Senator Theatre RFP already in 2nd draft!

While the auction was just over a week ago and the result still remains to be ratified, the BDC has wasted no time. They’ve already created a 2nd draft of their Request For Proposals, intended to attract interested “Respondents” to buy or lease our historic Senator Theatre.

We have to admit, the language appears to use quite a different tone – more marketable, one might say – than that used leading up to and including the auction, when it describing The Senator to potential buyers.

Baltimore City District 4 Councilman Bill Henry states that the following community groups have already been  given copies of the RFP and asked for feedback:

And although it would seem like a train quickly gaining momentum, he also said, “We had a meeting [Monday, July 27] and it was agreed that pushing back the release of the RFP [final draft] would allow additional circulation of the draft for comment.”

After a quick review the 2nd draft questions sprung to mind, which have been emailed to Kristen Mitchell (BDC Sr. Economic Development Officer), Councilman Henry and David Goldstein (Senator Community Trust) for comment.

Among these are requests for clarification regarding the BDC’s “sole discretion” to:

  • Abandon the RFP process” if the 1st Respondent awarded doesn’t work out
  • Recommend the award of a contract… without prior discussion or negotiation
  • Right to accept or reject any/all proposals

We also asked how community members will be selected as representatives on the BDC’s Senator Theatre “Advisory Panel“.

According to a Community Comment document (containing feedback thus far from the aforementioned groups) that accompanies the RFP draft, this Advisory Panel “is the group that reviews all of the proposals, interviews respondents and gives the BDC Project Committee (a subset of BDC’s board) a recommendation.

Other notes that may be of interest from the Community Comment document…

Comment: Define “appropriate community associations”
Response: Rather than list the associations… we will require the selected owner/operator to hold a public meeting for the community. Individual community associations can request additional presentations…”

Comment: Need to commit to presentations to community/business groups during – not after – the process
Response: We are trying to figure out how best to do this and will have additional information shortly

Comment: RFP is asking for proposals for uses which are not permitted by Zoning.
Response: Agree. This is awkward but anavoidable. The community has expressed interest in having The Senator used for performing arts, but Zoning does not automatically permit this. Zoning permits auditoriums and concert halls in B-2 zones as a conditional use requiring City Council ordinance, so it might be possible to do some sort of live entertainment without actually rezoning or creating a PUD.

More as the process develops…

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