Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dunwoody Developer Creates Greenspace; Candidate Questions City's Contracts

Warren Jolly
By Christoper Quinn The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

With metro Atlanta home values plunging by about one-third in five years, some owners are finding ways to add value to their neighborhoods.
Larry Carter took the prerogative to turn around the downtown Atlanta community he bought into by getting neighbors to help clean up dilapidated properties and help real estate agents with open houses so values would not keep dropping.

Warren Jolly, a developer as the CEO of the Providence Group, had a similar idea for his newer Sterling of Dunwoody condo neighborhood, where prices begin in the mid-$100,000 range.
When the real estate crash brought construction to a halt, he was left with a bare concrete pad among the four other buildings containing more than 150 units. He began to think and negotiate creatively with his financiers about finding a use for that land, and this month workers jackhammered the $500,000 pad into pieces, hauled it away and are turning the former eyesore into a neighborhood park with trees, a grilling area and an herb garden.
“It’s good to see something come to completion,” Jolly said, adding that it stabilizes the value in the community.
Don Wrenn, an owner in Sterling of Dunwoody, said seeing an empty pad would make potential buyers think the neighborhood was stalled. Turning it into a park sends a message that the neighborhood is finished, he said.  Click AJC to read full story.

Candidate Questions Awarding of Contracts
By Terry Nall
Candidate, Dunwoody City Council

There were two significant developments at City Council this week. First was the approval to place two parks bonds on the November 8 ballot. (More will come on that in future updates.) Second was Council's approval of contracts for vendors to provide municipal services beginning in 2012. Did we do the right thing for Dunwoody?
In 2008, the City outsourced Community Development, Finance and Administration, and Public Works. Those 2008 contacts expire December 31, 2011. When seeking new bids for these services earlier this year, the City expanded the original categories to seven services: Information Technology, Public Relations and Marketing, Parks and Recreation, Finance and Administration, Planning and Zoning, Permits/Inspections, and Code Compliance.
The procedures of the City's own Request for Proposal (RFP) called for the City to score all proposals for both technical and cost considerations. Then, the City would negotiate with the highest-ranked vendor in each of the seven service areas. The negotiation process would be with the most qualified firm in each category, as identified through the scoring process.
The evaluation committee consisted of my opponent plus two other Council members and city staffers.
At the July 25 Council meeting, our city manager presented the evaluation committee's recommendation to award service contracts to just three firms, not seven. One firm, Clark Patterson Lee, was recommended for four of the seven contracts. The evaluation committee recommended expanding this vendor's city services involvement from handling just Community Development today into the additional areas of Public Works and Parks and Recreation. The rationale was a bundled discount for being awarded more than one contract.
However: Clark Patterson Lee was NOT the highest rated firm for the categories of Public Works or Parks and Recreation. The current provider of these two services, Lowe Engineers, scored higher than Clark Patterson Lee and therefore was the highest rated firm. Further, Lowe Engineers alleges there were no negotiations with them despite their status as the highest rated firm. If true, this violated the stated procedures in the city's RFP and in my opinion, tainted the entire RFP process.
My experience in leading financial services and business due diligence suggests that NONE of the seven contracts should have been awarded until the alleged RFP procedural errors were fully investigated.
If, indeed, City Staff has not followed its own RFP procedures, we should have held back on all contracts. Instead, Council voted to award five of the seven contracts, including two contracts to Clark Patterson Lee, leaving only Public Works and Parks and Recreation unapproved.
Expect to see more news about this in the public press.


Robin Hood said...

Great information . Nice share friend i will subscribe to your blog

Condos Puerto Vallarta

Joe Seconder said...

Hats off to the developer in creating "greenspace" out of a concrete slab to help him sell the rest of his vacant built properties and to enhance property values. I look forward to the day in metro Atlanta when this type of amenity is incorporated into the initial plans, rather than being retrofitted as an afterthought. After all, the citizens of Dunwoody have spoken up loud & clear over the past 2+ years during the myriad planning studies: Greenspace, Parks, Walkable & Bikeable. Build these into your plans and the people will follow.