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Tuesday July 29th 2014

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Hoodwinked?

DID LAND CAPITAL REALLY QUALIFY?

Sadly, the performance bond battle wasn’t the first time Davison tried to get by with less than the full truth. In fact, a review of his 2007 Request for Qualifications (RFQ) submittal has revealed several discrepancies.

According to the RFQ issued by the CMPA, developers interested in the maritime park would have their proposals evaluated on 1) Composition and Qualifications of staff; 2) Experience with respect to various aspects of the development, including architecture, engineering, construction, financing, leasing and ongoing management; 3) Experience with public/private partnerships; 4) Ability to meet time and budget requirements; and 5) Small and minority business participation.

The RFQ attracted the attention of such heavy-hitters as Hammes Company from Madison, Wis., whose projects included the $295 million renovation of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., Carter Real Estate of Atlanta, which handled the $66 million expansion of Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Football Stadium and rebuild of Russ Chandler Baseball Stadium, and Performa Entertainment Real Estate, which was founded to manage and develop the Beale Street Historic District for the city of Memphis.

Davison boasted in the cover letter for his RFQ proposal, “we have been fortunate enough to include three strategic visionaries excited to participate in the Gulf Coast’s revival: Michael Buckley, Halycon LTD, Henry Beer of Communications Arts Design, and Karin Bacon of Karin Bacon Events.” He claimed that Land Capital Group had “assembled a peerless group of professionals” which also included HKS Architects and JP Morgan Asset Management.

Though Davison and Land Capital had little experience outside of developing shopping centers, they had clearly put together on paper a team that could compete with Hammes, Carter and Performa Entertainment. Michael Buckley and Halcyon LTD had an international reputation for mixed-used development and had been involved with the Southeast Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C. and the revitalization of Coney Island. HKS Architects designed the ballpark of the Richmond Braves. According to the proposal, JP Morgan Asset Management had a joint venture relationship with Land Capital Group and had a combined net worth exceeding $2 billion to contribute to that joint venture.

The only problem is Halcyon, HKS Architects and JP Morgan Asset Management have not been involved in the maritime park or with MPDP. Populous, not HKS Architects, is designing the multi-use stadium. JP Morgan has no joint venture with Land Capital or MPDP, and Halcyon didn’t even know it was on any development team for the park.

The IN contacted Michael Buckley of Halcyon LTD, whose role according to the Land Capital proposal was to be the “Sr. Development Strategist.” Buckley said he had never agreed to be part of a development team for the project and hadn’t authorized Davison to use his or his company’s name as part of the RFQ. Buckley came down to Pensacola in early 2007 to view with others the property and meet with city officials.

“We were excited about the project for Pensacola, a city that has such ‘good bones,’ but being a development partner was never discussed,” Buckley told the IN. “We discussed a scope of work, but I never heard from (Davison) again.”

Buckley is upset that his name and “hard-earned” reputation were misused by Land Capital, who never reimbursed him for his travel expenses. “It’s unfortunate someone would take advantage of such a situation to win a contract,” Buckley added.

To qualify, each prospective developer had to have one or more projects that totaled at least $50 million and have at least one major mixed-use project similar to the Community Maritime Park. It was the projects of Halcyon, Silver Cloud Partners and Cline Design Associates that met those qualifications. Based on the RFQ submittal, Land Capital Group alone had no such projects to meet both of those critical requirements.

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