Public-Private Partnerships

Page updated on Sep 30, 2021 at 9:29 AM


Public-private partnerships (P3s) are contractual arrangements between public and private sectors that allow for greater private sector participation in delivery of public sector projects, services, and infrastructure. Public-private partnerships serve as another tool to bring about investment and private sector expertise to the public sector.

The City of Alexandria has long been a part of public-private partnerships and alternative delivery such as the Energy from Waste facility on Eisenhower Avenue, the construction of public parking garages with private development, the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, the City Courthouse, the Potomac Yard Fire Station, the Potomac Yard Metro Station, the first design-build of a municipal bus facility in Virginia, affordable and workforce housing, as well as the Landmark Mall site redevelopment. The City also partners with many non-profit organizations in the delivery of services to the public. These innovative and progressive initiatives have involved joining the financial and knowledge-based strengths of the private sector with the public sector's in undertaking of complex affordable housing, cultural, transportation and other projects. The City wishes to rely less on its AAA/Aaa rated general obligation bond issuing capacity and to expand its efforts in the P3 area in a cost effective and responsible manner particularly as it implements its $2.7 billion 10-year capital improvement program. However, the City has not had in place a formal mechanism to solicit or to receive unsolicited proposals from the private sector, as allowed under the Virginia Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002, Va. Code § 56-575, et seq. (“PPEA”). Adoption of the proposed PPEA Guidelines will permit the City to utilize the PPEA to provide an additional project delivery tool for the City.

The PPEA, which was adopted by the General Assembly in 2002, provides that a responsible public entity may not consider any public-private partnership proposal by a private entity for approval of a qualifying project until the responsible public entity has adopted publicly available guidelines that are sufficient to establish the process for acceptance and review of proposals.

The PPEA allows the City to create public-private partnerships, on a solicited or unsolicited basis, for the development of a wide range of projects for public use if the City determines that there is a need for a project and private involvement can provide the project in a timely and cost-efficient fashion.

Qualifying Projects

The City has selected the following qualifying projects from the permissible categories authorized by the PPEA based on the City’s current priorities and needs:

  • A building or facility that meets a public purpose and is developed or operated by or for a public entity;
  • Improvements and equipment to enhance public safety and security of buildings principally used by a public entity;
  • Utility, telecommunications, and other communications infrastructure;
  • A recreational facility;
  • Technology infrastructure, services, and applications, including automated data processing, word processing and management information systems, and related equipment, goods, and services;
  • Services to increase the productivity or efficiency of the responsible public entity through technology or other means;
  • Technology, equipment, or infrastructure to deploy wireless broadband services to businesses, or residential areas;
  • Necessary or desirable improvements to unimproved publicly-owned real estate;


The PPEA grants responsible public entities the authority to consider public-private partnerships for the development of a wide range of projects for public use if the public entity has adopted guidelines that establish the process for consideration of private proposals which must be reasonable, encourage competition, and guide the selection of projects.

The City of Alexandria PPEA Guidelines (“Guidelines” comply with PPEA and have been adapted from Virginia model guidelines customized based on national best practices, industry feedback, experiences of local jurisdictions with PPEA, and the City’s objectives. The Guidelines provide for public engagement in the development of any public-private partnership and require City Council approval of any project. On September 18, 2021, after a public hearing, City Council adopted an ordinance to amend Section 3-3-2 of the City Code to provide for procurement under PPEA, and the resolution adopting the Guidelines.

These Guidelines are not applicable to independent political subdivisions of the City including, but not limited to, the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority, AlexRenew (formerly known as the Alexandria Sanitation Authority), and Alexandria City Public Schools. However, PPEA requires that guidelines adopted by responsible public entities include a mechanism for the appropriating body to review a proposed interim or comprehensive agreement prior to execution. Submissions may be made that are for a "mixed" project (for example, projects including both an independent political subdivision and the City), where, for certain components, the independent political subdivision may be the responsible public entity, and for certain components, the City may be the responsible public entity.

Unsolicited Process

The unsolicited process flowchart is provided here for reference:

If the City has not issued a solicitation pursuant to the PPEA for a specific project, a private entity must first meet with the City about a Qualifying Project as a prerequisite to submission of an unsolicited initial concept. For additional information, please contact the City at

For the purposes of these guidelines, a submission on an unsolicited basis is not an offer responding to the City’s previously published Request For Expression of Interest (RFEI), Request for Quotes (RFQ), Request for Qualifications (RFQu), Request for Proposals (RFP), Invitation to Bid (ITB), ordinance soliciting franchise proposals, or a City held project specific Industry Forum. After such initial meeting, a private entity may then submit to the City an unsolicited initial concept which shall contain the information required in Required Information for Unsolicited Initial Concept (see below), along with the applicable fee (see Guidelines).

Upon review of the private entity's unsolicited initial concept submission, the City Manager or designee may choose to accept an unsolicited conceptual proposal for consideration and will so notify the applicant of the decision. The private entity may then submit an unsolicited conceptual proposal which shall contain the information required in Appendix C. Required Information for Unsolicited Initial Concept of the Guidelines, along with the applicable fee (see Guidelines). The Guidelines provide details regarding the Unsolicited Process.

Relevant Forms

Solicited Process

The City may seek PPEA proposals by issuing a solicitation. The City will set forth in the solicitation the format and the supporting documentation that is required to be submitted, consistent with the provisions of the PPEA.

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Julian J. Gonsalves, Assistant City Manager for Public-Private Partnerships

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