The Horsham Land Redevelopment Authority received a pair of applications from firms vying to lead the next roughly 10-month phase of Willow Grove air base’s redevelopment.
HLRA Executive Director Mike McGee said Matrix Design Group teamed with “a number of folks” in a $768,920 proposal, while Weston Solutions collaborated with RKG Associates, Inc. on a separate $475,505 submission.
RKG served as the HLRA’s lead consultant during the most pivotal phase of the 862-acre redevelopment plan, which included countless public meetings and presentations ultimately leading the board to advance plans without an airport. Based on the uses the board approved last year, RKG also plotted what would go where on the and submitted to the federal government.
“I’m confident that no matter which side we flip on at this point we have the capability of getting a really, really good study,” McGee said.
Proposals were due on Oct. 22 and the initial hope was that the board would approve moving forward on a contract negotiation during its Nov. 14 meeting. But, McGee said this week that he and the board would likely need more time to review the applications.
“I would be shocked if I was able to even make a recommendation and I’d be more shocked if they were willing to accept that recommendation in such a short time frame,” McGee said, adding that the board would likely make a decision in either late November or December. “We all need to read them and make sure that it’s clear what they are proposing and decide on which one or neither.”
The professional firm, once selected, will lead the board in devising a business plan and pro forma.
The firm’s study will encompass everything from traffic, water and sewer, stormwater management and other factors analyzed in large-scale developments. Ultimately the point is to “prove” the board approved a viable mixed-use plan through completion of a “good business plan,” McGee said previously.
The finalized business plan and pro forma will be used in conjunction with the board’s economic development conveyance application to the federal government. Officials have said that the hope is for the HLRA to acquire the property and serve as master developer.
The firm’s costs would be funded by a 90/10 split between the federal Office of Economic Adjustment and the HLRA, McGee said. For its part, the HLRA has a line of credit with Horsham Township.
“Much of our 10 percent is in-kind match,” McGee said, adding that rent to the township for office space and the time that township manager Bill Walker spends on HLRA matters make up much of the local costs. “It’s not all cash.”