Advisor named for $1.7bn Yonkers school project

The school district of Yonkers, New York, has selected a team of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Macquarie Capital and URS Corporation to consult on what might be the first US public school system public-private partnership.

A New York school district keen to redress its ageing infrastructure will ask Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Macquarie Capital and URS Corporation if a public-private partnership (PPP) can offer a viable fix.

Yonkers Public Schools picked the trio Tuesday after undertaking a request for proposals in November for an advisory team to help explore privatisation as a possible method to raise $700 million for phase one of what could be the first social infrastructure PPP for a public school system in the US.

The district in a statement hailed the “deep bench” of the three member group, crediting Freshfields, Macquarie and URS as a “highly experienced” team that has “worked collaboratively and successfully”.

Law firm Freshfields was involved in the landmark Chicago metered parking concession, while Macquarie is an oft-used financial adviser in several privatisation processes. San Francisco-headquartered URS is a publicly trading engineering firm.

The district announced an advisory shortlist for the project in March that, in addition to the Freshfields-Macquarie-URS team, included:

-Ernst & Young, Delafield & Wood, Davis LLP, Gensler, Jeffrey Parker & Associates, and Turner & Townsend; 

-KPMG, Faithful & Gould and Fulbright & Jaworski; 

-Alvarez & Marsal, The Robert Bobb Group, Frasca and Associates, Fanning Howey, and DLA Piper;

-Harris Beach, National Development Council, William Mascetta and Associates, and Fuller and D’Angelo;

-Jonathan Rose Companies, The Kolluri Group, FTI Consulting, DelBello Donnellan Weingarten Wise & Wiederkehr, and The Tocci Group;

-Public Financial Management, CPM, Orrick, and Herrington & Sutcliffe;

-Yonkers Schools Accelerators, Savin Engineers, Greenhill & Company, Tetra Tech Engineers, and McKenna Long & Aldridge.

The district has envisioned the PPP as a design, build, and maintain contract and is hopeful that a formal assessment on the feasibility of the project can be completed by the end of the summer.

A recent long-term evaluation identified a total $1.7 billion in renovation needed for the 40-school district, according to Yonkers Public Schools.