The county released a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop the airbase Oct. 22 after previous master developer Gerry Kamilos lost his contract with the county in late August because he failed to meet required deadlines in July.
A pre-conference with a Crows Landing air facility site visit is planned for Nov. 16. New proposals must be submitted by Feb. 1.
The new proposal process contains more safeguards for the county, to protect against future missteps with any master developer, county officials said.
“Everyone was pretty much in agreement,” said Jim DeMartini, Stanislaus County District 5 supervisor, whose district includes the West Side. “We want someone with experience in industrial development and who is financially stable. If we don’t get a decent proposal, we’ll continue to farm the land and try another time.”
DeMartini said he insisted that supervisors include provisions to ensure that any company that develops the airbase is financially viable, which he felt never happened with Kamilos.
Like the previous request issued in 2006, the new proposal request seeks an independent source of water for the community of Crows Landing as part of the deal and development of a general-aviation airport as part of an industrial park.
New provisions include a requirement that the master developer deposit $2 million with the county before any deal to pay for the Environmental Impact Report process. The money would be used exclusively for that process and would be drawn upon as the review moves forward.
In addition, the county will approve a master development agreement only when environmental studies have been completed.
Stanislaus County Assistant CEO Keith Boggs said the county is looking specifically at developing the 1,528 acres that make up the former airbase, not developing beyond that property as Kamilos had pitched
“This is a clean RFP and very structured and very straightforward,” Boggs said. “We’re hoping for choices.”
DeMartini said the board of supervisors is looking for stability in a development partner.
“You need financial strength, experience in industrial development and money up front for the EIR,” he said. “You have to meet the criteria. It’s the same rules for everybody.”
DeMartini said the board had learned from its mistakes in trying to develop the land.
There is no word yet on any early suitors. However, the proposal request was sent to a group of investors, including Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot Jr., that made an earlier proposal. Calls to Senior Vice President John Magness in the Los Angeles office of the Dallas-based Hillwood Development Co. were not returned this week.
Kamilos also did not return calls this week.
The board of supervisors voted 3-1 on Aug. 28 to terminate Kamilos’ developer contract for the Crows Landing Air Facility, because he missed a July 10 deadline to make a required $2.75 million deposit for project studies. That ended a five-year exclusive negotiating relationship with the developer.
His plan entailed building a 2,930-acre industrial park on and around the 1,528-acre former U.S. naval airfield, most of which is owned by the county.
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