The Delta Urban Renewal Authority has mailed a request for proposals, or RFP, to a list of 42 hotel development firms. The RFP will also be posted on the city website, with an invitation for any interested party to respond -- including the current property owner, attorney Carolynne White noted.
The RFP was written by Better City, which was also represented at the Jan. 16 DURA meeting, and seeks proposals for a 70-room upper midscale hotel to be built along the Gunnison River as part of a two-mile riverfront improvement project.
While the RFP will be distributed widely, DURA board members expect just a handful of developers to respond. For that reason, they rejected a suggestion from legal counsel and city staff that a selection committee be formed to "narrow the field."
As proposed, the selection committee would have included city staff, consultants and two or three DURA board members.
"This is a decision worthy of the whole board," said Don Suppes, the county representative.
Tom Huerkamp said he would also feel more comfortable if the entire board was involved in the selection process. "We have such a variety of interests sitting around this table, all with the best of intentions for this community ... I would not be spending my evenings here if I wasn't committed to this idea."
DURA's legal counsel, who sat in on the meeting via Skype, cautioned the selection process may take a bit longer with the entire board involved.
"When we get 20 proposals, we can revisit this conversation," Suppes said.
Interested parties have until March 5 to submit proposals. The initial proposal called for the selection committee to have a recommendation for the entire DURA board by mid-March.
Ron Austin, Delta City Council member, had no objection to the suggestion the entire DURA board serve as the selection committee; he just wants to keep the process moving as quickly as possible.
"As Mr. Huerkamp pointed out, this has been going on for several years."
The proposed project is a 70-room upper midscale hotel placed along the Gunnison River as part of a two-mile riverfront improvement project.
The site is described as 9.4 acres with significant frontage along Highway 50, as well as good visibility along Highway 92. The site is currently known as the TK Mining parcel and is owned by the Gunnison River Group LLC.
The RFP details the development plan: The proposed hotel should be at least a limited service facility that competes in upper-midscale range rate tiers. The facility should be associated with a nationally recognized franchise affiliation with a robust membership loyalty program to assist in providing market awareness of the project and guest benefits to travelers visiting the area.
Ideally, the development will also include a conference center with 2,500 to 3,000 square feet of meeting space sufficient to accommodate 150-200 people."
Tax increment financing may be available and requested as part of the RFP.
Selection criteria include the developer's ability to stem leakage to Montrose and Grand Junction, and to serve as a catalyst for urban renewal. Each developer's plans, experience and financial capability will also be considered.
"The RFP is written so you have the flexibility to choose the right partner," said Adam Hughes of Better City.
After preferred developers have been identified, it's DURA's intention to enter into exclusive negotiations with the selected developer by this spring.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.