The Wellington Village Council this month is expected to review the lone proposal submitted for the K-Park property, a science and technology campus proposed by ReInvent America LLC.
Discussion of the item is tentatively set for the Monday, Aug. 27 agenda review meeting, Purchasing Manager Ed De La Vega told the Town-Crier Monday.
“We did receive one proposal,” he said. “We are still reviewing it, but it is tentatively scheduled to be discussed by the council.”
Earlier this year, the former council asked staff to draft a request for proposals for the 66-acre K-Park site, located on the southwest corner of State Road 7 and Stribling Way, south of the Mall at Wellington Green.
The bid, which went out in February, said that all proposals should balance Wellington’s residential lifestyle while developing a stronger economic base. It should “include employment through a diversity of jobs, primarily with family-sustaining, value-added jobs,” according to the bid documents.
These jobs would pay average salaries of $60,000 or more, and could include businesses such as education, technology, research and development; green or clean alternative energy; and science.
The bid also requests an “integrated, mixed-use project in a campus-style setting” that emphasizes energy efficiency and low-impact development.
ReInvent America offered Wellington $7 million in its proposal and estimated it would need about $9.9 million in infrastructure costs to be financed by bonds.
The proposal would bring a science and technology campus utilizing all 66.7 acres that would focus on technology and energy in a “smart zone” environment.
According to the proposal, “smart zoning” includes mixed uses for universities, schools, research and development alongside the science, technology and bio-medical industries. The zoning also supports offices, restaurants, cafes, retail, banks, gyms, hotels and other public uses.
Included in the proposal were letters of interest from several companies, including a safety glass manufacturer, the Max Group restaurants, a pharmaceutical research and development facility, a sustainability consulting office, and a theater and boutique bowling alley.
De La Vega said that the council would have to consider the proposal but was not obligated to accept it. “They have several options,” he said. “Their options could range from rejecting the bid, accepting it, rebidding the project, or rejecting it and waiting.”
Because Wellington received one proposal, it will not go through the typical selection committee process, he said.
“If we had received more than one proposal, we would typically have set up a selection committee. But since we have received one, it is up to [the council] how we proceed,” he said.
Though council members had not yet seen the proposal, Mayor Bob Margolis said he was aware of the bid.
Margolis said he has been an advocate for using the land for a public purpose since it was purchased for public use.
“It was originally purchased to be a park, but [the Wellington Environmental Preserve] alleviated some of our concerns about open space,” he said. “I would entertain several ideas for the property, from keeping it open space to turning it into a park, or using it to entice a veterinary school or other medical school to come to Wellington.”
But, he said, he’d like to see it put before residents. “I’d like to have a workshop to get resident input,” he said.
Margolis said he could not speak about the submitted proposal but said he was expecting to discuss it with village staff and the council.
He said, however, that he had some concerns about the zoning, which could allow for something like a hotel or retail space to be built. “We don’t have to decide on anything right now,” Margolis said, noting that the organic farm currently using the land had renewed its lease. “I’m just so happy we have the land.”