Potential project may benefit two local businesses

Posted: August 3, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — Frederick County officials’ decision on whether to pursue an offer regarding a new government building could benefit four businesses, including a local builder and law firm and a Northern Virginia architectural firm.

The county government received an unsolicited proposal in March from Frederick County Center LLC under the state’s Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) to provide financing for the design and construction of a new building.

The county’s current offices — at 107 N. Kent St. in Winchester — are spread over 100,000 square feet, while Frederick County LLC is proposing a 150,000-square-foot building.

According to the proposal, the company would provide land in the county for the project, and would purchase the existing facility.

The proposal came before the county Board of Supervisors at its April 24 meeting, and the panel voted to accept competing offers. The deadline for private entities to make a proposal was June 25, and no others were received.

The proposal was submitted in two volumes, with Volume I containing background information and Volume II containing information — such as the site of the land and the amount the company will pay to purchase the county building — that can be kept proprietary until the company chooses to disclose it.

The four companies listed under the Frederick County Center LLC in Volume I are: Winchester-based Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., cited as the project’s design-build firm; Reston-based architecture firm the Polleo Group; Winchester-based legal consultants Lawson & Silek PLC; and the Richmond office of international financial company Raymond James & Associates.

Volume I states that: “Through the comprehensive agreement, Frederick County Center LLC is prepared to assume all performance risks for property acquisition, building design and construction, site design and site development, and is willing to provide guarantees for this risk, as noted in the proposal. Contractually, Frederick County Center LLC will enter into a design[-]build contract with Howard Shockey & Sons Inc., through which Shockey will assume responsibility for the design and construction of the project. At the detailed phase of this proposal, we will discuss the specific extent of the shift of risk from public to private sector and our team’s willingness to negotiate the allocation of such risk.”

Shockey Vice President Jeff Boehm is an appointed member of the state Legislature’s PPEA Model Guidelines Task Force, according to the proposal.

Several local projects — including the county Public Safety Building, Pod 3 and the Community Corrections Center at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center and Greenwood Mill Elementary School — have been constructed under the PPEA process, and Shockey was involved in the construction of each of those buildings, according to the proposal.

Shockey can undertake a single project totaling $80 million and has a bonding capacity of $400 million, according to the proposal.

Boehm deferred questions about the proposal to Lawson.

The Polleo Group’s online portfolio lists multiple projects in Northern Virginia and includes Kincora Village, the Dulles Town Center and the Dulles World Center in Dulles and Oaklawn in Leesburg. The group also has been involved with architectural work for the Manassas Ballpark and Hotel Quito in Ecuador.

Thomas Dinneny, a principal with the Polleo Group, did not return a message left at his office.

Raymond James Financial has more than 6,300 financial advisers serving more than 2.5 million accounts in more than 2,500 locations throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. Its total client assets are about $405 billion, according to the company’s website.

James R. Johnson, a managing director with Raymond James & Associates in Richmond, previously deferred questions on the project to county officials.

The Lawson and Silek firm includes seven attorneys and has offices in Winchester and Front Royal.

Lawson has represented several developers and businesses — including Carmeuse Lime and Stone, Lansdowne Development Group, the developer of the Snowden Bridge community and the business that owns the Russell 150 property — in matters involving Frederick County in the past.

The county Public Works Committee will begin its evaluation of the proposal during its Tuesday meeting.

Public Works Director Ed Strawsnyder said earlier that he does not know how long the evaluation will take.

If the committee determines that the project would not benefit Frederick County, the proposal will not go any farther, according to County Administrator John R. Riley Jr.

— Contact Matt Armstrong atmarmstrong@winchesterstar.com