2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit provides private sector solutions to the affordability and social equity crisis

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx addresses the audience at the 2015 LOCUS Leadership Summit.

The fourth annual LOCUS Leadership Summit convened earlier this week at the Carnegie Library in Washington, DC, bringing together 130 real estate developers and local elected officials from around the country. Attendees discussed and debated with the brightest minds in real estate, discovering private sector tools and strategies to combat the affordability and social equity crisis.

The 2015 Summit marked the second year of Real Estate Advocacy and Leadership (R.E.A.L.) Talks, a series featuring innovative ideas and approaches to smart growth real estate development from members of the private and public sector. The first session investigated the advantages and challenges of Making the Business Case for Triple-Bottom Line Development and Social Equity. Speakers, including Senior Vice President of Purpose Built Communities Carol Naughton, Executive Vice President of Oaktree/Greenline Chryse Gibson, and LOCUS Director Christopher Coes, offered innovative approaches to connect investors and communities. Attendees considered the fundamentals of community health, including the Naughton’s emphasis on investment in education, income, and neighborhoods, and Gibson’s core company values; people, planet, profit, and partnership.

The second R.E.A.L. Talks session considered strategies for Achieving and Managing Affordability in Walkable Urban Places, with JAIR LYNCH Development President Jair Lynch, Jonathan Rose Companies President Jonathan Rose, and The Integral Group LLC Chairman & Chief Executive Officer and Fannie Mae Chairman of the Board Egbert Perry. Participants considered the challenging balance of internalities and externalities, learned principles of affordability, and gained strategies to push away from a development culture Perry described as, “privatizing all profits and socializing all loses.”

A keynote address fromTransportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was a midday highlight. At such a critical time in federal transportation financing, Foxx’s address rang clear as he called legislators to action, citing the country as “woefully underinvesting in our infrastructure.” Foxx also encouraged members of the private and public sector to act for smart growth development, urging for a regionally focused approach in urban, suburban, and rural communities. Foxx closed out with strategies to improve transportation in struggling communities, inspired in part by his work in LadderSTEP cities Atlanta, Baltimore, Baton Rouge, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Phoenix, and Richmond.

Secretary Foxx wrote a blog post about his experience at the event and the support for the GROW AMERICA proposal on his Fast Lane blog.

The second day of the Summit brought new excitement as attendees advocated for transit-oriented development to their Congressional delegations. After a morning spent on Capitol Hill, participants had the chance to honor model developers at the Congressional Leadership Awards Luncheon. LOCUS President Christopher Leinberger awarded Federal Realty Investment Trust the Developer of the Year Award for their commitment to mixed-use development, citing Pike & Rose, a project in Montgomery County, Maryland, as an example for the country. Lucas Thornton of Hist:Re Partners was presented the Richard Baron Award, gracing attendees with his endless commitment to mixed-use development in Roanoke, Virginia.

The Summit concluded with the LOCUS Policy Roundtable, featuring an address from Senator Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Capital Markets Vice President David Borsos, Transportation for America Director of Policy Joe McAndrew, and LOCUS Director Christopher Coes. After panelists discussed the importance of smart growth investment, Senator Schatz urged participants to establish “private sector business-oriented leadership” in their communities. Schatz’s call to action reiterated the importance of goal-oriented investment, and further solidified the mission of LOCUS Developers and the 2015 Summit.

Over the next few weeks, LOCUS will be providing resources from the Summit including presentations, photos, and testimonials. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and resources.

Register now: The Michigan Leadership Summit, June 23, 2015
This year, LOCUS is taking our premier conference to regions ripe with development opportunity. That is why we believe it only makes sense that Michigan, a state that is ready for development, be the host of our next regional summit. Join us in Detroit to learn innovative approaches and practices to smart growth financing and development, influence federal and state policy and take part in exclusive deal making. We hope to see you there.