Real estate developers convene to collaborate and advocate at 2013 LOCUS Leadership Summit

The second annual LOCUS Leadership Summit brought together over 50 leading real estate developers from across the country to meet with members of Congress, share ideas and learn from one another in Washington, DC this week.

Over the past two days attendees heard from leaders in Washington and the real estate industry about how public policymakers and real estate developers can work together to create more walkable, livable, economically strong neighborhoods.

LOCUS

Smart Growth Stories: Mayor Marilyn Strickland on development in Tacoma, WA

Tacoma, WA Mayor Marilyn Strickland considers her city “the best kept secret in Washington State,” and smart growth strategies are helping make the city an even better place to live and work.

“Tacoma kind of got bypassed during the whole urban renewal phase of the late 60s and 70s, so as a result a lot of historic property did not get razed,” Strickland says. “So we have this beautiful stock of old warehouses and historic property.”

Local Leaders Council

Introducing LOCUS state chapters

LOCUS is proud to formally announce that we are expanding our efforts to six key regions across the country with LOCUS state chapters. LOCUS state chapters, working closely with LOCUS members in these states, will complement and enhance our ongoing national work to promote walkable development through education, advocacy, and technical assistance.

We have already begun work in the chapters states of Alabama, California, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota and Washington. Thank you to the LOCUS members and allies who have met with us in these states thus far.

LOCUS members are invited and encouraged to join the work of these state chapters. If you are not yet a LOCUS member and are interested in joining, submit a membership application today.

LOCUS

Tacoma, WA guides economic revitalization with LEED-ND


A rendering of the long-term vision community planners have for 25th and Pacific Ave (Dome/Brewery District). Photo from the Brewery District Development Concept Study.

The City of Tacoma currently has its sights on two major smart growth initiatives that will aide in the economic revitalization of two inner city neighborhoods: the Dome/Brewery District and the Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood.

Due to the recession and budget constraints, however, the city currently lacks the tools needed to effectively set goals and benchmark, evaluate and recognize progress for the projects. Tacoma is therefore looking to leverage existing efforts and resources to successfully revitalize these two neighborhoods. In this vein, Tacoma applied for and received a free technical assistance workshop from Smart Growth America funded by EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. The two day workshop focused on using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities.

Technical assistance

Partnership in the News: Secretary LaHood visits TIGER-funded Spokane site

On the afternoon of August 23, Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA., visited Spokane County, WA to tour the construction being done on the U.S.-395 North Spokane Corridor.

This project is ongoing, funded by a DOT TIGER grant and about halfway completed, and has also recently received another $10m TIGER grant to continue construction, totaling $45m in grants thus far.

LaHood also took the opportunity to announce a new national Freight Policy Board, with the hope of double American exports within three years.

Uncategorized

Partnership in the News: Spokane Tribe Addresses Water Needs

With the help of the Environmental Protection Agency Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program, the Spokane Tribe of Indians will work with technical experts to address water infrastructure needs in Wellpinit, Washington. According to an article re-posted on the Environmental Expert website:

The Spokane Tribe requested assistance to support their development of a comprehensive water infrastructure plan that will focus on water and sewer system challenges in Wellpinit. The community faces future challenges of summer water shortages, drinking water delivery, pipe and pump failures, and design and maintenance of sewage management systems.

Uncategorized

Smart growth news – December 27, 2011

Byram growth plan honored again
New Jersey Herald, December 23, 2011
Spanning from Maine to Washington state, the 15 chosen communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, said Smart Growth America Vice President Roger Millar. The 15 selected communities exhibited the strongest interest in and need for smart growth tools, and demonstrated a commitment from local business, community and political leaders to implement local smart growth solutions, according to Millar.

Tacoma Chosen to Receive Smart Growth Assistance
Exit 133 (Wash.), December 23, 2011
Tacoma has been awarded a grant for free assistance from Smart Growth America. Tacoma is one of 15 communities selected out of a pool of close to 90 applications for the free assistance in implementing the principles of smart growth.

PlanMaryland: A Model for State-Level Smart Growth Planning
Streetsblog DC, December 22, 2011
Parris Glendening, former Maryland governor and smart growth leader explained his support for the plan in blog post for Smart Growth America: “I want my grandchildren to enjoy the beauty of Patapsco Valley State Park and the bustling downtown of historic Annapolis. I want them to be able to eat food grown in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, and to find a job here. I want Maryland to be a place they will love.”

Top 10 Daily Digits from 2011
Governing, December 23, 2011
69,000: The number of bridges that need major repairs or complete replacement in the United States, according to a Transportation for America report. Reuters reported in March that the American Society of Civil Engineers has estimated that the nation needs to invest $17 billion yearly to improve current bridge conditions.

Housing the Echo Boomers – Next Big Real Estate Opportunity?
Forbes, December 21, 2011
[W]hether Echo Boomers rent or buy, they will need housing, and there are 80 million of them. In other words, recognizing their demographics and preferences will separate the winners from the losers and that has huge financial implications in a generation as large as the Echo Boomers.

Technical assistance

The benefits of Washington DC's Metro

Washington, DC’s Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates Metrorail and Metrobus service in the region, brings large, tangible benefits to the DC-area economy. A new report from WMATA, prepared by AECOM and Smart Growth America, details just how big these benefits are.

“WMATA Regional Benefits of Transit” (PDF) examines Metro’s impact on several aspects of the DC-area economy, including how public transit supports businesses, workers, families, visitors, and the region’s largest employer, the federal government.

The report found that Metro is an outstanding investment of public funds. Access to Metrorail significantly boosts property values and tax revenues for the city. Real estate located within ½ mile of a Metrorail station represents 27.9% of the area’s tax base on just 4% of its land, including 68.1% for DC, 15.3% for Virginia, and 9.9% for Maryland.

Metro supports businesses, and economic activity tied to Metro’s presence is critical to the success of the region. Claude Anderson of the Metropolitan Washington Restaurant Association is quoted in the report’s executive summary:

We have come a long, long way from the bad old days of a deserted, dilapidated and dangerous downtown during the evening hours and few destination retail and entertainment neighborhoods. The establishment and growth of vibrant areas such as Penn Quarter, Ballston, U/14th Street corridors are directly attributable to transportation access for patrons, visitors and employees.

Collectively, Metro saves DC-area families $342 million per year in car operating expenses. Home values may increase near rail stations, but families save significantly on transportation costs each year.

Uncategorized

15 communities selected to receive free smart growth technical assistance

A view of downtown Oklahoma City, OK by Flickr user Becky McCray. Oklahoma City is one of 15 communities selected to receive free technical assistance this year.

Smart Growth America is pleased to announce the 15 communities that have been selected to receive this year’s free smart growth technical assistance. Stretching from Maine to Washington State, these communities represent major cities, suburban communities, and rural towns, showing that all types of communities are interested in using smart growth strategies to build stronger local economies, create jobs and improve overall quality of life.

Technical assistance