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August 2014

All Aboard Ohio tallies $5.5 billion in transit-oriented development in Cleveland

Progressive Railroading

More than $5.5 billion worth of real estate investment has been or is being made within 2,000 feet of transit-rail or bus rapid-transit stations in greater Cleveland over the past two years, according to the passenger-rail advocacy group All Aboard Ohio.

Some of the investments — mostly by the private sector — were attracted or influenced in design by the presence of a nearby station, according to a recent inventory of real estate development projects measured by All Aboard Ohio, officials from the nonprofit organization said in a press release.

An example of one such transit-oriented development is the proposed $110 million Intesa mixed-use development slated to begin construction this year near the new Little Italy-Mayfield Red Line train station. Read more

Why San Francisco, New York and DC may be more affordable than you thought

Kaid Benfield | Switchboard

This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.Highly enlightening new data from the New York City-based Citizens Budget Commission demonstrate the immense importance of walkability and transit in shaping how affordable large US cities are for a range of household types.  When typical housing and transportation costs are considered together and measured against incomes, cities generally thought to be relatively unaffordable because of high rents – such as San Francisco and New York – actually turn out to be more affordable than sprawling cities because of the high cost of driving in spread-out locations.

For example, San Francisco, Washington, DC and New York City have relatively high housing costs, all ranking in the top seven of 22 large US cities studied by the CBC.  But all also rank among the lowest-cost cities for transportation, because of their relative urban density, facilitating walking, and their extensive and heavily used mass transit networks.

 

The authors explain:

 

“Because low transportation costs help balance the relatively higher price of housing in New York City, it ranks ninth lowest among the 22 cities in combined housing and transportation costs. Location costs total $20,452 in New York City compared to the lowest costs in Philadelphia ($19,283) and the highest costs in San Jose ($29,337).

Read more

Haves, have-nots in New York divided by apartment poor doors

Associated Press | The Daily Times

On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.
On Aug. 5, Jean Green Dorsey walks outside the building on New York City’s Upper West Side where she has lived since 1972. Dorsey has a rent stabilized unit in a building that also houses market rate residents. As a rent stabilized tenant, Dorsey is not allowed to use the new gym that market rate residents use for free, even if she paid for the privilege.

One new Manhattan skyscraper will greet residents of pricey condos with a lobby in front, while renters of affordable apartments that got the developer government incentives must use a separate side entrance — a so-called poor door.

In another apartment house, rent-regulated residents can’t even pay to use a new gym that’s free to their market-rate neighbors. Other buildings have added playrooms and roof decks off-limits to rent-stabilized tenants.

New York is a city where the rich and relatively poor have long lived side by side, with who pays what often a closely held, widely varying secret. But a recent spate of buildings with separate amenities for the haves and have-nots is hurling that question out in the open, provoking an uncomfortable debate over equality, economics and the tightness of the social fabric.

“Nobody treats me like a second-class citizen in my own home,” says Jean Green Dorsey, who filed a complaint with the city Human Rights Commission this spring over her Manhattan building’s fitness center. She and fellow rent-stabilized tenants aren’t allowed to enter it despite a willingness to pay a fee; market-rate renters use it gratis.

Motivated by business

Developers say they’re motivated by business, not bias, and reserving some prime features for higher-paying residents is the price of having affordable housing in hot neighborhoods.

But officials are broaching proposals to force more inclusiveness, troubled by seeing landlords use affordable-housing tax and zoning breaks to create what critics view as a caste system.

In a city where Mayor Bill de Blasio was elected last year on pledges to increase affordable housing and shrink income inequality, an outcry erupted after his housing department signed off last month on the affordable bona fides of the Manhattan poor door building; the project was approved and started construction before de Blasio took office. Its creator, Extell Development Co., declined to comment. Read more

How Honolulu’s rail system could change the Ala Moana area

Bill Cresenzo | Pacific Business News

This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.
This rendering shows how the transit oriented development plan for the Ala Moana area in Honolulu would make Kapiolani Boulevard more walkable.

The area around Ala Moana Center has a lot going for it, according to Nate Cherry, a California architect who has created a new vision for the neighborhood through a new Transit Oriented Development plan for Honolulu’s rail system that will be presented to the public next week.

The City and County of Honolulu hired Cherry, vice president of the global architectural firm RTKL, to craft a the plan for the Ala Moana neighborhood in anticipation of the completion of the $5.16 billion Honolulu rail project.

Nestled between downtown and Waikiki, the neighborhood has Ala Moana Park, Ala Moana Center and the Hawaii Convention Center.

It also has Kapiolani Boulevard, which Cherry called Honolulu’s “grand boulevard.”

What it lacks, though, is walkability and smaller, outside gathering places, Cherry said.

Kapiolani Boulevard acts as a corridor between the airport and downtown and Waikiki, but Cherry imagines a neighborhood where “locals can really enjoy themselves along the sidewalks,” Cherry said.

That could happen in the coming years, as the rail projects moves forward, Cherry said. Ala Moana will be the last stop on the 20-mile route from Kapolei, with the station located on Kona Street between the mall and Kapiolani Boulevard. Read more

Gov. Cuomo puts $190M on the table for apartment builders

Real Estate Weekly

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) Bicyclists make their way through Salt Lake City traffic. Officials are pushing to promote more walking and biking as the Wasatch Front population is predicted to double in coming decades.Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced $190 million for both building and preserving affordable housing, available by application to groups with shovel-ready projects.

“Everyone deserves a safe, affordable place to live, and this funding will help get more New Yorkers into a place to call home,” Governor Cuomo said. “These funds will not only get housing projects off the ground, but are also an important step to creating stable, healthy communities. We will continue working with local partners and organizations to support affordable housing alternatives.”

The funding, available through Homes and Community Renewal, makes resources from a variety of programs available to eligible organizations.

Applicants with shovel-ready projects that support state housing goals of revitalization and economic development, mixed-income and mixed-use development, workforce housing, and affordable housing preservation may apply for an Early Award and receive an accelerated application review.

Interested applicants are encouraged to complete the Homes and Community Renewal’s Unified Funding Application, a single-source, streamlined process to apply for several funding streams for affordable, multifamily developments. Read more

3 Ways To Ensure California’s Prosperity Emerge From CA Economic Summit’s Capitol Day

Justin Ewers | Fox & Hounds

Three big themes emerged from Tuesday’s California Economic Summit Capitol Day, where more than 250 civic leaders representing the state’s diverse regional economies met with lawmakers and state officials to discuss how to build on the success of the Summit’s statewide prosperity strategy. This action plan, shaped by participants in last November’s Summit, outlines how regional and state leaders can work together to support the training of California workers for the 21st-century economy, make the promise of sustainable, affordable communities a reality, and champion long-term investments in the state’s transportation infrastructure, water systems, and unparalleled working landscapes.

It’s a big agenda, and by necessity. “Your goal—economic prosperity, environmental quality, and expanding opportunity for everyone—is right on target,” Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins told Summit leaders Tuesday. “I believe one of our most important jobs in the Capitol is finding the right balance, a balance where California has a strong business climate that generates jobs and revenue, where we’re also safe, healthy, and financially able to live, work, and raise our families. That’s really it. The solutions aren’t so easy.”

Even so, over the last two years the Summit’s unique partnership between California Forward and the California Stewardship Network has steadily advanced these priorities. “But never more so than this year,” as Summit Steering Committee co-chairs Paul Granillo of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Eloy Oakley of Long Beach City College put it in a letter to attendees. Read more

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