Nebraska– On May 15, Omaha Public School’s (OPS) voters will decide whether to approve a $409.9 million Phase 2 bond issue. A major portion of the funding would be earmarked for building additions and new schools to relieve crowding at places like Highland and Spring Lake elementary schools and Lewis and Clark Middle School. Students are dealing with overcrowded classrooms, poor insulation from the cold, rodents, insects and rain. There are now roughly 226 portables spread across the district. The bond will help reduce, but not eliminate, the district’s use of portable classrooms. The district has been able to get rid of roughly 99 portables and that number would shrink to 65 if the bond is approved.
The district has already spent millions on school security features, renovations and rebuilding several older schools after voters approved a $421 million bond measure in 2014. Phase 2 revolves around creating more space by building new schools and expanding existing ones, especially in growing parts of the Omaha Public Schools district. Lewis and Clark, which has eight portables, would get a 15-classroom addition. Nine classrooms would be added on to Morton Magnet Middle, which has 13 portables outside. Two new high schools proposed for far northwest and South Omaha are pitched as relieving overcrowding at schools like South, Bryan and Burke. Bryan currently uses 13 portables, and Burke has 10.
Maryland– Properties that are located in Baltimore’s Market Center National Historic District are for sale and development. The city is seeking a developer to buy and make over the following vacant properties:
-114 W. Lexington Street with land area of 1,793 square feet and a 3-story structure.
-116-120 W. Lexington Street with land area of 4,027 square feet and a 3-story structure.
-207-209 Park Ave. with land area of 912 square feet and a 4-story structure.
The Baltimore Development Corporation’s (BDC) request for proposals (RFP) states that respondents may bid on the entire offering or parcels on an individual basis, but redevelopment of all properties by a single team is preferred. The site is eligible for the 10-year High Performance Tax Credit for market-rate rental housing and is located within the city’s Enterprise Zone. The properties may also be eligible for the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation tax credit for historic rehabilitations and restorations, as well as for several state and federal tax credits. The BDC will hold a pre-proposal conference on-site at 114 W. Lexington Street at 10 a.m. on March 13.
Texas– The Capitol Complex Master Plan in Austin is taking place in three phases and will consolidate several state agencies within the 50-block Capitol Complex area. The state’s Partnership Advisory Commission recently signed off on the public-private partnership (P3) policy for the plan. The first phase is estimated to cost $581 million and will add about 1 million square feet of office space, a five-level underground parking garage and a grassy open-air mall on Congress Avenue between the north steps of the Texas Capitol and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The Texas Facilities Commission has outlined two new office buildings in the project: a 14-story office tower with 600,000 square feet of office space and a 12-story, 400,000-square-foot building. Joint projects with private companies or a public entity will be vetted early through the city and state channels based on a value-for-money proposition. A developer would have to deliver a project that can be done better or more economically than the state. Revisions to the preliminary P3 policy are published on the Texas Facilities Commission website.
Virginia– Members of three leading city of Falls Church groups are moving ahead on the George Mason High School campus and 10-acre commercial development projects following the approval of a $120 million bond earlier this month. The timeline on the school begins with the school board issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) for school design and construction. The next step is to approve a list of respondents by February and issue a request for proposals (RFP) for school design and construction. The final contract is slated to be approved by July 2018 and the final school design will be ready by July 2019, with the notice to commence with the construction also coming that month. City officials plan to open the new George Mason High School in the summer of 2021.
The city council is simultaneously planning a 10-acre commercial development that would commence fall of 2021. Approval of the Comprehensive Plan modifications will be due by February 2018 and the issuance of an RFQ for economic development is also due in February. The project will require another $10 million bond to be approved in the May 2018 election. If approved, the city can issue an official RFP and work to obtain the rest of the financing needed to complete the project.