Rockport invites developers to submit vision, credentials for former school site

Wed, 08/28/2019 - 7:15pm

    ROCKPORT — A municipal committee in Rockport, along with the town planner, are “looking to partner with a developer in order to create a public-private partnership while developing a prime piece of town-owned real estate at the former Rockport Elementary School (RES) site.”

    On Aug. 28, the town issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) for interested developers to produce ideas for the 7.5 acre site that is on the corner of West Street and Route 1. The deadline for submissions is 5 p.m., Oct. 16.

    The RFQ follows, as written by the town:

    Community Background

    Rockport, Maine, is a picturesque coastal community with a year-round population of approximately 3,200, in a county of 40,000 residents. The Town population increasessignificantly in the summer months when the “Snowbirds” return, and tourists visit.

    The Village Center is located on historic Rockport Harbor and there are 4-surrounding“settlements” situated among wooded hills and open fields. Depending on a resident’s location, they will travel to either Rockland or Camden for most of their routine shopping.

    Our Village Center hosts the Town library, the Opera House, 2 restaurants, 1-coffee shop, the post office, 5-parks, and several galleries.

    The Harbor is home to a traditional wooden boat builder with a full-service marina, a lobster fleet, a boat club, a day sailing schooner, and Marine Park, making it a focal point for both tourists and residents.

    RES Parcel Description

    The site of the old Rockport Elementary School (RES) is a 7.67-acre parcel of cleared, level land located at the high-volume intersection of Routes 1 and 90, where Route 90 terminates. This intersection effectively funnels most thru traffic headed “Downeast” onto Route 1 North or straight ahead into the Village Center. Route 1 is also the main corridor linking the towns of Camden, Rockport, and Rockland. Due to this unique location, this intersection is effectively the gateway to Rockport for a large amount of both tourist and local traffic. The location is within easy walking distance of both the Marine Park and the Village Center. The Regional High School is 1⁄2 mile west on Route 90. The Town Office and Public Safety Buildings are located 1⁄4 mile away. The Route 1 and Route 90 corridors have many small businesses and light industries, as well as our regional hospital. The Town of Camden is 2 miles north on Route 1 and the Cityof Rockland’s center is 3 miles south on Route 1.

    The RES site currently consists of 2-entities: one is a ballfield used occasionally for baseball and soccer. The other is a collection of concrete slabs which constituted the foundation for the old school that was torn down in 2012. The parcel has frontage on both Route 1 and West Street, which is the local extension to Route 90. The parcel is served by Town sewer, water, and high- speed fiber.

    Principles of Development

    The successful proposal will incorporate the following 4-principles of development: 1. The project must make a significant contribution to Rockport’s tax base.

    2. The project must be aesthetically pleasing and attractive as it welcomes both residents and tourists alike to the central portion of our Town, particularly if they are arriving by the important Route 90 corridor.

    3. “Green space” must be maintained, incorporated, and nurtured in the project so that it isaccessible for all residents of Rockport to enjoy.

    4. The Town must be an active partner in the development of the property so that decisions arenot simply ones of “dollars and cents,” but that they consider the shared values of all the citizens of the Town and their visions for it.

    Project Vision

    The Town residents have submitted suggestions and responded to questionnaires over the course of the past 10 years regarding their vision of the RES site. A working group of Town officials and guests has held several meetings in 2018-2019 to obtain updated information and input. TheTown’s Select Board held a resident workshop in May 2019 to solicit updated ideas and proposals, including 4-break-out groups.

    There is striking similarity between past efforts and the present vision which have identified the most important element for the parcel to be one of community involvement and interactions. The recent 2018-2019 meetings have indicated that residents are interested in:

    • Green space/recreation area accessible for all age groups
    • Mixed use of commercial/residential housing/public spaces
    • A market space to support local farmers/artisans/craftspeople
    • Makerspace
    • Welcome center/information center
    • Eldercare/daycare/pet care
    • Walking paths and connections to existing trail systems
    • Performance/amphitheater area
    • Outdoor plaza/seating area
    • Although open to design proposals, the Town envisions a minimum of 20% to be used for open green space and the remainder to be balanced between mixed-use retail/professional space and housing.

    Parcel Amenities and Incentives

    • 7.67 acres
    • 3-phase power
    • Sewer
    • High speed internet (1 gigabit, symmetrical, per second)
    • Access to Town planning and design assistance
    • Timely permitting process
    • Located in a Tax Increment Financing District (TIF)
    • Assistance with grant writing and submission
    • Opportunities to designate site as an overlay district
    • The property is zoned to allow residential, commercial and recreation. The parcel is zoned in the 906 Modified Mixed Business/Residential zoning district. The objective of the Modified Mixed Business/Residential District is to encourage commercial growth and residential uses that creates a village atmosphere.
    • The village setting should encourage pedestrian traffic while slowing vehicular traffic.Dimensional standards for this zoning district are referenced in the tables in Section 918 of the Land Use Ordinance.It is the intent of the Town of Rockport to transfer all or some of the parcel to the developer upon acceptance of the design proposal.Serious respondents should submit documentation of qualifications of personnel who will be working on the project in the roles listed in the Scope of Services section.
    • The selected respondent will possess the skills needed to fulfill the Scope of Services.
      • -  List of team members and contact information
      • -  Identification of all team member roles and project leads
      • -  List of completed similar projects
      • -  Evidence of required licenses, and professional qualifications as applicable
      • -  Demonstrate proof of financial capability to complete the project
    • The following information must also be included:
    • Respondent Qualifications
    • Parcel Ownership
    • Permitted uses and special exceptions for this zoning district are referenced in the Land Use Table in section 917 of the Land Use Ordinance.
    • Zoning

    Scope of Services Requested

    • -  Public engagement and facilitation
    • -  Market analysis
    • -  Economic development
    • -  Civil engineering
    • -  ArchitectureEvaluation CriteriaCriteria with which the Redevelopment Team will be evaluated include, but are not limited to:
    • Proposals will be reviewed and evaluated by the RES Redevelopment Committee and a recommendation will be made to the Select Board.
    • -  Participant’s Credentials
    • -  History of timely completion of projects
    • -  Proven ability to work effectively with the community and public agencies
    • -  Creativity and vision for the RES site
    • -  Aesthetic vision as determined by previous projects
    • -  Responsiveness to the Town’s goals and design guidelines
    • -  Financial capacity to complete the project
    • -  Ability to manage and maintain the project
    • -  Completeness and quality of submission
    • Please submit 7 bound paper copies as well as 7 electronic versions on external thumb drives to:Submission and Deadline CriteriaTown of Rockport
      Attn: Town Manager William Post 101 Main Street
      Rockport, ME 04856
      Telephone: (207) 236-9596
    • The deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019. Questions concerning this submission should be directed to:
    • Town of Rockport
      Attn: Planner Bill Najpauer
      101 Main Street
      Rockport, Maine 04856
    • Submission Requirements