PIDC, Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, received over 35 responses to the request for qualifications (RFQ) issued last fall for development of 109 acres at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. This opportunity comprises the next stage of development at the Navy Yard, focused on bringing expanded life sciences R&D and production, corporate headquarters, office and commercial, retail and restaurant amenities, and for the first time, mixed-use residential buildings, to the Navy Yard’s Historic Core and Mustin Districts. From the diverse mix of experienced local and national developers who responded, PIDC has created a shortlist of highly attractive prospective partners who have been invited to submit detailed proposals in a request for proposal (RFP) stage, with final selection of a partner to be made later this year.
The five respondents on the shortlist are:
- Ensemble Real Estate Investments and Mosaic Partners
- Gilbane Development Company and Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners
- Hoffman and Associates, Gattuso Development Partners, and Synterra Partners
- Trammell Crow Company
These five respondents demonstrated significant experience in developing similar large scale commercial and mixed-use projects in major urban markets and a deep understanding of PIDC’s mission and strategic vision for the Navy Yard. These respondents conveyed thoughtful approaches to business attraction and growth and creation of quality jobs at the Navy Yard. The shortlisted respondents also have a successful track record of completed projects or investments similar in scale to the next phases of development at the Navy Yard and ability to undertake new construction as well as adaptive re-use of historic buildings, and a demonstrated and strong commitment to diversity in the development teams. Combined, these five development teams have developed over one billion square feet of commercial, industrial, residential, and mixed-use properties across the country and have received critical and popular acclaim for the places they have created.
“We are heartened by the many enthusiastic responses for the development opportunities at the Navy Yard,” said Kate McNamara, PIDC’s Senior Vice President, Navy Yard. “We believe that we have a strong pool of potential partners that will contribute to this next chapter of innovation and development at the Navy Yard and look forward to announcing a new development partner later this year. The Navy Yard will continue to be a place for work, as well as a place for residents, restaurants, and exciting amenities – all reinforcing the Navy Yard as an outstanding place where companies and their employees thrive.”
In September 2019, PIDC initiated a process that put a call out for prospective partners – real estate developers and end-users – capable of planning, delivering, and managing extraordinary office, R&D, and mixed-use residential buildings to respond to the RFQ for two distinct districts totaling approximately 109 acres at the Navy Yard. This is an exciting opportunity to contribute to the success of what POLITICO has called “the coolest shipyard in America”. It is the only time since 2004 that PIDC has offered exclusive development rights and the first time that mixed-use multifamily development will be allowed.
More than 35 responses to the RFQ were received in December 2019. All of the responses were evaluated based on the criteria outlined in the RFQ, including: qualifications, skills, and applicable experience of the principals; experience working in similar settings, with comparable scale, quality, and phasing, with public sector partners; demonstrated commitment to diversity in ownership, development, consultant, and operations teams; demonstration of financial capacity to complete projects of a similar size and scope; and strength of project and financial references.
As part of the RFQ, the respondents were asked to describe their experience achieving diverse and inclusive participation, including certified minority, women, and disabled-owned enterprises (M/W/DSBEs). During the RFP stage, respondents will have the opportunity to expand upon their response and detail how they would partner with M/W/DSBEs to execute on their shared vision to shape the next phase of growth and development at the Navy Yard.
Today, the Navy Yard is a growing community of nearly 15,000 employees and 170 employers who occupy 7.5 million square feet across a mix of property types, including office, retail, industrial, R&D, and institutional. In recent years, the Navy Yard’s total employment has steadily expanded by approximately 1,000 new employees per year. As the Navy Yard continues its growth, there is a clear market advantage for employers seeking access to a strong talent base; a central location in the region with great highway and airport access; a walkable, vibrant riverfront community that encourages people to spend time outdoors; and customizable buildings that can support office, research, laboratories, and production.
While the Navy Yard will always remain primarily a regional employment hub, the establishment of a residential program is important in order to accelerate the establishment of restaurants, cafes, and street life, and expand the high quality of life that attracts and retains talent.
“The long-term commitments and investments made by employers, developers, partners, and the U.S. Navy through the years has brought the Navy Yard from the uncertainty of the mid-1990’s to today, where the Navy Yard has established itself as a major employment center in Philadelphia and as an exciting place to work,” said Anne Bovaird Nevins, PIDC’s President. “The Navy Yard will continue to build on this momentum for future growth, while ensuring that economic growth and job opportunities are diverse and inclusive. We look forward to seeing a high level of minority, women, and disabled-owned business commitments in the responses to the RFP.”
Since acquiring the 1,200-acre site from the federal government in 2000, PIDC has been the master developer and site operator of the Navy Yard on behalf of the Philadelphia Authority for Industrial Development. PIDC’s mission—to spur investment, support business growth, and facilitate developments that create jobs, revitalize neighborhoods, and drive growth to every corner of Philadelphia—strongly informs its strategy for the Navy Yard, where the focus is on building a cohesive community that fosters employment, innovation, and production.