To the editor:
PenMar Development Corporation, the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) for Fort Ritchie, is reportedly poised to sign an exclusive negotiation agreement with a private sector "master developer" in a second attempt to outsource major redevelopment tasks at the closed base in Cascade. A previous agreement with Lerner Enterprises of Bethesda, Md., expired last December. This time it appears PenMar is hanging its hopes on Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) of Columbia, Md.
The current deal apparently envisions PenMar ultimately selling the entire base outright to COPT. As a result, we are rightfully concerned whether COPT is really the best developer for Fort Ritchie, and we want to know who will have ultimate oversight over the quality and character of the development if COPT does in fact end up owning 600 acres of land in Cascade.
According to a paper prepared for the National Association of Installation Developers (NAID), which advertises itself as one of the best sources of information "for any organization involved in the economic development, conversion and reuse of military real estate," a five-step process should be followed when an LRA selects a master developer for exclusive negotiations. At the core of the five steps is the issuance of RFQs and RFPs (requests for qualifications/proposals) by the LRA to a pool of prospective developers. By doing so, the LRA can establish a competitive process to select a master developer for exclusive negotiations.