The Armed Forces Retirement Home (the Home or AFRH) was established in 1851 as an independent agency to provide services to eligible members of the Armed Forces. In recent years, the Home’s financial situation began to steadily deteriorate. To remedy the problem, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2002 granted AFRH the authority to sell or lease its excess property, and then use any proceeds for its operating trust fund.
After an intensive search for the best team to lead the redevelopment planning effort, AFRH selected GSA PBS NCR’s (National Capital Region) Real Property Disposal Division (WPR). In most projects of this magnitude, GSA typically serves as both owner and manager. However, the AFRH project is unique; for it, WPR serves as the redevelopment project manager in a consulting role.
WPR began by completing a strategic analysis of alternatives and initiating a two-phase competitive process to select entities to undertake the redevelopment. During the first phase, a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to solicit qualifications and proposals, AFRH identified three highly qualified development entities. Then in the second phase a Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued to the three most qualified developers.
GSA incorporated several innovative practices into the RFP evaluation process, one of which was the use of the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP) for the actual RFP evaluation process. The AHP is a powerful decision-making process that reduces complex multi-criteria decisions to a series of one-on-one comparisons. It helps capture both subjective and objective evaluation measures, provides a useful mechanism for checking the consistency of the evaluation measures and reducing bias in decision making, and improves the analytical accuracy of the selection process.
Innovation was also displayed on this project through the use of an organizationally diverse selection board. The board was comprised of representatives from agencies outside GSA and AFRH, which greatly increased the scope of organizational expertise brought to bear on the project. In addition to a diverse board, a broad cross-segment of internal (GSA) and private sector resources was tapped to provide the board members technical expertise during evaluation. An example of a combination of “One GSA” in action and the competitive sourcing concepts enshrined in the President’s Management Agenda, the GSA Small Business Division Director and the Director of Urban Design and Planning from Skidmore Owings & Merrill both served on technical evaluation teams.
Ultimately, the use of these innovative practices resulted in reduced cycle time for the RFP evaluation process, a more robust and analytically correct evaluation methodology, and the application of an organizationally diverse body of knowledge to the evaluation process. These innovative practices, which are easily replicable at any agency, have resulted in high client satisfaction and a successful developer selection process.
U.S. General Services Administration
Property Disposal Division (WPR)