LOCUS Steering Committee gathers in Washington DC

LA Union Station
Los Angeles’ Union Station, one of several projects being worked on by LOCUS members. Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Metro.

The Steering Committee of LOCUS, Smart Growth America’s coalition of responsible real estate developers and investors, gathered in Washington DC this week to discuss upcoming LOCUS projects and identify new issues facing smart growth development today.

Art Leahy, CEO of Los Angeles Metro, started the meeting on Tuesday with a presentation about the future of L.A.’s Union Station. As Leahy explained, Metro’s Master Plan for the station will celebrate the site’s history, improve passenger experience and make the Union Station neighborhood a great destination by considering combinations of public space enhancements, access and circulation improvements and new development. Leahy presented about the project to the Steering Committee, and received feedback from fellow Committee members.

On Tuesday afternoon Christopher Coes, LOCUS’s Managing Director, led a discussion about Smart Growth America’s Federal Investment in Real Estate report released in July. This report includes seven recommendations designed to improve federal real estate programs, broaden housing opportunities and revitalize cities and towns nationwide. Steering Committee members discussed LOCUS’s priority recommendations and ways to gather support for the issues.

That night, LOCUS members had a chance to meet and connect with members of Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council, who were also in Washington for concurrent meetings. Mayors, council members and other local leaders from across the United States talked to LOCUS developers about how they can work together to build better towns, cities and neighborhoods with smart growth strategies.

LOCUS members reconvened on Wednesday morning to hear Christopher Leinberger, President of LOCUS, discuss his recent research The WalkUP Wake-Up Call: Atlanta. The new report, published by The George Washington University School of Business, shows that walkable urban places (or “WalkUPs”) occupy only 1/200th of metro Atlanta’s land area but account for 20 percent of the region’s office, retail and other commercial property. The report also showed that these places command a premium: the average rent in WalkUPs in Atlanta is 112% higher than drivable suburban real estate.

We thank the Steering Committee members who participated and look forward to our next meeting. Are you a real estate developer or investor interested in becoming part of this work? Learn about becoming a LOCUS member today.