Since the summer of 2014, the Finance Cabinet had been advertising for proposals from public-private consortiums to design, build, maintain and operate a new 350,000+ square-foot office building at Sower Boulevard in Frankfort, Ky. The first procurement attempt in October resulted in a re-issuance of the RFP, with the “second round” of proposals due December 2nd.
The Finance Cabinet’s RFP states that it is procuring the office space under the “Build to Suit” option under KRS 56.8161, which allows the Finance Cabinet to contract for office space either on privately-owned or publicly-owned (but privately funded construction) property.
Although there has been little press on any award, a Development Plan was submitted to the Frankfort Planning and Zoning office on February 11, 2015. The submission was made by John Carman, a landscape architect, copying D.W. Wilburn officers. Also included were renderings indicating the EOP Architect and DW Wilburn are the primary design and construction entities involved, with developer CMR involved as well. The bid for the project is currently unknown, but the RFP structure called for proposals to be submitted in multiple ways, varying the annual rent, square footage, and lease term as competitive variables. It is estimated that the project would exceed $50 million in construction costs.
This project is an attempt by the Commonwealth to use the limited amount of authority it has to engaged in public-private partnerships for state needs. Last year a broad P3 statute was passed by the Kentucky Legislature with broad support, but was vetoed by Gov. Beshear, presumably because it contained language barring the use of tolls on a future Brent Spence Bridge replacement project. Over 34 states now have broad P3-enabling legislation, and it is hoped that Kentucky can soon join their ranks.