I-195 commission reverses course on revealing unsuccessful bids
THE COMMISSION OVERSEEING the redevelopment of the former Interstate 195 land in Providence (shown is a conceptual rendering of what the land might look like after being fully built-out) has decided to make public those development proposals that are not chosen by the commission for implementation, a reversal of an earlier decision that had received a negative reception in some quarters.
PROVIDENCE – The Interstate 195 Redevelopment District Commission has loosened its confidentiality policy and will now identify all proposals for the former highway land, not just winning bids, the commission announced Monday.
The change of course came two weeks after an initial decision to keep the identity of bids secret, unless and until they were selected, drew concerns it would be a barrier to public oversight.
At the time, commission Executive Director Jan Brodie said developers were requesting confidentiality and the policy would make sure the public received the best offers for the land possible.
In explaining the decision to walk back the confidentiality policy, I-195 commission spokeswoman Dyana Koelsch said early concerns releasing information would prevent resubmissions dissipated.
“The plan is still to ere on the side of transparency without jeopardizing the ability to attract the best offers,” Koelsch said. “Part of reason we were not releasing names is we were worried about folks not resubmitting, but that probably would not be the case anyway due to timing. That and the public concern, which we were sensitive to, made us consider the revision.”
The policy revision did not require a separate vote of commissioners, because the original did not specify what would happen with proposals not advanced to the “letter of intent” stage, the commission said in a news release.
As before, the commission intends to release a summary of the number of proposals it received by its May 1 deadline after its May 19 meeting.
Then under the revised policy, proposals selected to enter into exclusive negotiations will be identified after they sign letters of intent. Proposals not moving forward will be identified when that decision is made, Koelsch said.