When the Plymouth Downtown Development Authority sought a developer for a new, multi-use project that included a public parking deck, they turned to Carlisle/Wortman Associates Principal Sally Elmiger to help them vet the proposals.
The DDA purchased a two-acre property on the southeast corner of W. Ann Arbor Trail and Deer Street that contained a private 50-car parking lot and two historically significant buildings. The lot was renovated into a public parking lot, and the DDA hopes to include the historic buildings in a future redevelopment project.
“This is the entrance to our downtown,” said DDA Director Tony Bruscato. “We want people to know they’re in a special place. But a project like this was new territory for all of us. Since Carlisle/Wortman are our planners, Sally knows our zoning ordinances and regulations. She kept us focused and made the process a lot smoother.”
The DDA issued an RFP and named a subcommittee to review the proposals and interview each development team.
“We established eight questions to evaluate the bids and development teams during an interview process,” Sally said. “Each question asked during the interviews was supported by a scoring guide, spelling out details to consider in evaluating each team’s answers. We wanted quantitative results, so we asked the committee to score each answer on a one to five scale then add qualitative observations.” (see illustration).
Of the three bidders, the DDA decided that Harmonie Park Development had the best team, vision and wherewithal for the project. Harmonie Park also proposed to develop vacant land on the north side of Ann Arbor Trail, creating an even more integrated gateway into the Plymouth downtown.
Bruscato said the DDA is exploring financing options in anticipation of the developer’s more specific planned unit development proposal.