The City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development last week issued a “Request for Proposals (RFP)” for the old City of Chicago firehouse located at 1723 W. Greenleaf (just west of Clark).
To obtain a copy of the RFP, click here. If you would like to see the interior of the firehouse, the City is holding an open house next Tuesday, February 21st, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
The deadline for responding to the RFP is Friday, March 31st.
You may be asking yourself, haven’t we been down this road before? In fact, we have.
Back in 2013, the Department of Planning agreed to allow me to oversee a process in which the community would select the new firehouse tenant. The City put the building out to bid and nine parties responded.
I assigned the task of reviewing the proposals to the 49th Ward Zoning and Land Use Advisory Committee, a group of neighborhood residents and representatives of the major community organizations in the ward who advise me on all zoning and land use issues that come before me. The Committee developed a set of selection criteria for reviewing the proposals and asked each bidder to provide information that would assist the Committee in its review process.
The Committee narrowed the field to three finalists, who were asked to submit their proposals to the community at a meeting I sponsored in January, 2014.
Based on the input from the community meeting and, my advisory committee made a recommendation, which I submitted to the Department of Planning.
Before I announced publicly the committee’s recommendation, however, the Department informed me that I would be required to select the highest bidder regardless of my Committee’s recommendation. This was because the Department had mistakenly submitted the firehouse to a sealed bid competition, rather than issuing an RFP, which allows for a negotiated sale.
After much back and forth with the Department of Planning and the City’s Department of Law, the Department ultimately convinced me the only legal options available was to either accept the highest bidder (who was not among the nine finalists) or start from scratch and issue an RFP. I reluctantly agreed to start the process all over again.
Once the proposals are received, I will commence another community review process and hopefully we will identify a new owner of the firehouse before the end of the summer.
I will keep you posted.