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February 2014

Walton to develop MARTA’s King Memorial project

11 Alive

ATLANTA — MARTA has picked a developer to build a mixed-use project at its King Memorial Station, potentially the first of several similar developments around its train stations.

Walton Communities plans 386 apartments and 13,000-square feet of retail on about four acres next to King Memorial on Decatur Street, near Georgia State University, Oakland Cemetery and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic site.

The property is a parking lot that was being leased to Grady Memorial Hospital. Walton Communities would enter a ground lease with MARTA. The developer would take the next year to obtain financing and probably start work on the initial design, said Amanda Rhein, MARTA’s senior director of transit oriented development.

If the King Memorial project is successful, it could help spur more investment along the Decatur Street corridor east of Georgia State.

The university is already a catalyst for real estate development in the area. A few years ago, Perennial Properties wrapped up construction on the Pencil Factory flats and shops, also near Georgia State and the King Memorial Station. {….}

Atlanta Business Chronicle

Business community highlights economic development hopes for Assembly panel

Andrew George | NJ Biz

In testimony before the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee Thursday, members of the state’s business community across various sectors offered their takes on the state of economic development in New Jersey and highlighted potential areas of growth.

 

Invited guests touched on issues such as incentives, transit-oriented development and infrastructure investment.

It was the panel’s first meeting since Assemblyman Gordon Johnson (D-Teaneck) was appointed chair last week.

On the issue of the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013, New Jersey Business & Industry Association vice president David Brogan said that while the new incentives will certainly help the state stay competitive, this is not the time to stand down.

Brogan noted that especially with the aggressive business-friendly approach Gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken in New York, New Jersey must keep up with its neighbor through added tax reforms, incentives and policy changes. For starters, a “cleanup bill” to address some of the remaining issues in the Economic Opportunity Act should be worked on, Brogan said.

Michael Egenton, senior vice president of government relations for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce, said that it is because of the Economic Opportunity Act that “New Jersey is more competitive with our surrounding states.” But Egenton agreed with Brogan that New York should be a concern given all that it is currently offering in tax exemptions and incentives. {….}

Santa Monica’s Former Mayors Sound Off on Bergamot Transit Village

Jason Islas | Santa Monica Lookout

While the City Council approved the Bergamot Transit Village Tuesday night, the conversation about the mixed-use, transit-oriented development is far from over. A group of residents have called for a referendum on the project and some have threatened legal action in order to stop Texas-based developer Hines from building the 767,000 square-foot residential and commercial project on the site of the abandoned Papermate factory.

Whether there is enough political will among residents to actually stop the project remains to be seen, but opinions about the project, which would be built walking distance from a new Expo light rail station, are as strong as they are varied. “We failed as a community” to negotiate a better project, said former mayor Michael Feinstein. Feinstein belongs to a camp that believes the project should have had more housing.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilmember Ted Winterer proposed a motion that would have kept the project the same size but would made 70 percent of the project housing instead of the current 55 percent.

“There should have been five votes for that motion,” said Feinstein. But it failed 5-to-2 partly because the change would have delayed the project for months at the expense of the developer.

And, the City risked losing the development agreement (DA). Since Hines could simply convert the current building to office space without a DA, the City would lose out on housing and the attendant tens of millions of dollars in community benefits proposed in the current DA.“Had Ted’s motion been a negotiating point earlier in the (seven-year-long planning) process,” said Feinstein, it could have been an option. {….}

Planning board candidates unveil their visions for North Attleboro’s future

Amy DeMelia | Sun Chronicle

The three candidates for a seat on the planning board offered their visions for the town’s future in a debate Monday night.

During the debate hosted by North Attleboro Community Television, candidates Julie Boyce, Alex Lovejoy and Gregory Walsh agreed on issues more often than not. The three candidates for the seat will be narrowed to two during the Feb. 11 preliminary election.

Candidates were told they had been given a magic wand to make any change to North Attleboro they wished.

Walsh said he would like to see a transit-oriented development on one of the “stagnant properties on Route 1,” complete with a parking lot and a bus station, as well as mixed use development.

Lovejoy agreed, saying the development should have a combination of commercial space and residential housing that is deemed affordable for young adults. He also added a ballfield to boost the town’s available recreational space.

Boyce said being elected to the planning board would not be about what she wants, but what residents want for the town’s future.

Asked how they would improve the planning board, each offered different answers.

Boyce focused on the needs of the residents who attend public meetings.

“When people do go to meetings, when it comes to the public, I would definitely be treating them with courtesy and respect and I’d be willing and open to listening to what they have to say,” she said.

Walsh focused on his degree in construction management and work experience as a project manager and estimator.

“A lot of aspects of construction management really blend well with what the planning board does. I kind of feel bringing youth into the picture will mean you’re going to look at things a lot differently than an older person would,” he said.

Lovejoy focused what he learned through his work and internship experience with the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, state Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

“I think the board is great as it is, and I myself in terms of improving it would be tough to do. I want to teach what I have learned in my variety of internships and career, sharing my knowledge. At the same time, I want to learn from them what they have learned over past years so we can have a strong team.”

Polls are open from noon to 8 p.m. on Feb. 11. The top two candidates will go on to vie for a single planning board seat at the April 1 town election.

New Zoning Looks to Revamp Boston’s Largest Industry Hub

Nate Boroyan | City News

The Boston Redevelopment Authority and the MBTA have been working together to create a hotbed industrial and manufacturing zone within the City, at the crossroads of four distinct neighborhoods.

The Newmarket Industrial-Commercial Neighborhood District, a chunk of land including Dorchester, South Boston, the South End, and Roxbury, thanks to a BRA rezoning project, is now a distinct development parcel. With more than 700 companies specializing in “food processing, distribution and other light manufacturing industries,” Newmarket is an employment hub.

“Boston’s industrial and manufacturing sectors account for more than 54,000 jobs, and new zoning for Newmarket will keep good jobs in the City of Boston,” Mayor Walsh said. “This neighborhood is at the center of our city’s cutting-edge industrial economy and with this new zoning, we’re confident its evolution will continue.”

Zoning Article 90 makes Newmarket its own unique district, with clearly defined boundaries. Previous zoning boundaries for the district were established based about 50 years ago, to reflect the economy of the 1960s. {….}

Image via the Boston Redevelopment Authority

 

Lakeview Developer First to Use TOD Ordinance to Reduce Parking – Chicago

Steven Vance | CHI.STREETSBLOG.org

New rental housing planned next to the Paulina Brown Line station in West Lakeview at Lincoln Avenue and Roscoe Street is the first known development to take advantage of the transit-oriented development ordinance passed in 2013 that reduces parking minimums for buildings near transit stations.

Centrum Partners is proposing a four- to seven-story building abutting the ‘L’ station, with 31 to 48 apartments and nine parking spaces within the building. Also proposed is a 6,000 first floor retail space.

Centrum is the same company looking to build the recently proposed car-oriented Walgreens in Albany Park, but it’s Walgreens that’s insisting on the unwalkable corner parking lot.

Without the TOD ordinance, Chicago zoning code would have required one parking space per unit at the Paulina development — three to five times more than what Centrum will have to build. That means the developer can devote more space to housing people, not cars. And it will also help keep traffic from increasing in an already walkable, bikeable, and transit-friendly neighborhood that has a good amount of retail and a major grocery store.

The ordinance allows residential developments within 600 feet of transit stations to build half as much parking as would otherwise be required — 18 to 27 spaces in this case. Centrum needs an “administrative adjustment” to get down to nine spaces. Centrum has asked 47th Ward Alderman Pawar for an 85 percent parking reduction, as well as an upzoning to allow for 48 housing units.

Pawar, who has an atypically transparent community involvement process for zoning changes, told DNAinfo that “a one or two-story building would be ‘inappropriate’.” He also pointed out that building few parking spaces for so many units is novel, but he appears open to it. “We’re seeing a lot of people moving near transit so that they don’t have to own a car,” he told DNAinfo. “It’s hard to wrap your head around it when there are already parking problems in the area.”

Paul Sajovec, chief of staff in the 32nd Ward, which currently contains the property (under the 2015 ward map, this will change), said that their office has been pushing for mixed-use and higher density development. “We’ve received interest from developers who proposed stores with one floor and 16 parking spaces, to attract franchises like 7-11, a design we don’t want for this location.” He said that the developers had the right to build that way, but the ward office made such a stink about it that builders withdrew the car-oriented proposals. {….}

The proposed apartment building overlooks the Paulina Brown Line station, and would increase density in a walkable neighborhood.
The proposed apartment building overlooks the Paulina Brown Line station, and would increase density in a walkable neighborhood. Rendering: Centrum Partners & Hirsch Associates

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