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Hunt Development Group

El Paso, TX

Summary

When Travis County, Texas, announced plans to replace the Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse, which opened in 1931, via an alternative project delivery process, Hunt Development took the lead in putting together a consortium to bid on the project to develop a 430,000-square-foot civil and family courthouse facility. It called on Husch Blackwell’s P3 team to assist in winning the work.

Challenges

In 2013 the Travis County Commissioners Court in Texas elected to proceed with a design-build procurement for the Travis County courthouse project, but the supporting bond issue was rejected by voters in 2015. The existing courthouse was struggling to meet the county’s growing administrative needs, and a new solution that could gain public approval was badly needed.  The county issued a fresh request for industry comments for the courthouse project in December 2017 and requested information regarding alternative project delivery methods. Specifically, the county was looking for industry leaders with experience developing, financing and delivering projects similar to the size and complexity of the proposed courthouse facility.

Solution

Our team dug in and worked hand in hand with the client and its partners to tackle an array of issues related to crafting a winning bid, including the structure of the underlying agreement, various funding mechanisms and financial arrangements, land-use issues related to potential project sites, and the structure of the consortium itself, which included Chameleon Companies, Hensel Phelps, Gensler and CGL Companies. In July 2018 the Hunt-led team was selected for the project by unanimous vote of the Commissioners, and we continued to work with the consortium to move the project toward completion.

Result

On April 9, 2019, the $344 million Travis County Courthouse project reached financial close. The resulting financial arrangement called for the issuance of $330 million in certificates of obligation, which will fund the incremental public purchase of the facility, including an initial payment at financial close, multiple milestone payments over time, and a final completion payment. The project also called for the Hunt-led consortium to enter into a revolving credit facility totaling $75 million. Five years after Travis County voters rejected a supporting bond issue, the project team has the capital and the green light to build a much-needed piece of infrastructure.

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