Aragon East in the Raw

September 12, 2006

shockHere are the raw scores on the Aragon East proposals:


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 47
Esplanade 64
Hawkshaw Eastside 85
Technology Bay 78
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 90


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 49
Esplanade 65
Hawkshaw Eastside 73
Technology Bay 81
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 90

Downtown Pensacola Hotel 49
Esplanade 59
Hawkshaw Eastside 82
Technology Bay 64
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 93

Downtown Pensacola Hotel 28
Esplanade 53
Hawkshaw Eastside 70
Technology Bay 58
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 62


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 45
Esplanade 91
Hawkshaw Eastside 91
Technology Bay 79
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 80


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 43
Esplanade 59
Hawkshaw Eastside 84
Technology Bay 73
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 58


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 35
Esplanade 41
Hawkshaw Eastside 94
Technology Bay 41
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 40


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 27
Esplanade 40
Hawkshaw Eastside 50
Technology Bay 48
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 81


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 56
Esplanade 57
Hawkshaw Eastside 74
Technology Bay 78
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 76


Downtown Pensacola Hotel 49
Esplanade 57
Hawkshaw Eastside 86
Technology Bay 63
Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 95


  1. Hawkshaw Eastside 789
  2. Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 765
  3. Technology Bay 663
  4. Esplanade 586
  5. Downtown Pensacola Hotel 428


  1. Hawkshaw Eastside 645
  2. Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 630
  3. Technology Bay 541
  4. Esplanade 455
  5. Downtown Pensacola Hotel 345


  1. Hawkshaw Eastside 83
  2. Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 80.5
  3. Technology Bay 68.5
  4. Esplanade 58
  5. Downtown Pensacola Hotel 46


  1. Hawkshaw Eastside 78.9
  2. Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 76.5
  3. Technology Bay 66.3
  4. Esplanade 58.6
  5. Downtown Pensacola Hotel 42.8


RO NOTE: Councilman John Jerralds really skewed the votes by ranking Hawkshaw Eastside 53 points higher than any other proposal. Nobles was almost just as bad as he ranked Technology Bay at Hawkshaw 31 points higher than Hawkshaw Eastside.

If you take Jerralds and Nobles votes out – Hawkshaw Eastside (645) still beats Technology Bay at Hawkshaw (644) by one vote.

The voting process was set prior to the RFP being awarded. We have to live with it.


19 Responses to “Aragon East in the Raw”

  1. Courtney Says:

    I don’t know if this was a factor or not but I noticed at the meeting the CRA/City Council members were somewhat confused on how to vote for the projects because all but one of the projects ignored (or did not address) Equal Employment Opportunities into their project.

    The result was a ten minute discussion on how to exclude that factor while at the same time not affecting the overall scoring of any one project favorably or unfavorable as a result. To make things even more confusing, Wiggins had already submitted his scoring sheet before the meeting and had voted with the EEO factor being considered.

    I don’t remember what was eventually decided as my eyes began rolling into the back of my head.

  2. Interested Observer Says:

    Random thoughts from someone who (painfully) sat through this process:

    The Moulton project (Technology Bay at Hawkshaw) was easily the one that offered the most development to the city, as the Moultons either own or have options on several parcels surrounding this site. They proposed a three phase development that would change the entire look of the area between Gulf Power and Aragon. If I had to guess, CRA (or Council, take your pick) was turned off by the presence of 13 brownstone residences priced at $900,000 each along with the Moulton’s requirement that over half of Admiral Mason park (the always flooded soccer fields) be turned into an elaborate retention pond to handle stormwater fron their project.

    Esplanade and Technology Bay both had a majority of space committed to office use, and both had a technology tenant (Esplanade: AppRiver from Gulf Breeze and Technology Bay: Avalex Technologies from Pensacola) lined up to lease substantial amounts of their project. Interesting choice by CRA/Council of residences over jobs. Additionally, these projects would have come out of the ground sooner than the winner because neither of these would have had to wait for presales before arranging financing.

    The $124,900 condominiums in the winning bid are 550 square feet. That’s a little larger than a decent hotel room, for whatever its worth.

    The RFP process is interesting. You have a city staff (Cowper, Bailey, etc.) that is very talented and knowledgeable leading the process and a Council that doesn’t understand development (with possibly an exception or two) making the decisions. I wonder if we would be better served by having staff make recommendations to Council for future projects.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    At no time after the scoring was done did anyone mention that Tech Bay at Hawkshaw was ranked #1 in one of the two scoring methods. The a. method as opposed to the alternate b method that was displayed along with the raw score during the meeting. A vote should have been held between those top two ranking proposals at the very least.

  4. Joe Says:

    It’s ridiculous that the Hawkshaw East developers only seem to be required to sell 25% of the 94 units at below $200,000, and that the cheapest units in the bunch will cost you about $230/ft^2 — not to mention all those inevitable condo fees.

    Marty Donovan’s system at work, folks.

  5. Richard Hawkins Says:

    It is almost impossible to insert “affordable housing” into a high-end development.

    Suppose we randomly assign 20 units to lower middle class residents. Their smartest move would be to flip them … at market price.

    If we assign them undesirable small units, they cannot flip them, but have we really made them better off?

  6. Robert Kelley Says:

    If you look at each council member and compare the two developments. Tech Bay at Hawkshaw would have won 6-4 in a heads up vote.

  7. Interested Observer Says:

    Makes you wonder why the City wouldn’t have encouraged rental units instead of condominiums for several reasons:

    These condos will essentially be city-subsidized competition with private development projects announced or underway,

    Rental units would allow the City to have greater control over the affordability of housing (perhaps by using vouchers or subsidies),

    Rental product would allow more residents the opportunity to try out the downtown living experience without making a substantial financial commitment.

    Additionally, downtown would attract retail development much faster as a greater number of households could be placed in the downtown core at a faster rate.

  8. Joe Says:

    There are plenty of good ways to provide affordable housing while discouraging the impulse to “flip” it for quick profit. I don’t know if it would have applied in this scenario, but one example is to sell a property at market value but with an interest-free second mortgage for low- to medium-income homebuyers that is forgiven over time, effectively lowering the cost of the house IF the owner stays for a while.

  9. Richard Hawkins Says:

    Joe has introduced a scheme to preserve affordability while restricting the rights of the new owner.

    It sounds a lot like rent control, good intentions that create major problems. For example, Joe Public would rather flip, but can’t sell so he now has an incentive to illegally sublet the property. In response, we’ll create a government agency that monitors property use. And so on …

    I remain skeptical.

  10. Courtney Says:

    Actually, Richard that is almost how the SHIP program works for first-time homebuyers which is managed by the City of Pensacola.

    The first-time homebuyer buys the home and then the city places a five-year lein on the property in exchange for a grant that is paid at purchase reducing the amount of the loan. It preserves affordability and reduces the rights of the homeowner.

    Illegally subletting the property is something that is supposed to be monitored but who knows if that is done with our SHIP program.

    I’m always skeptical of our government taking tax dollars and giving them to someone else but nobody seems to mind. They keep electing the same parties and officials that allow it to happen.

  11. Bill Braskey Says:

    Government intervention concerning market forces is NEVER a good thing, regardless of intention.

  12. Richard Hawkins Says:

    Clarification: I am not against programs that enhance affordable housing. I find cramming affordable housing into high-end condominium projects foolish.

    One soution: The CRA could bundle a high-end parcel with some other city-owned property and force the winning bidder to develop two projects.

  13. Robert Kelley Says:

    The problem isnt affordable housing. The real problem is education and better jobs. Your fighting a losing battle if you just keep subsidizing homes instead of working to create jobs and providing the best education possible. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

    Im not saying we should ignore housing but this location would be better served with a development that would provide the most benifit on the economic development side. Why would you even attempt to put affordable housing near the water? Insurance costs alone make developments near the water unaffordable to most.

  14. o'brien fan Says:

    the original rfp mentioned nothing about housing but that is the holy grail of staff and council so that feature trumped high paying jobs. The voting process was a real debacle – at least 2 councilpersons admit that they did not understand it. In addition you had conflicts all over the place like suspicious campaign contributions, council members voting when a relative was involved, etc. Next time the city should simply put out an rfp and place a few conditions on the use of the property and sell to the highest bidder – none of these beauty contest shenanigans. What do the councilmen know about development anyway? Funny how only local developers show up for these deals – the big time players know about the home cookin’ that goes on ’round here….. Is it a coincidence that the same guy that headed up the group that won the Ninth Ave deal is also the one who led the group that won the Aragon deal? Funny how that little detail has not been mentioned. Quit tap dancing around it – this is a pitiful way to conduct business and serves to stifle competition.

  15. BillyBob Says:

    I agree. Local developers, nice guys that they may be, own the council and commission. They all do favors for each other and in some cases, as reported, hunt and fish together. They’re all to blame for stifling growth, in the interest of making themselves richer. I have no hope that big, outside, development firms with the know-how, financing and creative planning to put together truly great projects will ever set foot here because of backward bubba politics such as this. For the record, all of the plans submitted for this project are tepid.

  16. jay Says:

    How did the applicant even make it to the review?

    How did it meet the RFP for the parcel if the project required the street to be vacated by the city and use of the soccer area across the street as a retention pond?

  17. Soccer Fan Says:

    Nobles should have abstained from the vote. I believe he is still related to the Moultons. He did bring up the revote. It looks like move backdoor politics.Pensacola should learn and start voting these guys out.

  18. jay Says:

    Some of them have been there for over a decade.

    Should be term limits. Get some new ideas.

    Pretty bad when a council member/college professor and the mayor come back and say they were confused after the instructions but voted anyway?

  19. o'brien fan Says:

    yes it is very bad and indicative of the sad state of city government.

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