By William Lawrence Managing Director, Consulting Services

Article #1: The National Market Perspective

Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is the place to be and the thing to build. This is not to say that it is for everyone, but it is where much of the development action is and where many of the baby boomers in the suburbs who can sell their homes or the recently minted college grads want to end up.

The national market data suggest that there are three dominant market types that are unfolding—the “24/7 cities,” the “Regional Cities,” and more or less, everything else.

The 24/7 Cities are the place to be —about a dozen of them that have the scale and diversity to create an enlivened downtown, punctuated by good or soon to be good transit of all types. These cities (call them the “Buzzing Dozen”) include New York, Boston, Washington, DC, Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, San Diego, Salt Lake, and Minneapolis). These cities are highly “walkable” with high density residential product served by retail and connected to employment by excellent transit service. They have received 50 percent of all private investment dollars in development projects in the country over the last three years. As an example in Boston’s Kenmore Square, at the confluence of 4 transit lines, a medical center and Boston University, private developers have announced four mixed use projects that are really “TODs” in the last four months and are funded with over 2 million square feet of office and retail, 800 residential units and 2200 parking spaces. Citywide, Boston has residential projects of over 3,000 units started or about to be—this Kenmore example is not an aberration. {…}