Saturday, November 3, 2007

10/22 - Selection process was not biased

The Florida Times-Union
October 22, 2007
Special to the Times-Union

This is in response to the Oct. 16 article in the Georgia Times-Union titled "Losing bidder protests Jekyll choice."

The Jekyll Island Authority selected Linger Longer Communities of Greensboro, Ga., on Sept. 24 as its private partner for revitalizing the Georgia state park. One of the developers not selected is alleging that the process was biased.

The Bleakly Advisory Group was selected, through a competitive bidding process, to assist the Jekyll Island State Park Authority in selecting the most suitable private partner for the future revitalization of Jekyll Island.

During a thorough and rigorous process, our firm was asked to evaluate and recommend to the JIA Selection Committee the best choice for a private partner, using six specific and measurable criteria: qualifications of the development team; financial strength of the proposal; details of a draft plan; financial return to JIA; responsiveness to the overall process; and responses at the interviews.

There were four responses to the original request for proposal and three finalists - Jekyll Island Revitalization, Linger Longer Communities and Trammell Crow.

The proposal of Jekyll Island Revitalization and its managing partner, E. Wade Shealy Jr., scored lowest in the rankings of the Bleakly Advisory Group, as well as the JIA Selection Committee.

The entire JIA board subsequently and unanimously selected Linger Longer Communities.

Much has been made of the difference in proposed Jekyll Town Center acreage contained in the Linger Longer plan.

However, as it relates to score and ranking, the details of the plan only accounted for a fraction of the overall score. The plan presented by JIR contained more retail and nearly twice the number of condominiums as the other two proposals.

A significant lack of financial detail was also a weakness in the JIR proposal, as the specifics of financing a project of this scope are critical to the long-term success of the program.

Proposers were also asked to share their relevant experience as developers. In the JIR proposal, three of the most prominent projects listed were not developed by JIR or its proposed venture partners.

The Jekyll Island Authority's process allows for an appeal by any proposer to raise issues or concerns regarding the process or its conclusions.

That is occurring now, and a response is being prepared by the JIA and the Georgia Department of Law.

As an independent real estate/design and project development consulting firm, we have significant experience in this arena.

We find it hard to imagine a scenario that results in significant score changes or adjustment across all six measured criteria as it relates to process or procedure questions in a request for proposal, which we think was carefully and judiciously managed.

Bleakly Advisory Group,
Atlanta, Ga.

This story can be found on at

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