage that is within a window of three years from the date of transfer of title to the property. Proposers must be sensitive to quality of life issues affecting the local community and attempt to minimize traffic, shadow, outdoor lighting, noise impacts and odor while maximizing landscaping, providing adequate setbacks, and screening transformers and rooftop utilities.

Design and architecture are of utmost importance to this project. The hotel and garage structures should fit into the square. The hotel design can be creative as long as it is aesthetically pleasing and relates to the urban infill setting. Furthermore, the City strongly encourages the applicant to utilize "green" building design elements and "green" lodging practices where appropriate, as defined by the U.S. Green Building Council.

It is of paramount importance to the City that the proposed development provides a fiscal benefit to the City. The proposed purchase price for each property must be equal to or greater than the City's appraised value for such property. In addition, the proposed hotel and parking garage must yield net revenue to the City in excess of the cost of City services.

In addition, creating jobs for Somerville residents is an important City goal. Somerville has a large population which would be qualified for jobs associated with the hotel and garage. Affording Somerville residents' first preference in hiring shall be considered advantageous. Also, the City strongly encourages active and meaningful involvement in the Minority Owned Enterprises (MBE) and Women Owned Business Enterprises (WBE). The Proposal must also address whether the Proposer intends to use union labor in the construction of the development.

The Proposal shall include a Parking Optimization Plan illustrating how management and pricing strategies will encourage shared use and reasonable turnover of parking spaces, and discourage structures' use as "Park and Ride" facilities. Parking that presently exists must be replaced and the hotel-related parking must be provided for; additional public parking is desirable.

The City will entertain RFP submissions that include privately-owned property in addition to a municipal property or properties. The City is also open to proposals that utilize more than one of the three City-owned parcels. Any of the disposition parcels can be used to meet project related zoning requirements, in part or whole, if located adjacent to or across the street from, a private parcel(s) hotel and/or parking garage development site.

The City reserves the unqualified right, at its sole discretion, to modify, suspend, or terminate, any and all aspects of this Request for Proposal process. The City reserves the right to reject any and all proposals if deemed in the best interests of the City.

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