Seeking the "frugal" but "efficient" management of hundreds of public housing units, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City is inviting private firms to submit proposals to manage more than a dozen properties, including one of the newest and largest complexes built under the federal HOPE VI program.
Lyle Schumann, deputy executive director of the authority, said the goal of the solicitation is to improve the agency's asset management. Although having the properties managed by private firms is nothing new, Schumann said this is the first time the properties have been put out for bid all at once.
"These are properties we have owned but not managed. ... What's different now is the timing," the housing official said.
It also marks the first time that the 311-unit Pleasant View Gardens has been put out for a separate management contract. The east-side complex, which was built under the federally financed HOPE VI program and opened in 1997, has been managed by ART Management Inc., a firm affiliated with the original contractor, A&R; Development Corp.
Under the request for proposals, which was formally issued this week, one management firm could end up with all the properties, which range from small neighborhood apartment buildings to the 298-unit Poe Homes to the Pleasant View Gardens complex. Poe Homes is managed by Edgewood Management Corp., which also manages several other authority properties, Schumann said.
The proposal involves 925 apartments at 13 locations. Other complexes include Somerset-Chase, Barrister Court, Irvington Place, Stricker Street Apartments, Maxwell III and Midtown Apartments.
"My hope is that we attract some large management firms," Schumann said. "But we haven't closed the door on small neighborhood companies."
"We'll see what we get," Schumann added. "We think this is a step in the right direction."
The preference for consolidation with a large firm is noted in the 20-page Request For Proposals, which urges bidders to "demonstrate economies of scale by submitting proposals for multiple groups of [HABC] properties."
The bid request also states that the primary responsibility of the winning firm or firms will be "the efficient and frugal management, operation and maintenance of [HABC] property." It provides no indication of the value of the current management contracts for the properties.
An information session on the proposal for firms interested in bidding is scheduled for Monday, and bids must be submitted by Feb. 23. The authority expects to announce the winner or winners May 3. According to the solicitation, the contract or contracts will be for one year with renewals of up to four years.
Schumann said one of the goals under the new contract is to get better detail and accountability from the management firms. Duties listed under the request for proposals include maintaining comprehensive records, contracting for extermination, snow removal and other routine services, and preparing an annual preventive maintenance plan and inspecting all dwelling units each year.