The Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority issued a request for proposals for housing on the former Mercy hospital. Their request set out certain rules that required developers to invest time and money in submitting their proposals. Is it respectful, is it professional, is it appropriate to deny the five responding development teams a chance to make their pitch to Urban Renewal commissioners?
When you have groups proposing to invest millions in redeveloping the inner-city, what message is being sent if one, two or more of these teams are told, in essence, “don’t bother making a pitch to us, don’t call us, we’ll call you?”
As I write this, I recall how one developer who responded to Urban Renewal’s effort to restore the Skirvin hotel came up with a proposal that simply didn’t comply with the spirit of the city’s objectives. But that developer, Paul Coury, was treated with respect, allowed to make his pitch, and ultimately he was recruited to convert the Colcord building, which was then tired and worn out, into a plush boutique hotel. What opportunity, if any, might be lost if such respect isn’t given to all of the developers bidding for the Mercy hospital site?
UPDATE: I think it’s important to add this comment made by Jeff Click, former president of the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association and the group’s 2009 homebuilder of the year:
It would be one thing if there were dozens of proposals, but with a mere five, why not give them each the respect of a 10-minute presentation? They deserve it, and I would think that much could be gleamed from a personal presentation that could never be captured on paper or in 3D modeling, at least in regard to the people and personalities behind the presentation.
Aside from what message it might send to these five applicants, there are other developers in healthy positions, looking for the next opportunity that may, or now may not, consider pursuing such projects under authority of OCURA if only look forward to this kind of “talk to the hand” perceived treatment.