A RFP has officially been placed to seek a developer for the long awaited Midtown project.
The more than a decade long hunt for a developer for Midtown may soon officially come to a close.
A request for proposal (RFP) for the project has officially been posted and will be accepting bids and proposals until Jan. 24 at 2 p.m. The Midtown area is nearly 16 acres found nestled between the CSX railroad on the north and east, Ball Street on the south and Thomas Street and Wheeler Street on the west.
The RFP was issued on Dec. 7 and is searching for someone to bring a multi-story mixed–use development to fulfillment near the heart of downtown. In October, City Manager Bill McDaniel presented the new vision for Midtown. Switching gears to a focus on residential he believes is key to having a thriving district.
“The vision is for there to be 506 residential units,” McDaniel said. “That’s 1,000 people living within walking distance of downtown. Imagine what that impact is going to be. For downtown to thrive you need people to be pouring into it.”
The proposed plan will have several buildings with commercial on the ground floor and residential above it. The draft concept also had many live and work spaces and solely residential units available. In October, McDaniel said he had “multiple conversations” with developers and promised there was a growing interest in bringing the vision to life. The city built a failsafe into the RFP to ensure they don’t end up back at square one in a handful of months.
Once all of the bids are gathered they will be placed into a top priority list. The best overall offer will be first, the next will be second and so on. If the first developer says they want to do the entire district, enters negotiations with the city and then backs out in the final hour the city won’t have to go through the submission process all over again. They will simply move down to number two and start from there.
The developer can also choose to only tackle a portion of the district if they prefer, which was an idea McDaniel said will ensure development is underway as quickly as possible. During a presentation to the community during a Plant City Main Street Topics on Tap event in October he said under the right circumstances and agreements the city may even consider giving the developers the land or helping them however they needed to get the ball rolling.
“The plan now is that one developer won’t have to come in and agree to do the entire district,” McDaniel said. “Someone can say, ‘Hey, I want to do this block,’ or ‘I’m interested in doing this section, but not that one,” and that’s OK. We’re flexible and that will help get this thing going.”
The Community Redevelopment Agency owns the property and has invested more than $10 million in the project to date. Currently a vacant concrete wasteland, the hope is to have negations completed and development underway as soon as possible. The CRA has long alluded to wanting a flourishing community and nightlife in downtown and Midtown is one major step to making that dream a reality.
“The city is seeking a catalyst redevelopment project that will revitalize Midtown and the broader central business district by creating attractive, user friendly, walkable connections for a mixture of pedestrian friendly uses that will attract new businesses, tourists, visitors and residents to a variety of venues,” reads the RFP. “The Project should offer both daytime and nighttime activities with easy access to the rest of Midtown and Downtown Plant City while remaining respectful of Plant City’s historic character.”
Proposals that have a three to five story residential component will have a “greater consideration” from the CRA, which is focusing on a retail on bottom, residential on top aesthetic.
The bids will be gathered by Jan. 24 and the evaluation committee is meeting on Feb. 11. The plan is for the group to negotiate a development agreement from Feb. 12 to May 10 and present the agreement to the CRA board on May 28.