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Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers Inc. are tabbed by the city of Springfield to provide a master plan and market analysis for a 200-acre proposed development.
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Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers Inc. are tabbed by the city of Springfield to provide a master plan and market analysis for a 200-acre proposed development.

City set to fund master plan for 200 acres

Market analysis for city-owned land also is being sought from engineers CFS

Posted online

The lone respondent to a request for qualifications seeking a master plan and market analysis for 200 acres the city owns in southwest Springfield expects the project work to begin next month.

Todd Polk, associate senior project manager with Topeka, Kansas-based Cook, Flatt & Strobel Engineers Inc., said his firm has signed a contract with the city to produce the master plan and market analysis for the property northwest of the James River Freeway and West Bypass interchange. The city issued the RFQ to 14 firms in December 2018, with a Jan. 11 deadline.

City officials anticipated three to five responses, but CFS was the only one. City officials have said the low response was unusual but not unheard of.

Assistant Environmental Services Director Ron Petering said the city is currently working through its portion of the contract and expects it to be finalized in the next few weeks. Negotiations have been ongoing with CFS for about two months to determine the scope of work and price for the master plan and market analysis process. 

“There’s been a bit of a back and forth, which isn’t unusual in this kind of a project,” he said. 

Petering expected the price would be below $100,000 and expenditures would come from the city’s Environmental Services enterprise fund.

“It’s been a long process to refine the scope,” Polk said, adding the city’s expenditure will come in July, the start of its next fiscal year.

The city’s desire to fund the project for fiscal 2020 is also a contributor to the delay, he added.

“They’ve been very good to work with,” he said. “But sometimes city projects are slow movers. It’s a different-paced project.”

CFS has operated in Springfield since 2013 and currently has an office in Chesterfield Village. It will serve as lead for the city project with BRP Architecture and real estate appraisers National Valuation Consultants Inc. assisting, Polk said.

Best use determination
City Manager Jason Gage has said officials want to determine the best use of the property for municipal needs that may arise over the next several decades.

In the city’s RFQ letter sent to firms, the master plan would identify the developable areas of the 200 acres, divide them into tracts, determine the potential marketability and recommend roadway access.

“We just want to explore the big picture of what the ground would look like,” Petering said. “We’re just trying to make sure we give ourselves the best use of the ground.”

A developer is not immediately being sought for the land, Petering said. Instead, he described the project as the first step of a planning effort for the property that will be used as a guide for future development.

City staff has discussed the possibility of using a portion of the land to store Environmental Services’ equipment, along with office space, as the department has space challenges, Petering said. In addition to being located at the city treatment plants, the department is currently spread out across town in four buildings. A new animal shelter for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department is another possible use for the site, he added.

Petering has said any concerns of the 200 acres inflating the real estate market or the city’s role in the potential development being perceived as a conflict of interest is not on the city’s mind.

Polk said his firm hasn’t devoted a lot of man hours on the project as it’s awaited the contract green light. 

“We haven’t really defined a project schedule yet,” he said. “That will probably be the first task.”

In January, Petering said he expected the master plan and market analysis to wrap up by the fall.

“We’re not going to hit that,” he said, adding the timeline needs to be bumped back. “But we’d still like to get something by the end of the year.”

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