Birmingham city commissioners unanimously approved hiring Jones Lang LaSalle to provide development consultant services for the proposed Woodward Bates project on Old Wodward, as well as engaging attorney Joe Fazio of the Miller Canfield law firm, to serve as development attorney and bond counsel, at their meeting on Monday, June 25.
Assistant city manager Tiffany Gunter explained that after city commissioners approved continuing discussions with development group Waldbridge/Woodward Bates Partners to redevelop the N. Old Woodward parking lot with more parking, an extension of Bates Street, a liner of retail along the new street, a mixed use building comprising residential and office space, and a park at their meeting on June 4, staff quickly determined that they needed expertise beyond their development capabilities. She said that on June 13, they issued a request for qualifications for the development consultant component, receiving back responses from three firms, with a variety of price quotations.
“Plante Moran came in the lowest, but when we looked at the hours, we realized we also wanted to include more, including having report negotiations,” Gunter said.
Staff determined that Jones Lang LaSalle had the best response, as well as excellent references. “$91,240 will take us through negotiations with the development attorney and bond counsel and environmental services,” Gunter said.
She said the city attorney, Tim Currier, recommended they work with Joe Fazio of Miller Canfield as the development attorney and bond counsel for the city. Fazio said his rate is $450 per hour, “I will be working with a team of younger associates which will keep the costs down.”
“From our process, this is the logical next step to get to the final plans. This is the team we are proposing to go forward with,” city manager Joe Valentine said.
“Your guidance is very critical at this point in case the developer cannot fulfill their concept,” said commissioner Pierre Boutros.
Commissioners approved the two hires, voting 6-0, with commissioner Mark Nickita not in attendance.