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The Returning City

Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Revival

by Dan Costello
with Robert Mendelsohn, Anne Canby, and Joseph Bender

edited by Lisa Schamess

FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION
NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Contents
Introduction

Case Examples
Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
Denver, Colorado
San Diego, California
San Francisco Bay Area

Smaller Studies
Arlington County, Virginia
Chicago, Illinois
Cleveland, Ohio
Evanston, Illinois
Gaithersburg, Maryland
Memphis, Tennessee
Saint Louis, Missouri
South Orange, New Jersey
Washington, D.C.
Resources

"Today, the work of thousands of preservationists, both professionals and volunteers, is guided by the vision of the future in which communities make historic places a vital part of daily life. In the course of doing so, they have made preservation one of the most effective tools for revitalizing communities of all kinds and sizes."

-- Richard Moe, President of the National Trust for Historic Preservation
Changing Places: Rebuilding Community in the Age of Sprawl (Henry Holt, 1997)

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Introduction

Go to the heart of any thriving community and you will discover the special place reserved there for historic resources and for the public transportation that enhances access to them. During the past two decades, Americans have rediscovered and embraced the historic elements of their cities and neighborhoods, and in recent years have shifted the focus of conservation efforts from individually important buildings and districts to the traditional forms, transportation choices, and street designs that make city centers and residential areas walkable and workable for businesses and residents. Cities and towns that have replenished and revitalized critical public transportation links in their downtowns and nearby neighborhoods are also extending their efforts to work with regional agencies and adjacent communities to capture the benefits of public transportation and preserve historic urban designs throughout metropolitan areas.

What factors have contributed to this urban revolution -- a revolution in the less-frequently used sense of the word, a "return to center"? And how can we -- preservationists, local elected and appointed officials, transportation professionals, planners, and others interested in the health and well being of communities -- make the most of our existing historic resources to improve transportation options and livability in the widest possible range of places, from small towns to suburban centers to major cities?

The study that resulted in this book was initiated in September 2001 to examine how decisions about public transportation, land development and redevelopment, and historic preservation have complemented one another in dozens of communities nationwide. The goal of the study was to demonstrate how transit and historic preservation act as compatible forces to revitalize communities. We set out to illuminate the many ways in which communities of all sizes have restored their urban or suburban cores and made full use of those centers' capacities to help metropolitan areas grow sustainably. We wanted to find out how historic preservation values are informing community planning for public transit, and how these values are being used in development decisions intended to promote transit use.

In the early stages of our study, we focused on classic rail terminal facilities that had been transformed into intermodal centers to facilitate movement in and among modes of transportation. An important initial question was whether these splendidly restored monuments to the golden age of rail passenger service were serving again as vital hubs in multimodal transportation systems, and whether their revitalization was contributing to economic development activities nearby. We drew on the work of the Great American Station Foundation (GASF), which has documented economic revitalization near historic train stations. In collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the GASF reported on its work in Rail Stations: At the Heart of America's Communities, showcasing numerous examples of station restorations that benefited from strong local leadership in the service of reviving passenger rail and revitalizing communities through historic preservation.

We found abundant evidence that historic rail stations have an important role in community planning for public transit. Reuse of these stations can greatly boost the economic development needed to sustain transit and attract new riders. Our findings led us to extend the scope of our inquiry into other important aspects of the relationships among transit, historic preservation, and economic development. Much could be learned, for example, from exploring the influence of public transportation on historic growth and development patterns. We were curious about the large stock of historic commercial buildings that typically exist in downtowns, particularly those once served by rail: the factories, warehouses, and large-scale retail stores of previous centuries. We wanted to understand how these buildings served and were served by the local transit systems, and the impact of these historic resources on the character of contemporary central business districts.

We also took a cue from several major cities, including Denver, San Diego, and St. Louis, and examined the historic neighborhoods immediately adjacent to downtowns. In the vicinity of San Francisco, Cleveland, and Chicago, among many other major cities, are suburban villages that flourished historically because of access to the urban core provided by public transit in its golden age. We found that we needed to examine how downtowns and these nearby communities integrated contemporary transportation developments that accommodate automobiles, especially parking facilities, in ways that would support rather than undermine community preservation and transit-oriented development. We also needed to examine the ways in which downtown revitalization and historic preservation are and should be integrated into regional approaches to improving transit and local economic development.

Federal leadership in the past two decades has stimulated the kind of transit-oriented revitalization this report showcases. In particular, two Federal programs -- the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project and the Transportation Enhancements provision contained in Federal surface transportation law -- have provided communities with funding and other support to restore their historic rail stations and renew their downtowns.

NEW GOLDEN AGE FOR RAIL STATIONS

Northeast Corridor Improvement Project

Substantially completed by the mid-1980s, the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project was authorized in the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976. The project endowed Amtrak with the capability to operate fast, reliable, comfortable, and economically sound rail passenger service in the Northeast Corridor from Washington to Boston, while restoring landmark passenger stations in this corridor to their former glory.

Many of these architectural masterpieces, including Daniel Burnham's Washington Union Station and H.H. Richardson's New London Union Station, are on the National Register of Historic Places. These and other stations, including Boston South Station and Newark Pennsylvania Station, have since become important hubs in regional and metropolitan public transportation systems and are contributing to nearby economic development.

Much of Boston South Station's magnificent curving facade and a portion of the original main waiting room were saved from the wrecking ball after being placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. The station is now the indispensable core of a multimodal transportation network that includes commuter rail, Amtrak, the Boston subway system, intercity bus service, and an underground bus rapid transit system -- the Transitway -- that provides public transit for the major redevelopment effort underway on the South Boston waterfront.

The Federal Transit Administration contributed $450 million to the cost of the two underground bus rapid transit stations adjacent to three key South Boston waterfront destinations: the World Trade Center, the new convention center, and the federal courthouse. The Transitway brings most of this 300-acre development within a quarter mile walk of modern, amenity-rich transit for workers, visitors, and residents.

This extension of center city Boston is among the most ambitious transit-oriented developments in the United States, thanks to dramatic limits on parking, a modernized legal framework for shoreline development, water transit facilities, pedestrian-friendly urban streets lined with retail and other active uses, and large, mixed-use developments balancing housing and office space.

The Northeast Corridor project's historic station restorations included elements that today are considered essential to good transit-oriented development. In addition to refurbishing the significant historic and architectural features of Baltimore Union Station, for example, the corridor project helped finance multimodal access to the station and developed a partnership with the city of Baltimore that produced additional site improvements, including new street lights, sidewalk repairs and reglazing of the station canopy. Commercial and retail space has been added or improved. Partnerships among units of government, transit agencies, and the private sector have enhanced the utility, community attachment, and multimodal dimension of these stations.

Image: Boston South Station's facade during renovation.

Transportation Enhancements

Congress made the rehabilitation of historic transportation facilities eligible for transportation enhancements funding in 1991 when the program was first created, thus recognizing the value of rail stations and depots to "enhance the community benefits of transportation investments."

Transportation enhancements have contributed many millions of federal dollars and stimulated an additional 34 percent from state, local, and private sources for restoration of hundreds of historic rail passenger stations. The federal transportation enhancements provision has also provided funds for improved pedestrian access, landscaping, public art, and nearby streetscape improvements.

Many rail passenger stations whose restoration was supported with enhancement funds are presently functioning as important community and regional intermodal transportation centers. Few are grander or more ambitious, or more focused on the transportation mission than the Los Angeles Union Station Gateway Transit Center. Enhancements funding accounted for $19.6 million of the project's $125 million price tag. Art, architecture, and landscaping help create a comfortable walking environment within this giant multimodal transportation facility that serves regional commuter rail, Amtrak, subway, buses, cars, vanpools, taxis, and pedestrians. The individual's perception of the time and effort spent in walking to and waiting for transit is modified at the transit gateway in ways that are reminiscent of the impact of the historic station's grandeur on rail travelers. Transportation planners see the gateway experience as a means of restoring the notion that downtown Los Angeles is a place for walking.

The expansion of multimodal travel concentrated at the Gateway Transit Center is contributing to economic development in the downtown's north end, where Union Station's 51 acres are being gradually developed by the Catellus Development Corporation, the real estate arm of the Santa Fe Railroad. Both the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Water District purchased sections of the property for their headquarters. Parts of the old Union Station remain undeveloped, and Catellus continues to weigh development opportunities for its station area land. Another developer of office space about a block from the gateway cited proximity to great transit and a great building as one of the drivers for his project.

THE CITY BEYOND THE STATION

Historic rail stations in American communities are once again becoming dynamic gathering places for city transportation services and engines for economic growth. The rebirth of these historic stations is only part of the much larger story of how transit, urban revitalization, and historic preservation are working in concert to bring back our city and town centers. To tell that larger story, we decided to look beyond station redevelopments to the surrounding downtowns, nearby neighborhoods, and transit-oriented suburbs that are served by rail systems and that, in turn, contribute to the economic vibrancy of successful cities.

Much is being written about economic development and community revitalization. Information abounds on efforts to bring back cities, improve transit, and craft new development to encourage transit use. Recognition is growing that historic preservation is a key contributor to community revitalization. Little has been written, however, about how transit, development to support it, community revitalization, and historic preservation inseparably serve common goals and reinforce one another's successes. Our case examples weave these themes together and also address them individually. We have relied on the published work of transit and development professionals, community revitalization advocates, and the principal proponents of the historic preservation-community revitalization nexus, as well as the observations of practitioners in the field.

Working from these sources, we can demonstrate that public transit strengthens community revitalization, especially in urban cores; and that an economically and socially resurgent urban core is key to successful public transit. Historic preservation contributes directly to transit success by contributing directly to urban development. A closely related thesis suggests that restoring the centripetal power of a city's downtown is a sustainable way for a metropolitan area to grow more wisely. Historic structures and historic development patterns contribute to the success of public transit and, along with transit, contribute to the urban renaissance.

In addition to recycling old and historic buildings and returning them to productive economic use, cities are reclaiming environmentally degraded industrial sites for reuse as agents of urban revitalization and contributors to redevelopment. The physical relationship of these reclaimed brownfields to public transit adds to their value. The Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations, in a collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency, produced an informative and useful study of urban land reclamation in 2001 entitled Redeveloping Brownfields with Federal Transportation Funds.

The more transit and adjacent development contribute to community revitalization, the greater the chance of success in achieving other goals, such as providing more travel choices, easing traffic congestion, lessening dependence on autos for virtually every trip, contributing to healthy air, providing affordable housing and the opportunity for wealth accumulation for working families, preserving open space and farm land, and improving the quality of life for Americans.

THE STUDY PROCESS

At the outset of the study, we organized a day-long symposium, attended by professionals in preservation, transportation, and development from both the public and private sectors. The group examined the characteristics of successful development adjacent to or in relation to public transit stations. Participants suggested places where historic resources were contributing to making the phenomenon work. A literature review was conducted after the symposium to discover written resources on the topic of historic preservation's role in transit-oriented revitalization.

Discussion at the symposium and subsequent readings suggested that successful redevelopment around transit stations could be measured by simultaneous contributions to many goals, including improved access and multiple travel choices for a mix of activities near transit, where the station and its surroundings make for a lively, attractive place where people can do much more than ride public transit. The fundamental measure of success remains an economic one: housing units are occupied, businesses are prospering, and more people are riding transit.

Vital Signs for Returning Cities

Early in the study the project team agreed that there were characteristics and vital signs of transit and transit-related development policies that set communities apart from one another and seem to be abundantly present in successful transit-oriented development. Separating these vital signs out for examination and comment does not suggest that these indicators exist in isolation of one another. To the contrary: The essential correlation among these elements in the real world of transit and transit-related development is our critical finding. Professionals and advocates working in transit, development, urban revitalization, and historic preservation have told us that to be successful they felt they "had to do everything" and "it all depended on everything working," affirming the paramount importance of incorporating all of these characteristics into planning, design, and construction.

ABOUT WALKING

Walking is successful public transit's significant other, just as it was at the turn of the last century when railroad interurbans and streetcars were the mobility choices of busy and expanding communities . Vincent Scully once noted that the reintroduction of trolleys into the urban fabric would have to be built on a pedestrian base," ... on the willingness of people to walk a little bit -- and to live a good deal longer."

The successful importation of the good walking streets of bygone downtowns and old neighborhoods into the transit villages of the 21st century reminds us that walking infrastructure still exists in the transit villages of the previous century. These were places with wide sidewalks and narrow streets lined with shops open to the sidewalk and displaying wares, where human contact was encouraged and welcomed. Merchants along these thoroughfares prospered because of foot traffic. Blocks were not long. The grid was complete and functioned as a travel connector.

The idea that people can be encouraged to walk much more than they do just by changing the look and feel of places is at the heart of the transit village concept . Transit-oriented development that does not facilitate and encourage walking is missing the opportunity to offer travel alternatives that people are going to embrace. Reviving the pedestrian experience in the vicinity of transit stops can strengthen transit's capacity to meet its goal of slowing the growth of vehicle miles traveled.

A study in 2000 by S.B. Friedman & Company of Chicago polled commuter rail passengers about their trips to and from stations. The study found that a rider's decision to walk is affected by a "pleasant walking atmosphere," defined as an interconnected network of streets with sidewalks and a continuous architectural fabric, with stores next to the station. Large parking lots and even parks can act as barriers between stations and surrounding neighborhoods.

HARMONY BETWEEN LAND USE AND TRANSPORTATION PLANNING

If the objectives of a transit system are to ease congestion, reduce auto-dependence, and improve air quality, then it stands to reason that development near transit should be as densely populated as the character of the place will permit, have mixed uses to encourage fewer automobile trips, and be as attractive as possible to potential patrons. Linked land use and transportation planning should also discourage exclusively auto-dependent land uses and excessive dispersal of commuter destinations that would work at cross purposes with transit investments.

Metropolitan planning organizations and regional councils of government are contributing to regionwide solutions. With their capacity to develop consensus and cooperation among local governments, regional agencies are uniquely equipped to promote supportive land use and zoning decisions on the part of local governments and to encourage better understanding of historic preservation values. For example, SANDAG, San Diego's regional planning agency, has unanimously adopted a regional transportation plan for 2030 that offers a blueprint for spending $42 billion on transit expansion, travel demand management measures, modest investments in freeway connections, and funding for small projects to strengthen links between transportation and land use.

Cities are also doing their part, implementing zoning and regulatory changes to encourage transit-supportive land use planning, promoting efforts to increase transit ridership, and supporting a regional commitment to public transit that supports continued economic growth.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Citizens and stakeholders must be a part of the many layers of public decisions that bolster community revitalization, transit, and transit-oriented development. Public support is necessary for success, and the public's sense of ownership will advance transit goals, facilitate agreement with difficult decisions such as zoning changes, and secure votes on critical public revenue decisions. Planning for redevelopment should elicit the participation of individual citizens as transit patrons and residents in compact, mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods; as well as citizens serving in community-based organizations who can provide solutions, help disseminate information, work to build consensus, and break down skepticism. To be successful, public involvement ought to be open, honest, early, and continuous, and its capacity to produce good transit and development solutions should be sought after.

Smart Communities: Curbing Sprawl at Its Core, published by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, describes how Bethel New Life, Inc. a church-affiliated community development corporation (CDC), helped organize opposition to the Chicago Transit Authority's planned closing of the Lake/Pulaski station and the rest of the Green Line in the early 1990s. The neighborhood of West Garfield Park had lost 60 percent of its population since the 1960s and saw the threatened loss of the station and Green Line service as an opportunity to reverse its fortunes.

Bethel New Life provided Chicago with an alternative to what the city considered the surrender of yet another city neighborhood to outward migration. As a result of citizen and CDC effort, and the foresight to organize support from other communities along the Green Line, West Garfield Park has a newly renovated transit station, the Green Line has been modernized, and plans are underway for a massive mobilization of private and public resources around a community revitalization vision that is at once intensely local and broadly regional.

GOVERNANCE THAT SUPPORTS TRANSIT INVESTMENT AND TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT

Federal, state, regional, and local political jurisdictions have become major players in the successful development of public transit systems whose increasing use is fostered by good transit-oriented design. This book contains a variety of examples of decisions by government agencies that contribute to transit success, including the judicious investment of public funds to promote transit use.

Governments make many decisions that affect transit's capacity to achieve its broad policy goals. The fundamental lesson is that transit agencies must continually identify government incentives and barriers wherever they exist. What units of government do and do not do are very often critical to transit success, most importantly as they influence a community's ability to foster transit-oriented development.

For example, New Jersey adjusted its building codes in 1998 for the rehabilitation of older buildings by eliminating certain high-cost requirements that were designed for new construction but discouraged restoration. In addition to removing much of the guesswork and need for variances from rehabilitation approvals, the new code made possible an incredible 40.6 percent increase in rehabilitation work in the state's sixteen largest cities during the first year of enactment. Applications for the federal historic preservation tax credit increased five-fold following the code's adoption.

In California, level-of-service standards in the vicinity of transit stations were adjusted to ease requirements for additional road capacity to accommodate anticipated increases in auto traffic near transit stations. Cities and counties can now exempt themselves from state-mandated levels-of-service requirements by promoting transit ridership with mixed-use developments.

Chicago is in the midst of a major revision of its zoning law, the largest overhaul of its kind in any U.S. city in 40 years, according to Governing magazine. A code that was hailed as a national model 50 years ago is no longer capable of guiding the growth and urban revitalization Chicago is experiencing. Across the country, codes have become an obstacle to reviving pedestrian life in downtowns and neighborhood shopping districts. Neighborhoods, including historic residential districts, want rules that require infill housing to respect the architecture and character of the neighborhood.

The list of government actions that can determine success or failure for transit-supportive development is virtually endless. It includes items that influence how downtowns and neighborhood commercial centers will be revitalized. Public policies that set rules for planning, transportation, zoning, the quality and location of public services and facilities, parking, the preservation of historic structures and neighborhoods, community funding priorities, and more can make or break a place's plans for alternate transportation modes and supportive development.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE COLLABORATION

Partnerships between governments and the private sector are evident in every case of successful community revitalization involving public transit. This collaboration is characterized variously by specific development projects, a local government or community revitalization strategy that promotes partnerships, and a myriad of practical arrangements that arise from unique community situations and opportunities, such as shared parking agreements. The older relationships between government and business, based on mistrust and an enforcement mentality that encouraged governments to micromanage private enterprise's involvement in communities, is giving way to mutually beneficial working relationships that create products neither government nor the private developer could produce alone. There are still rules, of course, and when they are applied consistently and fairly, developers can see active adherence to such rules as good business. The melding of public and private goods is seen as a progressive, pragmatic solution to the practical difficulty of getting things done.

ABOUT AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Transit shaped the development of older and historic urban neighborhoods and first-ring suburbs, and then disappeared. Metropolitan areas promoting returning transit systems can ill afford to ignore the potential for patrons living in these neighborhoods of character and quality.

Much of America's existing supply of affordable housing is found in older and historic neighborhoods, according to an analysis by noted land use and real estate expert Donovan Rypkema that appeared in the Spring 2003 issue of the National Trust's Forum Journal. These neighborhoods are home to 31 percent of homeowners with household income below $20,000, and to 31 percent of African American, 24 percent of Hispanic, and 29 percent of elderly homeowners. Over half of all owner-occupied housing units in older and historic neighborhoods have monthly housing costs of less than $500.

Much of the existing housing stock in older and historic neighborhoods is being destroyed. This is a national tragedy, especially when public resources are being pumped into building replicas in new communities of what is being torn down in the older and historic neighborhoods. In the closing three decades of the 20th century, 6.3 million units of year-round housing in older and historic neighborhoods were destroyed.

Housing experts estimate a need for 18 million additional housing units in the first decade of the 21st century .Three million of them can be found today -- vacant and decaying -- in the country's older and historic neighborhoods .Their restoration and reuse, as part of a community's comprehensive reestablishment of transit-oriented development, should be a top priority. Affordable housing and home ownership opportunities near public transit for moderate-income working families in mixed-use, mixed-income settings may well be the easiest of all the Smart Growth goals to achieve, and the one with the most benefits, especially for the wealth-building aspirations of working families overwhelmed today by both housing costs and transportation costs occasioned by auto dependence.

Donovan Rypkema has observed that the first step policy makers can take is to ban the prevailing attitude that "We have to destroy this neighborhood in order to save it," and the second is to accept the validity of the notion that it is very hard to build new and rent or sell inexpensively.

The success stories in downtown revitalization are in the cities and towns that maintained and reinvested in their historic buildings and recognized their character, quality, and ultimate desirability. In these places, historic preservation and restoration of public transit worked hand in hand to generate urban revitalization .The next logical step is to transfer the lessons and successes to the older and historic adjacent neighborhoods and the first-ring suburbs, where transit-oriented development first demonstrated its many benefits during the 20th century.

The partnership approach extends well beyond the critical pooling of resources by private developers and the public sector -- transit agencies and local government. Early involvement of citizens who know their neighborhoods and have earned the right to represent their views and interests -- such as Main Street groups, citizens associations, and community development corporations -- are helpful additions to the leadership of locally elected officials.

FLEXIBLE FINANCING

Like public-private collaboration, financing arrangement issues for transit-oriented developments often involve multiple sources of funds both public and private. Creative financing is a function of the strength of the public-private partnership and is frequently dependent upon the active participation of units of government.

Particularly where the revitalization of existing neighborhoods has residential, commercial, and public improvement components, as most do, and where revitalization is transit-oriented development on a neighborhood scale, the challenges to needed financing can be large and complex. The interdependence of vital signs involving the assembly of financing sources, community involvement, governmental commitments, planning, and public-private partnerships is especially evident, as is the potential for great gains for the many goals of public transit.

The mix of financing instruments -- mortgages, subordinated debt, grants, tax abatements and credits, and patient equity investments -- can be unique and rely on more partners bringing more financing sources than in the usual development project. More partners with more resources and more insights complicate and strengthen the financing of transit-oriented development, as does the involvement of a large number of rehabilitations of existing, privately owned buildings.

The potential of the federal New Markets Tax Credits, designed to stimulate business development in low and moderate income communities, is worth exploring. The 37 percent tax credit, offered over seven years for individuals and companies who invest in commercial projects, is expected to generate $15 billion in new capital by 2012.

Although New Markets gives no special preference to small and neighborhood businesses in commercial districts of older and historic areas, the program's emphasis on low- and moderate-income communities appears tailor-made for the commercial blocks of older, urban, and first-ring neighborhoods. Housing rental units would be eligible for New Markets as long as they are part of a mixed-use development and generate less than 80 percent of the building's overall revenue.

Kennedy Smith, director of the National Main Street Center, itself heavily involved in promoting the potential of New Markets to generate capital for neighborhood-serving business districts, says: "Every dollar of New Markets Tax Credits awarded to investors supporting main street business development not only strengthens our historic commercial districts; it also prevents a dollar of the tax credits from being used to support suburban-style business development or to demolish historic main street buildings."

PRAGMATIC, FORWARD-LOOKING APPROACHES TO PARKING

Parking needs can quickly become the tail wagging the dog when community revitalization strategies are on the table. Meeting a community's immediate parking needs while working to curb and even reduce those needs over time calls for sensitivity to other vital signs such as community awareness and involvement, governance, and economic factors. Transit systems have stages of development and maturity and are at specific stages of maturity in different parts of their own systems. Park-and-ride operations have a role to play in newer transit systems or at outlying stations, as do parking concessions for residents and commercial operations that address both transit use and residual auto dependence. Bolder parking policies are called for in places where the transit system is fully developed and quite capable of succeeding while discouraging driving.

Parking issues must be addressed pragmatically. Citizen reaction to density produced by commercial and residential developments is almost always about auto congestion and parking availability. Policy makers need to be sympathetic and skilled in navigating citizen concerns, and at the same time should advocate for parking schemes that rely on -- rather than conflict with -- the availability of transit and other services within a pleasant walking environment.

No aspect of transit-supportive development is more parochial than parking and less susceptible to generalized solutions, but it is important to understand that communities such as Gaithersburg, Maryland; Denver, Colorado; and South Orange, New Jersey are moving ahead to devise parking strategies based on the availability of transit within a good walking environment for many daily needs that reduces auto dependence and therefore demand for suburban-style parking arrangements.

Communities are focusing on the true costs of parking and how it adversely affects the costs of affordable housing. Excessive parking reduces the opportunity for transit and transit-oriented development to meet goals for reducing auto dependence. Transportation demand management; incentives for transit use, including employer-provided transit passes; an equalization of federal tax benefits provided for parking and transit; and the full range of trip-reduction capacities inherent in transit access and transit supportive development all can help communities committed to travel choices to break away from suburban-style parking approaches, when conditions warrant.

Measures of Success

The many partners in a successful transit-oriented revitalization need to measure their success separately as they remain mindful of the mutual benefits of their joint efforts. Transit agencies must demonstrate increased ridership. Metropolitan and air quality officials need to show a decline in the growth of vehicle miles traveled. Local governments and citizen groups often want clear signs that affordable housing has been preserved and real estate values maintained or increased. Mayors want to see rising sales tax revenue. Downtown civic groups and cities want to see the growth of jobs and activities downtown. Residents of older neighborhoods want to maintain or enhance home ownership and the quality of life they have come to expect where they live.

Less obvious but no less important are the qualitative measures of a successful revitalization involving historic preservation and transit. Among the many possibilities, we noted the following:

• Avid and continued interest among a variety of private and public entities in development opportunities for parcels large and small within the revitalization area; especially during an economic downturn;
• Sufficient maturity of a redevelopment area or a history of development cycles in an area that indicates long-term success;
• Presence of transportation choices that work together to increase transit use and promote community reinvestment;
• Intact historic resources with promising redevelopment and adaptive reuse opportunities, as well as patterns of settlement and travel that support and increase transit use and attract historic preservation;
• Financial success on the part of both the transit systems and the developers of property served by those systems; and
• Enthusiastic community acceptance of the blending of transit and redevelopment of historic places.

WHEN IS TOD REALLY TOD?

The study team understood that our use of the term transit-oriented development (TOD) would raise certain expectations and perhaps impose limitations on the study. TOD is a much-hyped concept, and with the hype has come a predictable amount of misinformation and misrepresentation within the policy and development worlds. Even the most knowledgeable proponents of TOD also tend to emphasize the development aspect of the concept. With some notable exceptions, including Michael Bernick's and Robert Cervero's Transit Villages in the 21st Century, much of the existing literature on TOD is about new places created along transit corridors, with infrequent mention of the fact that many of the core concepts of TOD are derived from practices that were commonplace in years gone by.

The highly visible "neo-traditional" success stories have led to a notion of TOD as a new idea. In fact, new TOD developments promote transit use through time-honored strategies to create density and mixed uses, income diversity, and pedestrian-supportive design. Such characteristics are already present -- though often in need of rehabilitation and support -- in the older communities that thrived before the full flowering of our present highway-intensive way of life. Yet the resurgence of the many intact older communities that inspired the New Urbanism is less well known. We set out to shed light on this glaring gap in the story of America's great places.

Development that is merely adjacent to transit and lacks the characteristics necessary to support transit is unlikely to function very effectively as a generator of transit use. The transit villages that came of age in the late 19th century exhibited all the characteristics modern TOD proponents describe as ideal for today, including a coherent transportation pattern that worked within each transit village at the pedestrian scale and multiplied efficiently throughout corridors and regions, connecting neighborhoods and suburban towns to the urban core via public transportation. Transit shaped the development of many of these places and then disappeared. Some are being revitalized, with or without a strong transit component. Others are ripe to be recycled and reintegrated into the larger, once-vibrant, transit-connected metropolis of old. And still others just wait -- great wastes of urban resources whose return could contribute again to planned and well-managed metropolitan growth.

Today's transit-oriented development must take its cue from these historically efficient places, using them as backbones for redevelopment and compatible infill development. Our planning for transit-oriented developments must extend beyond station area development and into the metropolitan arena. The most successful TOD projects acknowledge and enhance a downtown's or neighborhood's contribution to public transit service regionwide. Just as a transit system that provides travel options is absolutely essential to metropolitan revitalization, a dynamic historic preservation component that offers many development opportunities is a most deliberate element in revitalization of the core, nearby neighborhoods, and outlying town centers still connected to the core.

THE RESURGENT CITY

Most cities have an active historic preservation component to their revitalization activities, of which public transit is also an integral part. As Donovan Rypkema has said, "I have a hard time separating downtown revitalization and historic preservation, for one simple reason: I cannot identify a single sustained success story in downtown revitalization in a city of any size anywhere in the country where historic preservation was not a key element in the process."

In selecting our case examples, we sought a cross-section of approaches to the challenge of inviting growth and preserving historic resources in and near downtowns, with a strong transit component. We focused slightly more attention on four cities and regions (coincidentally, all of them in Western states): Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas; Denver, Colorado; San Diego, California; and the San Francisco Bay Area. These regions each embody different aspects of the challenges and opportunities facing all thirteen of our study areas. In Denver, and San Diego, for example, adaptive reuse of individual buildings or clusters of buildings in the central business district is a practice of long standing that has led to more ambitious regional approaches to revitalization. Yet the connections among historic preservation, land use planning, and transit are more explicit in Denver than in San Diego, even though the opportunities are similar. In Dallas and Fort Worth, the private sector is discovering the benefits of anchoring residential and commercial development in historic areas that are newly served by state-of-the-art transit systems. In the Bay Area, the regional transit authority is working with several communities to correct flaws in the original siting of facilities and to recreate public space and Main Street-style thoroughfares in suburban centers.

Our smaller case studies highlight more discrete examples of successful transit-oriented development that incorporates historic preservation. For example, St. Louis and Cleveland have invested in rehabilitating historic transit lines or hubs at the same time that they invested in the historic centers and neighborhoods served by those facilities. Other communities -- such as Arlington, Virginia -- took advantage of proposed new transit facilities to restore and strengthen transit-oriented development where its legacy already existed. Major cities such as Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Illinois, planned station area redevelopment around historic resources along transit rail routes. Thus preservation becomes not only an activity to rescue existing historic resources in the urban core but also to restore the traditional forms that serve walking and transit in newer, more recently settled suburban centers and neighborhoods.

Even in auto-dependent regions of the country, such as the Sunbelt, governments and private developers are recognizing the wisdom of traditional development and historic resources as centerpieces for revitalization and transit investment. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), with jurisdiction over a 16-county area that includes Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton, believes that the historic transit-supportive form of major downtowns can and should be replicated throughout the region. The historic farming community of Plano, which has grown practically overnight into an affluent, burgeoning city in its own right, is currently testing NCTCOG's assumptions with neotraditional planning, mixed-use development, and preservation of its small historic downtown as an integral part of its light rail transit investment.

The communities profiled in this book all show a conscious, citywide or regional commitment to build on preservation and adaptive reuse of historic resources as vital signs. Transit officials, city and regional planners, and private developers in these communities are aware that to be successful they had to "do it all:" promote preservation while encouraging redevelopment, encourage community input and acceptance while making sure the process didn't bog down or show insufficient progress, expand and diversify travel choices without putting the transportation cart before the land use horse; ascertain financial viability for transit and development projects while maintaining adequate public involvement and making decisions for the public good. The complex trade-offs and sophisticated partnerships that TOD calls for cannot take place without a concerted, ongoing commitment to an overall vision and redevelopment program.

Cities and downtown organizations are reaching beyond the immediate central business district to capture and enhance the revitalization benefits of nearby older neighborhoods. These neighborhoods often act as "whole-cloth" transit-oriented developments, demonstrating that transit-supportive density and residential desirability are not mutually exclusive, that good walking streets and easy access to transit are neighborhood characteristics as sought-after by homebuyers as good schools and other amenities; and that the irreplaceable historic character of these close-in neighborhoods, combined with their capacity to provide housing and homes for working families, makes them indispensable elements of any strategy to boost jobs and services downtown.

Cultural and historic resources make an essential contribution to urban and community revitalization, and to transit wherever it is part of the revitalization effort. The future of a downtown rests to a great degree on a willingness to invest in its past. In many cities across America, a commitment to a revitalized future rooted in historic preservation is being pursued side by side with the revitalization of public transit. They support one another, and together they support a strengthened core as the foundation of a successful regional transit system.

"The bottom line: Today's transit-oriented planners increasingly acknowledge the wisdom of history, that what worked for the train spotters of yesterday holds the best promise of working for future rail riders.

And in linking transit to users, these planners are connecting to the American past of sensible town planning -- and putting increasing weight on the oldest of transportation vehicles: the human foot."
CHRISTINE KREYLING,
WRITING IN PLANNING JANUARY, 2001

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Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas

Sprawling Sunbelt Cities Adopt TOD

TRAVEL CHOICE COMES TO NORTH TEXAS

The Metroplex is typical of many Southwestern regions: big and rapidly growing bigger; with a strong, diverse economy; and dependent on an auto-oriented transportation system that feeds the spread of development ever outward. In recent years, the Metroplex has committed itself to regional public transit and travel choice, as necessary for continued economic prosperity. The North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG), a voluntary association of local governments that is the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for the Metroplex, has devised its long-term transportation plan to guide the expenditure of federal, state, and local funds for transportation improvements in ways that will encourage more economical land use and sustainable development.

Mobility 2025: The Metropolitan Development Plan, developed by NCTCOG's Regional Transportation Council, defines four sustainable development categories: strategic urban development, integrated land-use planning/urban design, transit-oriented development, and access management. The plan includes financial support for local initiatives to revitalize town centers, create mixed-use growth centers, and promote transit- and pedestrian-oriented developments as well as infill and brownfield reclamation. The plan will help local government complement rail investments with coordinated investments in park-and-ride, bicycle, and pedestrian facilities, and other means of promoting access to public transit.

The Metroplex faces challenges to maintaining these efforts. Although downtown revitalization has taken hold in both major cities, developers often still prefer to build out where land is plentiful and inexpensive. Many residents of the Metroplex still seem willing to withstand air quality problems, traffic congestion, and long commutes in order to indulge a strong preference for driving alone.

Both Dallas and Fort Worth have stunning historic architecture in their downtowns and nearby cultural districts, including National Historic Landmarks and National Register-listed resources, from the Fort Worth Stockyards and commercial area to Dallas's 277-acre Fair Park Cultural District, where Art Deco museum and exhibit buildings constructed for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition have been reused for contemporary art and science museums.

The older neighborhoods of Dallas and Fort Worth are eclectic treasure troves of vernacular residential architecture, including late Victorian gingerbread houses and Prairie-style houses with generous front porches, and numerous duplex townhouses from the 1920s through the 1950s that increase population density without affecting the quiet residential character of tree-lined streets near downtown.

Since the early 1980s, a small but muscular cadre of private entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and city residents in both Dallas and Fort Worth have established a welcoming culture for historic preservation and adaptive reuse in and near downtown, demonstrating to the cities and the public at large the economic and community benefits of preserving the unique character and sense of place of neighborhoods and commercial centers. The region's plans for growth include revitalization of Dallas and Fort Worth, cities where the historic structures are concentrated, where historic preservation has value, and where the impulse for transportation choice is strongest. Multiple goals are being pursued side by side, and the unfolding of it all is worth a good look.

Image: Historic buildings enliven the streetscape along the Dallas Transitway Mall.

Dallas

The phenomenon of central business district revitalization advancing hand in hand with the growth of the regional rail transit system is evident in Dallas and reinforces the essential interdependence of these phenomena. Downtown Dallas is determined to recover its former preeminent position as the region's center of employment, services, entertainment, and amenities, and to reestablish the downtown's interaction with its historic urban neighborhoods and first-ring suburbs.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Dallas began as a humble trading post on 614 acres at the fork of the Trinity River. Although for decades it was scoffed at as a "one-horse town," Dallas experienced a population explosion with the coming of the Texas and Pacific Railroad in 1872. Thereafter, it quickly developed as a premier center of banking and commerce and an international gateway for the oil and livestock trades, as well as a center for retail, new technologies of the day such as the telegraph, and culture.

When a headquarters for the Magnolia Petroleum Company was built in the 1920s, it was the tallest building in Texas, and remained so for two decades. Dallasites routinely bragged that it was the biggest building south of Washington, D.C. Its striking rooftop oil derrick holding a huge neon red Pegasus -- now rebuilt and again lighting the evening sky -- continues to serve as an icon of the city's past.

Brash, business-savvy, and family-friendly Dallas has long been one of the country's choice places to live. Its unique blend of bright city lights and downhome Texas culture complement an uncanny ability to recover economically from setbacks that might send other cities reeling, from the S&L crisis of the 1980s to the more recent national plummet of the high-tech sector. Banking, fashion, film, and innovative retail and restaurant concepts such as the Container Store and Chili's chain of restaurants have kept Dallas's economic base secure.

The very strengths of this booming Texas city have presented challenges to its development of a mature identity and sense of its own history. Dallas began to define this identity for itself earlier in the century when it adopted the central elements of the Kessler Plan, an early growth management model for the city created in 1911. Initially intended to address the periodic and problematic flooding of the Trinity River, the Kessler plan also created marvelous green space in central Dallas and developed a straightforward grid for downtown.

But the deeply rooted regard for private property and business development rights, local zoning that strongly promoted single-use development, and abundant land at the city's fringes have made big exurban development irresistible in Big D. In the inner city, teardowns and demolitions were the order of the day during much of the 1960s and 1970s in the name of progress, defined by increased auto access to and from downtown via North Central Expressway and other highways and arterials. In and around downtown, many historic areas were simply bypassed and important contributing buildings were boarded up or underused, resulting in at least partial "mothballing" of some of Dallas's finest historic resources.

The sense that preservation of historic structures was vital to the city's well being grew in Dallas during the 1970s and 1980s, as in most American cities, in response to the loss or neglect of important landmarks. The first historic preservation ordinance was adopted in 1973, establishing a landmarks commission and the Swiss Avenue Historic District. The West End Historic District in downtown was created shortly thereafter. The demolition of the elegant Art Deco Dr. Pepper headquarters on Mockingbird Lane in 1996, just days after it was designated a local landmark -- and the near-loss of its locally beloved clock tower, showing the traditional Dr. Pepper break times of 10, 2, and 4 -- stimulated interest in a stronger historic preservation ordinance for the City of Dallas. Today the tower still stands in front of a sensitively designed Kroger's grocery store on the old Dr. Pepper site, and across the street from Mockingbird Station, a mixed-use transit station redevelopment.

In 1996 Councilwoman Veletta Forsythe Lill convened a coalition of preservationists, developers, and other citizens to develop a new ordinance that strengthened protections for historic places, revised the rules for historic designations, and established a preservation fund. The City Council unanimously passed the ordinance in January 2000. The combination of a stronger preservation ordinance, city property tax abatements, and federal historic preservation tax credits has stimulated greater interest among private developers in restoration and adaptive reuse of many downtown Dallas landmarks. A former department store was developed into residences and an urban campus for six different colleges. The beautiful Majestic Theatre and many other significant historic structures have been renovated and adaptively reused in the downtown Dallas revitalization campaign. The Central Dallas Association, with over 150 member companies, promotes the interests of downtown and works closely with city government, DART, and other public-private partners on behalf of economic growth and revitalization.

Image: Southside on Lamar transforms the historic Sears Catalog Center into a major mixed-use, mixed-income transit oriented development.

Former Mayor Ron Kirk wrote last year about the mix of motivations that are promoting historic preservation in Dallas. In addition to the obvious contributions to economic development prompted by attractive tax incentives, there is also a growing realization in Dallas that "the places of our past add to the fabric of our community. The past is becoming a part of our future." Kirk and others acknowledge the work of an extensive public-private partnership that includes DART, city government, the business community, creative developers, dedicated homeowners in the historic districts, and private organizations such as Preservation Dallas and the Friends of Fair Park.

TRANSPORTATION

Dallas area voters rejected the idea of an area-wide transit system for Dallas and Fort Worth in the late 1970s, largely because the proposal was too expensive, premature, and not particularly well thought out. But by 1983 Dallas voters and those from thirteen other cities in the area had approved a one-cent sales tax dedicated to the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) for public transit. Citizens also exercised patience and understanding during the 13 years it took to plan, build, and open the 20-mile light rail starter system.

The North Central (12.3 miles) and Northeast (11.2 miles) corridor extensions opened in 2002, under budget and six months ahead of schedule. The expansion to North Dallas, Richardson, Garland, and Plano underscores the authentic regional nature of the DART rail system. The opening of the stations brings the DART system to 44 miles and 34 stations, completing one of the largest rail expansion projects in North America.

An article in the May 2001 issue of Urban Land noted that public transit in Dallas has become ever more important as traffic conditions and air quality have grown steadily worse. Traffic delays in Dallas increased by 37 percent between 1995 and 1999. Population in the region grew by 10 percent while vehicle miles traveled increased by 18 percent. The Dallas central business district was in deep decline as jobs moved further from the city core.

Community leaders and voters embarked on an ambitious plan to build 96 miles of light rail by 2016, 22 miles of commuter rail, and 110 miles of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes; as well as to undertake related efforts, including Intelligent Transportation Systems and Travel Demand Management. The plan included aggressive economic development along light rail corridors to promote transit use and rebuild downtown and urban neighborhoods.

In 2000, 77 percent of area voters approved a $2.4 billion bond issue, the largest of its kind ever approved in Texas, to expand and accelerate DART's light rail system. The bonds are guaranteed by future sales tax revenues. A Federal Transit Administration Full Funding Grant Agreement of $333 million under the New Starts Program is a critical element in the financial arrangements supporting the current doubling of the DART light rail starter system. The starter system alone has exceeded everyone's expectations in terms of ridership and economic development. While recession and job losses in the region produced a 10.5 percent drop in bus ridership in 2002, a 19.3 percent increase in DART rail and a 58.3 percent rise in trips on Trinity Railway Express helped keep systemwide ridership declines to just under 2 percent.

A recession-induced decline in sales tax revenues, which represents 88 percent of DART's income, may force another one-year delay in the next phase of its light rail expansion of 22 miles and 16 stations northwest to Carrollton and southeast to Buckner Boulevard. Part of the expansion anticipates federal financial participation through the New Starts Program and part will be supported with local funds.

Image: Historic buildings at the former Sears Catalog facility are part of the Matthews Southwest transit-oriented development at DART's Cedars Station.

DART's system expansion plans and its other improvements are in a foot race with clogged roads and deteriorating air quality. In addition to light rail expansion, DART's growing miles of HOV lanes, investments that reduce emissions from the bus fleet, pedestrian and bus access to the rail system, and development in the vicinity of transit stations are working together to lower the rate of growth of vehicle miles traveled.

DOWNTOWN DALLAS NOW

Centered on Main Street and the mixed-use infill and redevelopment projects nearby, downtown Dallas is being transformed. The principal ingredients are light rail and attractive, convenient access between the light rail system and retail, offices, residences, government and personal services, entertainment, and amenities.

The Central Business District's light rail corridor -- the Transitway Mall -- is the spine of DART's system and reflects the transit agency's commitment to the reestablishment of Dallas as the hub of the region's economic, social, and cultural life. Historic Dallas Union Station and a major bus transfer station near the West End transit stop provide intermodal connections. Stations are within walking distance of major employers and attractions, and are connected to many bus routes.

Joel Warren Barna wrote in Texas Architect in 1999 that DART's economic development operations since the 1980s have been based on the concept that public-private partnerships -- directly supporting rail transit -- can create new patterns of urban development. DART has in effect seeded its own operating efficiency by stimulating greater density around its stations and their adjacent neighborhoods.

FINANCING TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT

Like many cities in America, Dallas and its sister cities in North Texas make extensive use of tax increment financing for needed public improvements in areas adjacent to transit stations. City, county, and school districts forgo revenue increases on the growing value of property in the TIF districts and agree instead to devote new revenues to paying off bonds that provide public improvements within the district.

AWALT BUILDING

The six-story, 65,000-square-foot Awalt Building stands adjacent to DARTs CBD Transitway Mall at the West End Station, the system's busiest, and is home to Slingshot Communications' 50 employees, a ground-floor restaurant, and other commercial tenants. Built in the early years of the 20th century, the building was abandoned in the 1980s. When Slingshot started looking for a new home downtown, the Awalt was in the worst shape of all the buildings the company looked at and required the greatest leap of faith. Now Slingshot boasts that the building is "located on the corner of the 19th and 21st centuries" and has made the building's renovation for high-tech use a cornerstone of its company identity (to view information about the Awalt Building on Slingshot's web site, go to http://www.davidandgoliath.com/).

Slingshot Communications wanted to be downtown, particularly in the West End. It worked with the Dallas Landmarks Commission's West End Task Force, and was greatly influenced by the presence of light rail on the doorstep of the Awalt Building, and by the location's pedestrian-friendly character.

The City of Dallas was greatly interested in the redevelopment of this dilapidated eyesore. Slingshot Communications sought advice from a full range of city officials, especially those responsible for historic preservation projects, before making an offer to the Awalt's owner. The advertising agency was able to move into its top-floor office space just ten months after purchase. Extensive early consultations, hiring the services of an architect experienced in historic preservation work, and maintaining a good working relationship with city officials, helped keep Slingshot's surprises to a minimum.

Challenges to the project included reconciling historic preservation requirements with universal access needs under the Americans with Disabilities Act, plus other unexpected costs, but the company's attitude was, "Why buy a 1905 building if you don't want it to look like a 1905 building?" Federal historic preservation tax credits and a ten-year abatement of city and county property taxes helped to make the numbers work, and the company became an owner-tenant of the building with monthly mortgage payments no greater than the rent it had previously paid. Twenty percent of Slingshot's employees use transit, and the company provides both a transit benefit and reimburses transit riders for a few lunches per month.

Jeremy Leonard of Slingshot tells the story of a restaurant that expressed interest in the ground-floor commercial space but held off making an offer in order to reexamine demographics. A short time later, the restaurant signed a letter of intent. All it really needed to do, the restaurant said, was to count the number of people who passed the location every day, on foot and light rail, who would be reading its on-site advertising.

Image: The historic Awalt Building was in serious disrepair when Slingshot Communications purchased the building for adaptive reuse.

SOUTHSIDE ON LAMAR

Adjacent to DART's Cedars Station, immediately southeast of downtown, Matthews Southwest has developed a 39-acre parcel, the centerpiece of which is the historic nine-story Sears Catalog Center, opened in 1910. The $75 million development includes 455 lofts that occupy 900,000 square feet, 120,000 square feet of office space, and 34,000 square feet for retail and other arts related uses in a ground-floor retail arcade running the length of the building along a former railroad tunnel.

In addition to federal historic preservation tax credits and property tax abatements from the city, Matthews Southwest secured a low interest loan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in return for setting aside 20 percent of the 455 lofts for below-market-rate rentals. All of these incentives helped make the financing possible. The Sears Catalog Center and other buildings within the old Sears compound had been designated both Dallas and National Historic Landmarks.

South Side at Lamar has stimulated other economic development projects in the immediate vicinity of Cedars Station, including a new Dallas police headquarters, an $18 million Gilleys country-western entertainment complex in two existing structures, and other entertainment and amenity facilities.

Both historic preservation and easy access to public transit have made this major development possible. Pete Coughlin, development coordinator for the project, observed, "DART was a key in getting the project funded and in bringing people here. We are creating a 24-hour environment, and DART makes that possible." Coughlin also remarked that residents enjoy living in an historic building and appreciate its historic interior features: fluted columns, natural ceilings, original maple floors, and exposed brick walls.

PLANO

At first a small farming community, Plano developed into a city in the 1870s after the arrival of the Houston and Texas Central Railroad. From 1907 to 1948 it was connected to Dallas, its neighbor to the south, by the North Texas Interurban. After the demise of rail service and an explosion of residential growth to the north and west, Plano's old downtown stagnated. Light rail service has returned to Plano along the same right-of-way that promoted its growth late in the 19th century, and helped sustain it through the first half of the 20th.

Anticipating the arrival of light rail, Plano has been planning and preparing for years to transform downtown back into a transit village. The city's turn-of-the-century historic district is adjacent to the new Plano Station, and restoration of the city's historic structures in the station area is a conscious part of the redevelopment plan supported by a tax increment financing district and property tax abatements.

In addition to restoring historic resources, Plano approved a major new development called East Side Village, designed to match the historic character of the surrounding 19th century architecture. East Side Village contains 500 residential units, 40,000 square feet of retail and commercial space, and a 2,000-square-foot city conference center. Apartments rent from $600 to $1,200 per month. Plano's station area development is pedestrian-friendly and in harmony with the principles of the modern transit village.

"Our goal is to transform downtown Plano into an urban, transit-oriented town center by expanding business, housing, and the arts within one-quarter mile of the station," says Frank Turner, executive director of the Plano Development Business Center. In support of Plano's plan, the DART station has bus bays and a kiss-and-ride, but no long-term parking. The station is designed to fit the look and feel of the downtown. A municipal center, courthouse, and school district offices are within walking distance, as are a park and single-family homes.

MCKINNEY AVENUE TROLLEY

The redevelopment of McKinney Avenue in Uptown Dallas in the early 1980s included restoration of its brick pavement. During the work, the double tracks of an old streetcar line were unearthed. Volunteers from the retail and business community donated funds to determine the feasibility of reinstating the trolley in the neighborhood. The McKinney Avenue Transit Authority was created in 1983, and four vintage streetcars were purchased and carefully restored.

In 1989, for the first time in 33 years, a streetcar ran under its own power on 2.8 miles of newly restored tracks on McKinney Avenue. The big news for devotees of historic trolleys as well as transportation choice advocates is that the McKinney Avenue Trolley is now linked at its northern end to DART's light rail system at the Cityplace station. DART patrons can transfer to the streetcar to tour McKinney Avenue restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, and the new West Village -- a transit village that combines condominium residences with upscale shopping and dining.

MATA expects to construct another expansion in the near future, southward to link up with the West End Historic District. The Texas Department of Transportation has allocated a total of $6.4 million of its federal transportation enhancements funds to help the non-profit organization that owns and operates the trolley.

TRINITY RAILWAY EXPRESS (TRE)

Dallas and Fort Worth created the Trinity Railway Express to reestablish a commuter rail connection that linked them together from 1902 to 1934, when the Northern Texas Traction Company shut down its intercity line. In autumn 2001, full service resumed between the cities' two historic passenger terminals, Dallas Union Station and the Texas and Pacific Railroad Station in Fort Worth.

Dallas and Fort Worth jointly purchased the old Rock Island Line right-of-way in 1983 for $34 million and created TRE as a joint venture of their transit agencies. Service was inaugurated on the line's first leg at the end of 1996, from Dallas Union Station west to South Irving. This phase was funded largely from DART's one percent sales tax, Federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) grant funds, and the sale of usage rights to rail freight operators.

Tarrant County, for which Fort Worth is the county seat, assumed responsibility for the $184 million needed for the 25-mile second phase of the project, using a combination of Federal Transit Administration New Starts and other program funds, a second CMAQ grant, sales tax receipts from Fort Worth and the other area cities sharing the service.

TRE has become very popular. Ridership grew by 58 percent in the first year of full operations, to over 2 million, supported in part by the train's impressive intermodal, downtown connections.

In Dallas, TRE links up with DART's Red and Blue Lines at Union Station. Fort Worth built a new centrally located Intermodal Transit Center that also serves Amtrak and Greyhound Bus and provides bus and shuttle connections to major Fort Worth destinations. TRE offers shuttle bus service to DFW airport from one of its stations to help attract riders from among the over 50,000 people who are employed at or near DFW. A combined DART and TRE Victory Station is under construction just west of the West End in Dallas, adjacent to American Airlines Center, the home of the Dallas professional basketball and hockey teams. A temporary TRE station presently offers service to the teams' home games.

Extension of TRE and the development of additional commuter rail service figure prominently in multimodal transportation planning throughout the Metroplex, but especially in Fort Worth, where the future rail component of the city's transportation plan decision is still evolving.

Lessons learned

Historic buildings in the central business district are important orientation points for rail station siting. DART's station site decisions in the 1980s took into account the major redevelopment of the West End Historic District and Dallas's Union Station to put the "there back there" as the rail system was put back in place.

Business developers can -- and do -- support transit-oriented revitalization if the public sector sends the right signals and offers incentives. Dallas, DART, participating cities, and NCTCOG understand the benefits of promoting economic development in station areas. Transit-related zoning and land use plans, special financial incentives, investment in public infrastructure, and urban design concepts are being used to counter the region's overall sprawling, autocentric development patterns. DART reaches out to developers to make their work easier. "We provide education, coordination with member cities, connections to other developers," says Jack Wierzenski, assistant vice president of economic development and planning for DART. "We accommodate developers any way we can."

Strong historic preservation ordinances enhance and clarify the climate for private development. Dallas's new preservation ordinance sends a clear signal to private developers that historic resources are valued and irreplaceable elements in the city's fabric. The ordinance's establishment of a preservation fund, along with stronger tests for demolition, combines with municipal property tax abatements and other supportive city measures to stimulate investment in restoration and adaptive reuse of many downtown Dallas landmarks.

Signs of success

Improved access provided by DART rail stations is enhancing nearby residential and office property valuations, according to 2002 research conducted by the University of North Texas Center for Economic Development and Research. From 1997 to 2001, residential properties near DART rail stations increased in value by 39 percent more on average than comparable properties not served by rail. Office buildings near DART rail lines increased in value 53 percent more than comparable properties elsewhere. According to the Dallas Association of Realtors, "DART has been a huge economic driver in the region, and it will continue to be as the rail system expands and matures."

Now DART is also working to redress development gaps between stations. One such area is the Good Latimer Transit Mall/Deep Ellum Gateway, an area caught between the central business district and the busy arts and residential district of Deep Ellum. "Our goal is to design a station that is conducive to future development," says Jack Wierzenski, of DART. " Since we're not yet sure what developers will want to do, we're preparing the station to be very flexible and accessible. When developers come in, they'll find not barriers but accommodation. "Reinvestment in historic properties is contributing greatly to downtown's rebirth. The pragmatism generated by tax breaks, the emerging demand for loft-style housing in the heart of the city, and opportunities for creative mixed uses of older commercial buildings has helped to build a residential community of 17,000 in downtown Dallas where none existed before. Neighborhoods near downtown also benefit. Ken Hughes, president of UC Urban and the developer of the creative and highly acclaimed mixed-use project at Mockingbird Station (near where the old Dr. Pepper plant once stood), says: "The proximity of the DART station and the growing ridership made the Mockingbird Station attractive and doable, and we're not doing it halfway."

Not only are occupancy and rental rates increasing in buildings near stations throughout the system, tenants are returning to downtown from the suburbs. For example, the professional services firm KPMG, which moved out of downtown in 1992, returned a decade later and now occupies twice as much office space as before, in a building just steps from the St. Paul Station on the Transitway Mall. According to the firm that arranged the move, DART was one of the key ingredients for the consolidation of KPMG back downtown.

Fort Worth

Fort Worth, like other returning cities, understands that its central business district is its preeminent urban village: an economically, culturally, and socially vibrant center that binds the larger community together and helps to build civic identity through its powerful sense of place. As the center city prospers, private and public investment ripples out into surrounding neighborhoods.

Fort Worth's plan for revitalization recognizes that transportation investment must be directed toward a system to manage movement within a denser urban form, so that vibrant economic growth is not strangled by the kind of mobility it generates. The city's current plan for downtown transportation is multimodal, features convenient and attractive access among modes, and relies on good public transit and good walking streets.

Historic preservation is an important part of the city's comprehensive plan and greatly influences the way the city looks at itself and its future. The city preserves historic resources to protect its quality of life, its pride of place and its sense of community. Fort Worth is committed to passing its rich and colorful history on to future generations.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Established in 1849, Fort Worth began as an army outpost and soon became the last major stop on the legendary Chisholm Trail, the dusty path where millions of cattle were driven North to market. Downtown Fort Worth came to be known as "Hell's Half Acre," a rowdy district catering to the rough cowboy trade, with gambling parlors, saloons, and dance halls. The railroad era transformed the Fort Worth Stockyards into a premier livestock center, and downtown Fort Worth grew in complexity and sophistication.

When oil began to gush in West Texas, Fort Worth was at the center of the burgeoning oil industry. Still known affectionately as "Cowtown," Fort Worth has preserved the architecture and rich heritage of its downtown through numerous redevelopments, including Sundance Square, a 20-block area featuring some of Fort Worth's oldest and architecturally unique structures, mostly turn-of-the-century storefronts. Some 50 shops, restaurants, theatres, bars, and clubs are all within walking distance of each other in Sundance Square, enhanced by attractive landscaping and brick-paved streets.

Sundance Square and its developers, the Fort Worth Bass family, are credited with launching downtown revitalization in the early 1980s. The critical truth embedded in the Bass family approach to Sundance Square is the realization that first-rate historic preservation makes first-rate places, not just in terms of buildings and streets but also the way that the denizens of the returning city use these places. Before the Bass family invested in Fort Worth's Sundance Square, the area's historic resources suffered from neglect.

In an essay published in the March 2002 issue of Urban Land magazine, Ed Bass stated an urban redevelopment principle that can be used to test the soundness of revitalization planning generally, especially as its transportation component is being devised. "Cities need to learn to capitalize on their streets, city blocks, sidewalks, storefronts, and the comings and goings of a whole variety of people engaged in a whole gamut of activities."

From the early 1980s to the late 1990s, more than $850 million in private investment was pumped into Sundance Square, with most of the risk being assumed by the Bass brothers. The extent of their investment guaranteed that the place would have the look and feel they were aiming to create. As a result, the northern end of downtown Fort Worth has 20 movie screens, an assortment of nightclubs and live theater venues, office space, several dozen restaurants, hotels, retail tenants like Barnes and Noble, and a significant infusion of new residents.

The city has also played a principal role in downtown transformation, pumping nearly $300 million in public funds into downtown projects, including federal grants. Special taxing districts have been created, property tax abatements have assisted many projects, and active organizations representing the private revitalization stakeholders, like Historic Fort Worth and Downtown Fort Worth, help round out the public-private partnership that is a hallmark of success in so many urban revitalization efforts.

TRANSPORTATION

The City of Fort Worth and the Fort Worth Transportation Authority (the T) jointly developed a Fort Worth Light Rail Streetcar Starter Project, a 7.6-mile, double-tracked streetcar system intended to connect Fort Worth's Intermodal Transportation Center, the Trinity Railway Express, and new bus transfer facilities downtown with Fort Worth's employment centers, major destinations, and neighborhoods. The starter project was endorsed by the City Council and the T in 2002 as the first phase of a larger streetcar system that could be implemented over the next 20 to 30 years.

The 2002 decision has been placed on hold pending a review of transportation priorities by the city's new administration. Also on hold is Fort Worth's formal application for a $92.5 million Federal Transit Administration New Starts grant, representing 50 percent of the project's total cost, for the city's locally preferred alternative, a project designed to link the central business district with the city's cultural and medical districts and several central city neighborhoods. The city's 50 percent of the project cost is expected to come from flexible federal sources like the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, local transit sales tax revenues (half-cent as opposed to DART's 1-cent), and $62.5 million from municipal bonds. A citywide election will be needed to approve the municipal bonds, and the availability of flexible federal transportation funds is subject to the approval of the regional council of governments.

MAKING THE TOD CONNECTION

Fort Worth's extensive urban revitalization efforts are closely tied to an eventual multimodal, interdependent transportation system that will facilitate and encourage walking and good connections for the city's buses. The automobile's primacy in the city is not going to be supplanted, but investment in alternative travel choices to and from resurgent neighborhoods, downtown, and the city's key activity centers will ease auto congestion, improve air quality, and offer the capacity to reduce vehicle miles traveled.

The New Starts application, in its present form, emphasizes the regional transportation connections that light rail will give Fort Worth, its conformity to regional land use and sustainable development goals, and a firm commitment to the principles of genuine transit- oriented development: mixed use, mixed income, greater density at and near transit stops, and the best walking connections possible. The city has already enacted two mixed-use zoning classifications that are transit-supportive and consistent with the package of revitalization efforts.

Image: Meticulously restored historic buildings within Sundance Square bear out the Bass family belief that first-rate historic preservation makes first-rate places.

LANCASTER AVENUE AND THE TEXAS AND PACIFIC PASSENGER TERMINAL

When an elevated segment of I-30 was torn down in 2002 and its replacement completed further south, the uncovering of Lancaster Avenue opened up an opportunity to reunite downtown. The street is a wide expanse of road that is beautifully suited to transformation into an elegant urban boulevard. Along Lancaster Avenue are architectural gems, isolated since the 1960s by a segment of I-30 that was elevated freeway, and now ready for restoration and reuse. A refurbished, beautified, and pedestrian friendly Lancaster Avenue could connect the southern end of downtown to the city's expanding cultural district just to the west.

The present terminus of TRE in Fort Worth is the Texas and Pacific Rail Passenger terminal, one of the city's premier historic landmarks. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority, which owns the first-floor waiting room and adjacent boardroom, restored them with federal transportation enhancements funding granted by the Texas Department of Transportation. The terminal building's owners tried unsuccessfully to convince the city to help renovate the upper floors into a hotel. Plans are now underway to develop those floors into 130 apartments while adding a four-story, 92-unit apartment building and parking garage east of the terminal. Both Fort Worth and Tarrant County have agreed to grant historic tax exemptions for the project.

Fort Worth's starter light rail streetcar, as presently envisioned, would connect with the T&P terminal on its north-south axis from the Sundance Square- Tarrant County Court House area to the Medical District. The terminal's restoration for in-town living is expected to quicken private revitalization efforts in the Lancaster Avenue corridor.

FORT WORTH RAIL MARKET

Public and private restoration and revitalization activities are also in full swing in Fort Worth's midtown section. Just south of the new Intermodal Transit Center (ITC), the historic Santa Fe Warehouse has been restored and reopened as the Fort Worth Rail Market. In a 23,000-square-foot canopied space between the rail market and the ITC, the T and the Fort Worth Rail Market operate an outdoor farmers' market on weekends during spring and summer. According to the market's web site (http://www.fortworthrailmarket.com) "The Fort Worth Rail Market ... builds on the synergy created by other downtown developments, including the Intermodal Transportation Center (ITC), Fort Worth Convention Center expansion, the Convention Center Plaza, Water Garden and Hyde Park improvements, and the Lancaster Avenue Redevelopment."

The Market was constructed in 120 days and opened on May 25, 2002. More than 40,000 square feet of permanent retail space is available for up to twenty year-round tenants. The expanded convention center is nearby, and Fort Worth's light rail streetcar will serve the area as the TRE already does. The city, in a partnership with the T, the U.S. General Services Administration, and Downtown Fort Worth, Inc, is also planning a new Downtown Civic Square on the site of historic 19th century Hyde Park. Only a few blocks from the Santa Fe Rail Market, the civic square will be an important element in the mix of transit- and pedestrian-connected attractions and destinations in the mid-town section of Fort Worth.

Contacts

Barbara Maley, Senior Transportation Planner
North Central Texas Council of Governments
817 -695-9246
bmaley@nctcog.dst.tx.us

Fernando Costa, Planning Director
Fort Worth Planning
817-871-8042
CostaF@ci.fort-worth.tx.us

Shanon Peterson Wasielewski, Historic Preservation Planner
Fort Worth Planning
817-871-8012
WasielS@ci.fort-worth.tx.us

Melissa Waelti-Dailey, Transportation Director
Downtown Fort Worth, Inc.
817-870-1692
melissa@dfwi.org

Image: The removal of a segment of I-30 from above Lancaster Ave opens the door to reconnecting the Avenue's significant historic structures, like the Texas and Pacific Rail Passenger terminal, to downtown Fort Worth.

Signs of success

Fort Worth's long-discussed and much-planned light rail trolley is still years away from operation, but the urban revitalization it is being designed to serve and sustain is well underway. The urban model that NCTCOG sees as a means to build up centers of mixed-use development throughout the region has been working over the last 25 years in center city Fort Worth. Studies of the city have identified a demand for city living and a growing residential market. Both Pier 1 and Radio Shack are constructing new national headquarters downtown, and Fort Worth's nightlife is vibrant, especially in Sundance Square. Public investments in services and amenities abound. Old and historic buildings are being restored and reused.

Just one year after its grand opening, the Fort Worth Rail Market is now home to a lively mix of specialty food stores, other retail establishments, and small independent restaurants. Four retail spaces remain to be leased. David Pettit, director of development for Downtown Fort Worth, Inc., states "Current negotiations with a butcher, sausage, and deli vendor will complete the desired tenant mix outlined in the original plans for the Market. Additionally, negotiations are underway for the second floor restaurant space, offering 5,500 square feet of intimate, indoor dining and an additional 5,000 square feet of patio dining overlooking downtown." The restaurant is scheduled to open early this fall. In attracting new tenants and seasonal vendors, the management of the Rail Market has made much of nearby transportation connections and the historic value of the site and nearby attractions. Citing the 10,000 daily boardings on the Trinity Railway Express and the status of the ITC as the transportation hub for all of Tarrant County, the Fort Worth Rail Market also positions to prospective vendors as part of the "downtown synergy" that includes a mix of old and new Fort Worth, from Sundance Square to the new convention center, both just minutes away.

Lessons learned

Private, independent, "isolated" efforts at downtown revitalization do pay big dividends in later efforts toward transit-supportive development. Sundance Square and its developers, the Fort Worth Bass family, are credited with launching downtown revitalization in the early 1980s. According to Urban Land magazine, Fort Worth affirms the urban development theory that medium-sized cities "should focus on a specific district for revitalization, concentrating efforts to produce critical mass and more visible results." Fort Worth has demonstrated how returning cities can expand the experiences of individual district revitalization to other parts of downtown.

Transit agencies should seek opportunities to lead and develop historic downtown areas that could serve and be served by transit. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority and leaders of the ITC effort not only were "plugged in" to develop trends and opportunities in downtown, they took leadership roles in clearing the way for transit-oriented development near the ITC and other downtown transportation facilities.

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Denver, Colorado

Blueprint for a Living City

DOWNTOWN STRATEGY BUILDS ON EARLIER EFFORTS

Denver, Colorado is undergoing a renaissance of transportation choices and downtown revitalization, thanks to 40 years of visionary planning and energetic community efforts. Blueprint Denver, created in 2002, is a growth and transportation strategy for promoting and protecting the city's livability, with an emphasis on the interdependence of downtown with the historic residential neighborhoods that surround it. The citywide strategy within Blueprint Denver is focused on absorbing 109,000 new jobs and 132,000 more residents by 2022.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Built in the boom years of the mid-19th century, downtown Denver suffered from decreasing investment after the silver bust of 1893, a trend that accelerated with the ascendancy of the automobile in the first half of the 20th century. In 1965, real estate developer Dana Crawford launched a 20-year effort to save downtown from dereliction and slum clearance. Her early successes helped create a strong preservation ethic in Denver. By 1971, the city had both a landmarks commission and a private nonprofit organization, Historic Denver, Inc. In 1974 the city rezoned Lower Downtown-a threatened treasure trove of industrial and commercial architecture-for mixed use, including loft apartments and retail. A second rezoning in 1982 offered incentives for property owners to preserve historic buildings. After a seven-year struggle, Lower Downtown was designated a historic district in 1989. Denver promptly established the Lower Downtown Business Support Office to market the area to investors and manage a loan fund to help with gap financing, facade improvements, and upgrades required by building codes.

Even these positive steps still proved inadequate to stem the development pressure on downtown Denver, where high rises were being built right beside historic structures. In 2000, the city created the Downtown Denver Historic District to protect and preserve 43 historic buildings in the central business district. Many of the protected buildings were already rehabilitated and in use when the designation took effect. The new district includes the 16th Street transit mall, an international model for integrating mixed use development, transit, and historic preservation.

The city's efforts to revitalize its core and protect its historic character now have radiated beyond the boundaries of downtown. According to former Mayor Wellington Webb, who stepped down after three terms in 2003, "In downtown Denver, our history ... exists comfortably and proudly side by side with our present." Webb convened two major summits to look at how to integrate business development, transportation, housing, and historic preservation in downtown. Under his leadership, the city made sweeping changes to its zoning to encourage housing and transit-oriented development in the central business district. The city also established an office specifically to market its inventory of historic and older downtown buildings to housing developers, providing developers and investors with accurate information about properties and market conditions.

The latest manifestation of Denver's efforts to protect and enhance its downtown is Blueprint Denver, which was approved by the City Council in March 2002 by a vote of 11 to l. Blueprint Denver seeks to confront the major planning issues associated with integrating land use and transportation planning -- the first step to sound growth management.

Image: REI skillfully restored and adapted the historic Denver Tramway Power Company Building for use as its Denver flagship store.

BLUEPRINT DENVER

Blueprint Denver identifies areas of stability and areas of change where growth and transit investment can be channeled to improve access to jobs, housing, and services while decreasing auto trips. Downtown Denver is an area of change and its population could grow by 30 percent during the next 20 years. Areas of stability in the plan are primarily established residential neighborhoods and their associated commercial areas. City planners have asked Denver's 77 neighborhoods to develop their own mini-blueprints. The goal of planning for these areas of stability is to let them identify and maintain their particular character while accommodating new development and redevelopment.

A focal point of Blueprint Denver's transportation strategy is to support transit-oriented development (TOD) at existing and planned stations on light-rail lines serving the city. The strategy is designed to preserve historic neighborhoods and reuse historic and architecturally significant downtown buildings. Historic buildings of the type found in downtown Denver -- mostly old warehouses and industrial/commercial spaces -- are ideally suited to retail, office space, and condo- or apartment-style housing. The city makes financing available for unconventional housing projects, and is directing its private activity bond allocations toward housing.

"My first Downtown Summit in 1991 rallied city government and preservation and business constituencies to closer collaboration on two principal strategies: developing housing and expanding historic preservation as an economic development tool."
WELLINGTON WEBB
MAYOR OF DENVER

Rehabilitation of historic buildings for housing has been underway in Denver for many years. Mayor Webb supported this effort, believing that the city's revitalization depends on establishing a residential population downtown. A mainstay of Webb's strategy was to emphasize transit access and walkable streets while controlling additional downtown parking.

Although Blueprint Denver does not change zoning, it sets in motion a process for a substantial revision of Denver's zoning code, which is essential to the plan's success and crucial to the achievement of regional transportation objectives.

PARTNERS AND LEADERS

Blueprint Denver was assembled with extensive participation by the city's transportation agency, members of the council, 46 members of an advisory committee, and many hundreds of other Denver citizens who appeared at public hearings, open houses in each of the 13 council districts, and neighborhood discussions.

Denver has a seven-county Regional Transportation District (RTD) with bonding authority to improve, maintain, and operate Denver's mass transit system. The RTD works with the region's metropolitan planning organization, the Denver Regional Council of Governments. The RTD recently took the lead in encouraging TOD by establishing a "TOD shop" to help developers move their projects along.

Two private nonprofit groups have been closely involved in shaping both Denver's historic preservation and its transit future: Historic Denver, Inc. (HDI) and the Downtown Denver Partnership, Inc. (DDP). HDI was founded by citizens in 1970 and has focused much of its attention on preservation of the urban core and close-in neighborhoods. DDP has represented downtown businesses, property owners, and employees since 1955, and has long advocated for transportation choices that support revitalization and historic preservation. DDP supports the region's current transit planning and the redevelopment of Union Station into an intermodal center.

The city has also been blessed with two mayors who placed priority on transit-oriented and preservation-minded revitalization downtown. In 1984 Mayor Federico Peña convened a committee of civic and business leaders to help plan the city's future. The committee and the mayor's sustained leadership were instrumental in designating Lower Downtown a historic district in 1988. Mayor Peña declared Lower Downtown the best opportunity for jump-starting the revitalization of downtown Denver, and made downtown historic district designation the number one issue for the city, backed by an extensive coalition of supporters.

TRANSPORTATION CHOICES

According to Jennifer Moulton, former director of the Community Planning and Development Agency, the objectives of Blueprint Denver are not only implementation of light rail along well-planned corridors, but also improved bus service, special highway High-Occupancy Vehicle lanes, commuter rail, and improved street design for walking and bicycling. The plan stresses the importance of residential and commercial activities near major transit stops.

The city's mass transit system includes more than 16 miles of light rail, the first segment of which began operation in 1994, and will total 35 miles on completion. Nearly 200 bus routes run throughout the region, serving 64 free park-and-rides and hundreds of bus stops. More than 65 bus trips per hour arrive in downtown Denver during peak periods.

Metropolitan Denver's Transportation Expansion Project (T-Rex), a $1.7 billion undertaking, consists of new light rail transit and highway improvements on I-25 between Denver and major destinations to the southeast of the city. T-Rex will reconstruct 17 miles of I-25, including bridges and interchanges, and is constructing 19 miles of double-track light rail with 13 transit stations in the Southeast Corridor to Douglas County, with a spur along I-225 in Arapahoe County. RTD and the Federal Transit Administration entered into a Full Funding Grant Agreement in November 2000, which committed $525 million in Section 5309 New Starts funds to the project.

Waiting in the wings for voter approval is RTD's accelerated 10-year plan that proposes to spend $4.3 billion for light rail, commuter rail, and express bus lanes in the Denver metropolitan area. RTD also proposes to double the number of parking spaces at stations along the existing southwest line and to double parking spaces planned for the T-Rex line in southeast Denver. The plan is being called "Fastrack" and must be approved by metro-area voters because of the 0.4 percent sales tax hike needed to help pay for it. It is likely to be on the ballot in 2004.

Image: The magnificently restored Denver Dry Goods Building, a mixed-use project of the Jonathon Rose Companies, stands at the heart of multi-modal downtown Denver. The restoration took advantage of 23 sources of financing.

PROTECTING DENVER'S INNER-CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

Beginning in the early 1990s, large second-story additions or "pop-tops" became common in Denver's historic inner-city neighborhoods as owners sought ways to expand the typical two-bedroom Denver bungalow. This phenomenon of tear-downs or scrape-offs has become commonplace across the United States, and large suburban-style homes are replacing historic bungalows all over the nation. The National Trust for Historic Preservation attempted to draw national attention to the phenomenon by placing Teardowns on its 2002 List of America's Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places.

The zoning in many neighborhoods surrounding Denver's central business district permits much greater density than is currently in place. High-rise apartments and condominiums could destroy the character of the inner city's historic residential neighborhoods, with a density growth well above what existing residents are willing to tolerate. Blueprint Denver acknowledges that zoning in these areas of stability must be changed, and the city is working to effect these changes.

Blueprint Denver also envisions that the city's 77 neighborhoods will develop their own mini-blueprints. In some neighborhoods, local historic districts are being proposed. Along with stronger protections to prevent demolitions and out-of-scale additions, the advocates for these historic neighborhoods will also help identify appropriate infill sites and develop flexible guidelines to encourage compatible new construction.

Residents and preservationists in Denver have been successful in protecting the high-quality architecture, mature landscaping, and pedestrian orientation of traditional, historic neighborhoods. These neighborhoods radiate a powerful sense of place that benefits the city in terms of consumer reinvestment, community stability, and tourism.

The Denver Downtown Partnership has provided an overview of residential areas of downtown and some of Denver's close-in neighborhoods, some of which is quoted here.

DOWNTOWN: AREA OF CHANGE

There is a common perception that the majority of downtown Denver's housing growth during the 1990s happened in Lower Downtown. However, the rate of residential growth in the upper end of downtown -- in what is often referred to as the central business district -- has been on par with that of Lower Downtown. Upper Downtown has a population of approximately 3,000 people, while Lower Downtown's population is about 2,200.

In recent years, several vacant office buildings in the central business district of downtown Denver have been renovated into apartment and condominium projects along 15th, 16th, and 17th streets -- Baldwin Lofts, the Denver Dry Goods Building Lofts, the A.T. Lewis & Rio Grande Lofts, Boston Lofts, and Bank Lofts. Four of these projects include below-market-rate apartments for downtown's workforce. Two recent developments on Champa Street include the Buerger Brothers Industrial Lofts and the Chamber Apartments next door. The upper end of Downtown now has approximately 1,550 rental units and 650 for-sale units.

LOWER DOWNTOWN: AREA OF CHANGE

Lower Downtown -- or LoDo, as it is commonly called -- is in the oldest part of Denver, founded in 1858 by General William Larimer. Today LoDo is a vibrant 25-block urban neighborhood comprised of brick warehouses, industrial buildings and commercial structures that have been renovated into offices, lofts and retail space.

LoDo housing options range from million-dollar lofts to below-market rate apartments. New construction for housing has begun as the number of vacant buildings in Lower Downtown available for renovation shrinks to nearly zero.

The most notable construction projects in Lower Downtown are four new office buildings that were recently built on the former sites of surface parking lots. One of these developments -- 16 Market Square -- includes 25 residential lofts on its top floors.

DENVER INVESTS IN INTERMODALISM: UNION TERMINAL

Denver's Regional Transportation District (RTD) purchased Union Station in August 2001, along with 20 acres of adjacent prime real estate for just under $50 million, after about a year of intense negotiations with the station's three owners. The century-old rail facility, which was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, ranks among Denver's outstanding historic structures. It will become the heart and hub of a regional, multimodal transportation system and a premier destination in its own right in the midst of all sorts of destinations.

RTD's financial partners in the purchase are the City and County of Denver, and the Denver Regional Council of Governments that, along with the Colorado Department of Transportation, approved $23 million in federal funds. An impressive team, dubbed the Union Station Alliance, was assembled to develop a master plan for the depot and the surrounding 18.5 acres of land in accord with a multi-modal transportation vision that includes light rail, commuter rail, Amtrak, local and regional buses, the 16th Street mall shuttle, bicycle facilities, and taxi cab facilities.

The terminal will become the gateway to Denver, just as it was years ago when as many as 80 passenger trains pulled in each day. In an interview with the Denver Business Journal, Jennifer Moulton, the city's former planning director, called it Denver's "front door". A rail line to Denver International Airport, currently served by RTD buses to downtown, will be a part of the planning, as well as a link to the nearby Platte River Trolley, with its antique street cars.

CENTRAL PLATTE VALLEY: AREA OF CHANGE

The Central Platte Valley neighborhood is largely a blank slate at this time, a 120-acre expanse to the west of downtown Denver that is home to about 360 residential units. After spending most of this century marked by railyards, warehouses, viaducts, and garbage dumps, the Central Platte Valley area is evolving into an exciting, mixed-use urban neighborhood with more than 2,000 housing units, and more than 3 million square feet of offices, shops, restaurants, and hotels. The first housing units between Union Station and the South Platte River are now occupied and more are under construction.

In 2001, shuttle service on the 16th Street Mall was extended through Lower Downtown and behind Union Station to the Central Platte Valley. The extension brings closer access to the Millennium Bridge, a pedestrian span over the consolidated train track that remains in the Central Platte Valley. Central Platte Valley's residents have a 10-minute walk into Lower Downtown and Denver's central business district.

To enhance access in the area, there are plans to develop an intermodal facility that handles passenger trains, regional buses, light rail, and commuter rail, creating a downtown hub for Denver's metropolitan transportation system. A 1.5-mile light rail spur recently began operating in Central Platte Valley, linking the Auraria Higher Education Center and downtown, with stops at entertainment destinations (such as the Pepsi Center) and future housing and commercial developments.

Although the land on the east side of the South Platte River is now taking shape with the first phase of development, the west side of the Central Platte Valley between the river and I-25 has characteristic red-brick buildings with ground-floor retail and restaurants and residential lofts above. Commons Park West, a new construction 340-unit apartment complex, is the largest of recent developments.

Signs of success

In 1991 downtown Denver was full of boarded-up buildings. Today, more than 50 formerly derelict structures have been put back in service, mostly as downtown housing. The downtown has attracted $158 million in investment for historic preservation alone, including only $16 million in public funds. Virtually all of downtown Denver is already transit-oriented development.

More than 10 percent of the metropolitan region's workforce is employed in downtown Denver. Almost half of those workers commute to downtown via transit, carpooling, or other alternatives to driving. And 54,000 people use the 16th Street Transit Mall every weekday.

Construction of new residences and population have increased in and near downtown during the past decade -- the population of Lower Downtown alone doubled from about 1,000 mostly low-income residents in 1990 to about 2,500 with a much higher median income in 2000. The downtown's revenue base has also improved: Denver is the 20th largest city in the country but has the 10th largest downtown in terms of commercial and retail space.

For the most part, the neighborhoods near downtown have not experienced the cycles of serious disinvestment that usually plague inner-city neighborhoods in other communities. Denver's core neighborhoods, especially the historic ones, are increasingly popular among home buyers. More than 67,000 people live within a one mile radius of downtown in these neighborhoods. Prices are rising, with the result that the inner-ring neighborhoods are endangered by their own success. Many newcomers to the city's historic neighborhoods are altering or demolishing homes to build suburban-style dwellings with larger amounts of square footage. Through zoning controls and the Blueprint Denver effort, the city is moving decisively to support preservation of the scale and character of neighborhoods in and near downtown (see "Protecting Denver's Inner-City Neighborhoods," page 27).

Lessons learned

• Build on previous efforts and successes in historic preservation, housing, transportation, and downtown revitalization. Denver is drawing on a rich history of such efforts to bring in stake-holders and create new models for wedding transportation choices and sustainable development downtown.

• Promote individual leadership, and give credit where credit is due. Without the early efforts of developers like Dana Crawford and preservationists like Lisa Purdy, and without the leadership and vision of Mayors Federico Pena and Wellington Webb, Denver's downtown might never have become the crown jewel it is today.

• Coordinate downtown efforts within a regional framework. Planning and financial mechanisms are needed at a regional level to create, improve, and sustain a living downtown. Denver recognized this lesson in its early efforts to create a Lower Downtown historic district.

Contacts

Ellen Ittelson
Denver Community Planning and Development Agency
720-865-2915

Brendon Harrington, Transportation Program Manager
Downtown Denver Partnership
303-534-6161
brendon@downtowndenver.com

Kathleen Brooker, President
Historic Denver, Inc.
303-534-5288
kbrooker@historicdenver.org

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San Diego, California

City of Villages Plan

MAKING ROOM FOR CHANGE IN A MATURE CITY

The interplay among public transit, transit-supportive development, community revitalization, and historic preservation in San Diego is still taking shape. Although the city has made remarkable progress in offering transportation choices and a downtown design to support them, San Diego still struggles to develop employment and residential population in its center city and older, close-in neighborhoods. In a city renowned both for its excellent planning and its unique character, historic preservation has not become a serious organizing principle for revitalization efforts. Yet the benefits of historic preservation to the city are everywhere apparent.

San Diego was the first city on the West Coast to electrify its trolleys, and among the first to respond broadly to the problems our auto-dependent society has inflicted upon cities. The city reused old rail rights-of-way to create a new trolley system in the 1970s. Because these routes link historically significant destinations that still define the community's character today, San Diego's historic places are uniquely positioned to contribute to smart growth.

A major planning effort for the city, the City of Villages, could have a profound impact on historic resources in downtown and nearby neighborhoods. The San Diego Association of Governments, the metropolitan planning organization, estimates that the city's population will increase approximately 284,000 by 2020 and an additional 150,000 homes will be needed to house new residents. City of Villages was San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy's fundamental policy response to the land shortage and housing needs. The intent of City of Villages is to concentrate much of the needed growth in the city's established neighborhoods. Less than 10 percent of San Diego's 331 square miles is still raw, developable land. Additional housing has to compete with other demands in neighborhoods that want to control levels of density and congestion, address deteriorating public infrastructure, stimulate and maintain community services, and create attractive public spaces.

The City of Villages planning process has led downtown and neighborhood leaders to take a long look at the city core's needs and special character, and has prompted both the city and the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB) to consider ways to boost transit's contribution to downtown revitalization. Although City of Villages acknowledges the importance of neighborhood and civic character, historic resources, and transit-oriented design, historic preservation is not a fundamental pillar for planning.

Specific development projects may point the way toward a greater reliance on historic preservation as a means to smart growth and revitalization, at least in downtown and nearby neighborhoods. For example, construction of a new baseball park for the San Diego Padres illustrates the benefits of historic preservation to downtown revitalization and public transportation (see "The Ballpark District," page 36). The new ballpark is located in a promising area of historic warehouses, adjacent to the city's world-renowned Gaslamp Quarter, a National Historic District.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Founded on a site that had been inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years, including the La Jolla, Yuman, and Shoshonean, San Diego became a Spanish mission in 1602. The first colonists arrived 175 years later, including military families from the coastal fortress known as the Presidio. In the 1840s Americans gained a foothold in San Diego as a result of the winning of California by the United States and the 1848 gold rush. In 1850 downtown San Diego was established as New Town and the city was incorporated. Today the military and the Catholic Church are still active participants in San Diego's economy and culture, linking the city to its colonial past.

San Diego's transit history reaches back to the 1870s. Initially horsepowered, later expanded and electrified, the trolley system gave way to buses in the middle of the last century. The city's walkable downtown declined in proportion to suburban expansion, until by the late 1960s, downtown properties were not even generating enough tax revenue to cover basic city services.

In 1972, then-Mayor Pete Wilson outlined an aggressive program for revitalizing the physically and economically blighted downtown. Public and private redevelopment organizations pursued a plan to bring residents, retail, and commercial businesses back to downtown; create a strong job base; and reestablish downtown's premier role as a lively and attractive regional hub for employment, services, arts, culture, government, entertainment, and living.

The rebirth of the San Diego Trolley in the 1970s and the civic commitment to downtown revitalization advanced concurrently, one contributing to the success of the other. Downtown redevelopment required that the area be accessible from throughout the region, and light rail transit offered an additional travel choice reminiscent of days gone by. San Diego's historic and very popular Gaslamp Quarter was one of the earlier community revitalization efforts that helped to establish the role of historic preservation in the redevelopment plan.

Image: Outstanding restorations of the Gaslamp Quarter's historic buildings shape the area's character and contribute to its walkability.

TRANSPORTATION

In the 1970s California State Senator John Mills, a transit visionary and ardent historic preservationist, was instrumental in passing state legislation to bring light rail back to San Diego. The legislation created two revenue streams for light rail: a quarter-cent state sales tax rebated to local governments, and constitutional access to state gasoline taxes. The legislation also created the Metropolitan Transit Development Board (MTDB) to design and build the system.

The statute gave MDTB just five years to get the system up and running. With $18 million, MTDB quickly purchased 108 miles of existing railroad track, 32 miles of which became the first segments of the Blue and Orange lines. The new light rail system's initial segment was built with $12 million of state funds and $74 million from local sources.

The trolley system has been expanding ever since. The newest six-mile segment, the Mission Valley East LRT Extension, will provide access to major employment and activity destinations such as San Diego State University (SDSU) and the Alvarado Medical Center. The extension will also complete a northern outer loop by linking up the existing Blue and Orange lines.

Over 24,000 jobs and 10,000 residences are within walking distance of the extension's proposed stations. Current zoning is generally supportive of transit. Total capital costs for this extension are estimated at $431 million, including $330 million in Federal Transit Administration New Start Funds. Costs reflect construction of a 4,000-foot tunnel, an underground station 60 feet below the SDSU campus, and other features such as access to multiple destinations, park-and-ride lots, and road and pedestrian improvements.

The Metropolitan Transit Development Board has been promoting transit-oriented, joint-development projects from its earliest days. By 1985 MTDB was able to examine its experience with joint development and draw early conclusions, including a realization that transit-supportive development in the vicinity of light rail was not going to be a naturally occurring phenomenon, especially along existing rights-of-way.

Since MTDB did not own substantial amounts of developable land at its stations, joint ventures with adjacent land owners made sense. Success would depend on supportive public policies and an understanding of the needs of private developers who were willing to participate. Small-scale joint developments were worth pursuing because they generated revenues, provided visibility, and tended to make station areas more attractive to riders. Agreements among local governments were made easier by the fact that MTDB board members are locally elected officials from its entire service area.

To make transit more relevant to the region's population, the MTDB undertook TransitWorks, a market-based strategic planning program developed over a two-year period. Through extensive study of the attitudes and preferences that determine San Diego residents' travel choices, MTDB sought to understand individual decision making about transportation, to classify travelers into groups based on common attitudes and travel preferences, and to better understand the trade-offs travelers make when considering transit for different kinds of trips.

The TransitWorks exercise identified the service characteristics needed to attract new riders, and devised four different service concepts from short, neighborhood-level trips to trips of more than six miles. The process then developed a series of scenarios on the basis of how extensive service would have to be in order to attract different market segments. Cost estimates for each scenario were provided.

Image: San Diego Trolley stops bracket the city's Gaslamp Quarter and offer visitors travel choices.

The fourth scenario, labeled "Transit First," envisions the San Diego region finally curbing its appetite for consuming land by more careful attention to the design of new development. Trolley service has been improved and expanded, and many areas are served by a network of bus rapid transit routes fed by a web of community and neighborhood transit connections. New services have focused on key employment sites, especially where auto congestion impedes the ability of employees to get to work. In the old and new neighborhoods, especially where improved pedestrian access exists, the potential for transit use has been enhanced because a high percentage of residents are able and willing to walk to stops.

The Metropolitan Transit Development Board estimates that implementation of Transit First could cost as much as $6.8 billion and acknowledges that much depends on taxpayers' assent to an extension of TransNet, the region's half percent sales tax for transportation, which expires in 2008. The Transit First option is being supported by the coordinated actions of the City of San Diego in implementing the City of Villages transit-oriented development plan.

CITY OF VILLAGES PLAN

City of Villages is designed to accommodate and channel future growth and address critical urban public policy issues such as affordable housing, traffic congestion, aging community infrastructure, public facilities, and land use. San Diego planners and a 40-member citizens committee managed an extensive public involvement process, including 150 public meetings and various workshops that led to a growth management strategy for over 40 of San Diego's neighborhoods.

At its heart, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, the plan is a civic compact between local government officials and the citizens of the neighborhoods to accept more growth in the form of housing, shops, and offices concentrated into mixed-use developments in exchange for the city's commitment to deliver $2.5 billion worth of better community infrastructure, including sidewalks, public spaces, parks, libraries, and other long-sought public improvements.

Image: Attractive gateways into the Gaslamp Quarter enhance good walking streets.

City of Villages is also a blueprint for neighborhood revitalization that envisions places for many more people to live in mixed-use, mixed-income livable communities. The plan identifies the major features of great places: preservation of neighborhood character, historic and cultural resources, pedestrian-friendly streets and sidewalks, easy and safe access to transit, jobs, neighborhood amenities, public and commercial services, calmed traffic, and parking management plans.

According to Gail Goldberg, San Diego's planning director, the dialogue with neighborhoods was less about growth than it was about how to harness growth to attract amenities that were lacking in many older neighborhoods, such as transit, services, and civic spaces.

No one believes that the City of Villages strategy is going to be easy to implement. Lack of financial resources presents an obstacle that will call for public revenue increases to be put before the city's voters. Residents will be called upon to accept appropriate increases in density. California state law contains many obsolete barriers to implementation of smart growth principles that must be overcome, including how to successfully integrate community planning and school siting functions. City of Villages assumes that transit services will be an important implementation ingredient in the overall strategy.

For its part, MTDB is working to implement a Transit First pilot project that will provide service in much-traveled corridors that feature some of the city's recently short-listed City of Villages Pilot projects. The Transit First Showcase Project will provide residents of North Park, City Heights, and the College area with high-quality, rubber-tired transit connecting downtown San Diego to San Diego State University (SDSU) along Park and El Cajon Boulevards. This new kind of transit will offer the speed, comfort, and amenities of a trolley. Riders will be able to bypass traffic congestion because transit will travel in its own lanes and receive priority at signalized intersections. Stations will include upgraded shelters, passenger information and other features. New technology will allow passengers to pay for fares with debit cards (Smart Cards) and to know when the next transit vehicle will arrive. MTDB is also working to encourage transit-oriented development around 15 trolley stations.

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO

San Diego's pedestrian-friendly central business district is well served by trolley and buses, but transit and redevelopment agencies are examining additional access and mobility options as they prepare for downtown's participation in the region's City of Villages program. The central business district is the most promising part of the region for an early City of Villages success. The presence of multimodal public transit-including two light rail lines, commuter rail, Amtrak, and many bus routes-along with limits on parking, Transportation Demand Management measures, regional destinations, and mixed land uses in a pedestrian-oriented setting, combine to make San Diego's center city a 1,500-acre transit-oriented development.

Downtown San Diego has the region's greatest concentration of significant historic structures and an emerging awareness of the role such structures are playing, not only as adaptively reused buildings where people live, work, shop, and enjoy recreation, but also as places that contribute to the unique character of downtown San Diego and to its irreplaceable sense of place. Breathtaking historic restorations abound in center city, and many more are under construction or on the drawing board. The region is particularly blessed with first-rate historic attractions, most of which are connected to one another by San Diego's public transit system.

Centre City Development Corporation (CCDC), downtown's redevelopment agency, embarked on a Downtown Community Plan Update in 1992 that helped build the framework for center city's participation in City of Villages. The findings of CCDCs ambitious public outreach effort will be familiar to mayors, city councils, and urban planners everywhere in the United States:

• Is the central business district to be the region's major employment center, while still maintaining its historic, mixed-use character? If so, is the city at risk by devoting too much land to housing?
• Are housing initiatives providing enough opportunity and encouragement to bring families downtown?
• What about nearby amenities and commercial services for residents so that auto trips can be reduced?
• What about schools, parks, parking, services for the poor and homeless, affordable housing, and the amenities and attractions that bring so many tourists and conventioneers (and their money) to San Diego?
• Does the city need more light rail downtown, a transit mall, a shuttle to major destinations, and does it have the right mix of transportation choices?
• Is center city as pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly as it ought to be?
• Is the private auto going to receive equal billing with public transit?

Largely missing from these discussions was conscious consideration for the historic context of San Diego as a contributor to downtown and transportation revitalization -- not only the buildings and sites themselves, but the very street grids and pedestrian scale that make downtown San Diego so well-suited to transit. Despite the lack of discussion, many of San Diego' s efforts "on the ground" are affirming the link between historic areas and transit-supportive development.

The rail right-of-way purchased for the San Diego Trolley downtown connects many of the city's architecturally significant buildings. Restoration of historic structures is contributing substantially to transit-supportive development. Many of the mixed-use development projects planned and underway in the center city are careful restorations, adhering to the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties and generating federal income tax credits for their developers.

NORTH PARK NEIGHBORHOOD

San Diego's North Park neighborhood is located about four miles northeast of downtown, past the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park. Racially and ethnically diverse, North Park is home to about 50,000 people, and its design reflects its past as a classic older, urban streetcar neighborhood. Of the 22 businesses in the centermost block of North Park's commercial district, 15 are owned by individuals of different nationalities. The neighborhood's median family income is about $10,000 below the citywide median.

North Park's distinctive and treasured architectural gems are located along or near the older commercial sections of University Avenue. The neighborhood also boasts a large and notable collection of single- and double-story homes typifying the design and construction methods of the American Arts and Crafts movement of the early 20th century. Throughout North Park there is a diverse collection of California Bungalow, Prairie School, and Period Revival homes built between 1918 and 1941.

Image: The exquisitely restored Louis Bank of Commerce Building graces 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter

In 1996, North Park became the first Main Street program in the city of San Diego. The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Main Street Center is a comprehensive self-help process for revitalizing historic and traditional commercial districts in communities of all sizes and economic conditions. In keeping with Main Street's Four-Point Approach, North Park Main Street has been promoting economic and community revitalization by concentrating on physical improvements, strengthening organizational capabilities, promoting its assets and advantages, and building up the economic vitality of the community.

North Park Main Street partnered with San Diego's planning agency to develop a comprehensive planning proposal entitled the North Park Transit Village Project. The key components of the plan are to restore and maintain North Park's historic transit and pedestrian environment, fully revitalize the University Avenue business district, improve public transit, calm traffic, and make University Avenue itself safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. North Park Main Street is also enthusiastically advocating for the restoration of the historic Park Boulevard streetcar route from downtown San Diego to North Park, serving important destinations like the San Diego Zoo and Balboa Park along the way. North Park Main Street has even entered into an understanding with the owners of three remaining San Diego Class 1 streetcars from 1912 to pave the way for their restoration and reuse on the Park Boulevard route, should it be reestablished. The streetcar route was in service from 1907 to 1949 when it gave way to buses.

But the linchpin for North Park's participation in City of Villages is improving University Avenue on the one-mile segment from Interstate 805 on the east to Park Boulevard on the west, North Park's main street and one of the area's most dysfunctional arterials. The corridor is unsafe, congested, boasts the region's highest transit ridership, and is a major barrier for pedestrians because of inadequate crosswalks and excessive vehicle speeds. Nevertheless, North Park's many neighborhood organizations have long envisioned University Avenue as a pedestrian-oriented, mixed-use corridor, the redesign of which is essential to neighborhood revitalization.

To date, North Park has received $56,000 from the SANDAG Walkable Communities program and $14,000 in Community Development Block Grant Funds to perform preliminary design for University Avenue. The California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) has provided $300,000 to further refine the planning and feasibility study for the conceptual plan.

North Parks vision defines transportation improvements as essential to the principal goal of City of Villages to provide more housing and job opportunities in existing neighborhoods. More homes and jobs will require zoning changes for higher density and mixed use redevelopment in the vicinity of the transit corridor, which in the case of North Park, is also the community's commercial district. More residents and more transit patrons should translate into more customers for Main Street businesses.

It has been said of San Diego that it is a place where everyone plans, and this is certainly true of North Park itself. The North Park Transit Village Project is designed to be consistent with SANDAG's Regional Transportation Plan, MTDB's TransitWorks, and San Diego's General Plan of which City of Villages is a part. There is a Greater North Park Planning Committee and a North Park Main Street Design Committee, which produced a paper in 2000 entitled Destination North Park: Improving Transportation in North Park's University Avenue Corridor, to stimulate community conversation about comprehensive transportation investments to improve the University Avenue corridor.

North Park looks like older neighborhoods everywhere, underutilized and isolated by auto-dependent sprawl. Its old, intrinsic value as a walkable, mixed-use, mixed-income place is being reexamined, and the collection of woes that the auto age helped inflict upon North Park will be revisited in the process. University Avenue's conflicted personality as a main street-like commercial spine of an older neighborhood and a busy regional arterial will be one of the first items demanding analysis and healing.

THE BALLPARK DISTRICT

"This project has always been more than a ballpark. We are creating a vibrant downtown neighborhood, and this agreement enables us to preserve some of the character of the area and incorporate it into the redevelopment of East Village in a way that is consistent with the history of this part of downtown."
LARRY LUCCHINO,
FORMER PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, SAN DIEGO PADRES

When San Diego voters approved a new ballpark for the Padres in 1998 in the East Village neighborhood near City Centre, a major controversy ensued over a variety of adverse impacts the ballpark and ancillary development plans would have on historic resources.

Working with San Diego's Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), the National Trust for Historic Preservation placed the Arts and Warehouse District on its 1999 List of America's Most Endangered Historic Places to draw national attention to the potential loss and isolation of historic resources and to encourage San Diego and the Padres to look at alternatives that would keep the ballpark in Centre City and also save historic buildings slated for demolition in the original plan.

Discussions led to an agreement in September 1999 to save virtually all of the structures identified by preservationists as significant. Bruce Coons, SOHO's president, calls the new plan the best alternative available for preserving historic resources -- a unique and practical solution to the challenge of urban preservation.

San Diego Trolley's Orange and Blue Line stops at the East Village ballpark site, and many San Diego Transit bus routes provide direct and secondary access to the area as well as to the adjacent and recently expanded Convention Center and the highly popular Gaslamp Quarter.

San Diego has no minimum parking requirements in Centre City except for residential uses, and maximum parking limitations have been established for non-residential uses to reduce the parking supply downtown over time as a means to encourage the use of transit and car pooling. Additional parking for the ballpark and subsequent, phased redevelopment of the 26-block Ballpark District area featuring hotels, offices, retail, and residential space will be limited to approximately 4,000 spaces.

San Diego is preparing to mitigate anticipated parking shortages for weekday afternoon and weekend evening games by providing incentives, like transit passes, to encourage transit use by Ballpark service employees. Shuttle service to parking outside Centre City and incentives for greater trolley use by patrons during events will also be adopted.

In addition, San Diego is committed to two parking management plans prior to the first ballpark event, one for downtown and the other for residential neighborhoods adjacent to the ballpark. Attention is also being given to making it easier for patrons to walk to ballpark events.

"Development and the preservation of historic resources do not have to be mutually exclusive."
RICHARD MOE,
PRESIDENT, NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION

Image: Transit-supported night life in downtown San Diego is a key feature of city revitalization.

Signs of success

It is too soon to judge the outcomes for San Diego's City of Villages initiative or the MTDB's Transit First strategy. However, the robustness of the San Diego transit system and the very fact that City of Villages is so urgently needed attest to the presence of crucial ingredients for success in downtown San Diego and its near-in neighborhoods.

The much-admired San Diego trolley system serves 30 million riders per year, complemented by a bus system that serves 55 million riders. It remains one of the most cost-efficient rail systems anywhere and is emulated by transportation planners worldwide.

San Diego's core remains a desirable place to live and work, although high rents and a housing shortage loom as serious challenges. Citizens have been active participants in the City of Villages process, attending more than 200 public meetings and workshops during the past five years to develop and refine the goals and objectives of the program. In May 2003, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy announced seven finalists for the City of Villages pilot program, in which neighborhoods competed to receive financial and technical assistance toward development of transit-oriented development or redevelopment projects. Two of the finalists feature historic preservation or efforts to connect historic areas with newer developed areas. One of the finalists, the North Park Pilot Village, is featured on pages 34-35.

Lessons learned

When looking forward to accommodate growth, looking back helps too. San Diego's past will play a critical role in its future and will continue to contribute to community revitalization and the success of public transit. Much of what San Diego wants for its future was present in its past: travel choices, density, mixed uses, walkability, attractive and accessible public places, interactive social and economic diversity, and efficient land use.

A transit agency need not be a landowner to be a serious partner in joint development around transit stations. Because MTDB does not own substantial amounts of developable land at its stations, joint ventures with adjacent land owners have made sense for the agency's redevelopment of rail station areas since the 1970s. Success depends on supportive public policies and an understanding of the needs of private developers who are willing to participate. Small-scale joint developments have been worth pursuing because they generated revenues, provided visibility for the station, and tended to make station areas more attractive to riders. Agreements among local governments were made easier by the fact that MTDB board members are locally elected officials from its entire service area.

Contacts

Jay Turner, Executive Director
North Park Main Street
619-294-250
jay@northparkmainstreet.com

Miriam Kirshner, Senior Planner/City Liaison
Metropolitan Transit Development Board
619-557-4585
MKirshner@mtdb.sdmts.com

Angeles Leira, Principal Planner
The City of San Diego
619-236-6479
planning@sandiego.gov

Marc Wolfsheimer, Director of Communications
Downtown San Diego Partnership
619-234-0201
mwolfsheimer@downtownsandiego.org

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Bay Area, California

If at First You Don't Succeed ...

TRANSIT VILLAGES AND INTERMODAL CENTERS RECONNECT AND RESTORE COMMUNITIES

In their book Transit Villages in the 21st Century Michael Bernick and Robert Cervero call the San Francisco Bay Area "arguably the epicenter of America's budding transit village movement, with a constituency of public officials, developers, and planners, along with several of the most visible 'new urbanist' architects and designers united in the cause of creating a new type of community and built form." Although the Bay Area is widely known for its livability, coordination of land use and transportation planning, and the historic streetcar system in downtown San Francisco, the region has suffered its share of growing pains and serious missteps along the way to restoring a regional framework for transit.

The San Francisco Bay Area is served by four major rail systems: the San Francisco Municipal system (Muni), the CalTrain commuter system, Valley Transportation Authority (VTA), and the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART). Muni operates San Francisco's beloved trolleys, many of which are historic and run along routes that are rich in historic resources. CalTrain carries 30,000 passengers a day from San Jose to San Francisco up the west side of the Bay through San Mateo County. VTA is a 10-year-old light rail system that serves Santa Clara County, primarily downtown San Jose, until the system is further expanded. BART is the 500-pound gorilla of the five-county Bay Area, a 30-year-old heavy rail system that will connect all five counties ringing San Francisco within the next decade.

BART's first 20 years yielded few success stories for transit-oriented development. Transportation engineers conducted planning and station site design with little consideration to land use or community character. Dan Solomon, a San Francisco architect and co-founder of the Congress for a New Urbanism, has called the typical BART station "Fort BART, a killer of downtowns" because the standard design surrounds a station with a surface parking lot and other features that physically disconnect stations from the communities they are supposed to serve. BART "tore the heart out of the historic downtowns of many Bay Area cities," according to Solomon.

Over the past decade, BART has become more responsive to local planning, historic resources, and development issues. The system's officials now realize that cooperation with local government and community residents can boost ridership and improve the value of BART-owned property. In communities such as the Town of Hayward in Alameda County and the Fruitvale district of Oakland, BART is now helping correct the mistakes its planners made in the past. In San Jose, BART is working with local officials to enhance an already-vibrant downtown. Next to the San Jose downtown, the city and regional transportation officials are collaborating to create a world-class intermodal transportation center in a historic railroad depot, with a variety of nearby housing and employment choices in renovated historic structures and new infill developments.

According to Rod Diridon, a transportation expert who now chairs the Board of the California High Speed Rail Authority, "Throughout the world, rail stations focus growth. This is particularly important in California, where the population is expected to double to 60 million by 2040. The state's investment in urban stations is paying high dividends in the preservation of settled neighborhoods and historic buildings. We are protecting the best of the past to create a better future."

Image: The Diridon Station, located in the renovated 1935 Southern Pacific train depot, is an anchor for redevelopment in San Jose.

SAN JOSE DOWNTOWN

"Light rail was the critical element in recreating a 'there, there' in San Jose's downtown. The system was the catalyst in bringing back that historic place," according to Robert Cervero. Dan Solomon calls downtown San Jose "the single best example in the Bay Area of successful transit-oriented development."

"In reality, all downtown development in San Jose is transit-oriented development," says Dennis Korabiak, redevelopment program manager for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency. Notwithstanding the well-known deflation of the dot.com balloon and the substantial job and sales tax hits taken by Santa Clara County over the past two years, the Silicon Valley and its capital, San Jose, are alive and kicking. Transit, in all of its modes, may be the single most important reason."

Image: Within the next decade, the Diridon Station will serve light rail, BART, and high-speed rail.

Following the classic downtown doldrums of the 1960s, caused by the usual culprits, Santa Clara County voters appeared to understand that transit is a necessary part of economic revival. On four separate occasions over the last 25 years, county voters have approved half-cent sales tax increases to fund transportation projects, most of them rail transit. The first increase in 1976 was approved by more than the requisite majority vote, and now brings in more than $130,000,000 per year.

In 1986 the first light rail line, the Guadalupe line, was completed by the Santa Clara County Transportation Agency (in 1995 the name was changed to the Valley Transportation Authority, or VTA). Although BART has still not made it to San Jose, the area is well served by a combination of bus, light rail, CalTrain commuter service to San Francisco, and other lines to such cities as Sacramento and Stockton.

In the ongoing efforts to create a new "there, there" in the historic downtown and other target neighborhoods, VTA has worked exceptionally closely with the political power structure, the San Jose Planning Department and Redevelopment Agency, and major landowners such as the San Jose Water Company. All agree on the need for high-density housing downtown, despite the economic downturn, and on transit-oriented development as an important tool for a vibrant downtown. In downtown San Jose the strategy has been paying off in a number of ways, including the preservation of historic structures such as the Jose Theater, built in 1906, where Harry Houdini performed and Charlie Chaplin is said to have made a personal appearance. The Jose went from mainstream movies to Spanish-language films as the population shifted, and then went dark. Although on the National Register, it was slated for demolition as part of a larger redevelopment project. At the prodding of the local Preservation Action Council, the Redevelopment Agency worked with the private developer (Jim Fox, the head of Saratoga Capital) to save the building, which required seismic retrofit, and retain it for the performing arts.

A larger project, New Century Commons, is an 1896 building that includes 26 rental apartments on two stories and a ground-floor retail space currently leased by Zanotto's, a grocery store. The building connects to the larger Century Center Apartments project, which consists of 89 rental units and 16,000 square feet of retail. The San Jose Redevelopment Agency contributed nearly half of the $25 million cost of the housing component.

The De Anza Hotel, another National Register building was rehabilitated by Jim Fox with $10.5 million in private investment, supplemented by substantial assistance from the city and historic tax credits that the developer calls "indispensable." The project was completed in 1989, with a 14-month construction period, following an extremely short 6-month approval process by the Landmarks Commission and City Council.

Other historic residential rehabs include the Twohy Building, a local landmark that now houses residential lofts above ground-floor retail; the three-story Security Building, built in 1890 and seismically retrofitted in 1996 by Barry Swenson Builders, with offices above ground-floor retail; and the Leticia Building, a historic renovation project with fully tenanted offices. Because of light rail access, the city required no parking for this and other similar projects.

SAN JOSE DIRIDON STATION

The Diridon Station, the anchor of a development area for which San Jose city leaders have high hopes, started life in 1935 as the Southern Pacific Train Depot. In relative disrepair, the station was sold by Southern Pacific to the state transportation and public works agency, CalTrans, in 1980, then sold again in 1990 to the regional Joint Powers Board, made up of representatives from Santa Clara, San Mateo, and San Francisco Counties. During the 1990s it was rehabilitated with funding from CalTrans and VTA, and the parking lot was expanded. Placed on the National Register in 1993, the building was renovated in 1995. Upon completion, it was renamed Diridon Station, after Rod Diridon, a long-time member of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, one of the Bay Area's -- indeed the nation's -- foremost transportation experts. The station named for him can truly be said to be a model intermodal transportation terminal. Diridon Station is a hub for a dizzying array of services:

• the CalTrain San Jose/San Francisco commuter rail line;
• the Altamont Commuter Express, with daily trips between San Jose and Stockton;
• the Capitol Service intercity line run by Amtrak between San Jose and Sacramento;
• the Highway 17 Express feeder bus service to Santa Cruz, run by VTA and Amtrak; and
• the light rail Guadalupe line in downtown San Jose, run by the VTA.

Image: The historic Hyatt Sainte Claire Hotel faces out on San Jose's light rail line, along San Carlos Street.

Within the next decade, Diridon Station will also serve the following line expansions:

• the light rail expansion, currently under construction by VTA, which will connect to the Guadalupe line and extend to the City of Campbell (Southwest of San Jose), with completion scheduled for 2006;
• a long-discussed extension of the BART line from its current terminus in Fremont in the East Bay, through a tunnel under downtown San Jose, to Diridon Station. The line is in early design stage, with hoped-for completion in 2012; and
• High-speed rail from Los Angeles, projected for completion in 2012.

Jim Lightbody, deputy director for Transit Planning and Development at VTA, says, "It is critical that VTA and the city have worked jointly to ensure that the area around the Diridon Station receives the right kind of development to reinforce the substantial public investment in transit."

The present and planned transit use of the Diridon Station, together with the nearby multi-use arena, has sparked a substantial planning effort by the City of San Jose, several mixed-use private developments, and a rezoning proposal by the largest land-owner in the sector, the San Jose Water Company.

With the assistance of the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, VTA recently completed the final draft of a strategic plan to guide the long-term development of the Diridon station area. The plan covers more than 64 acres, representing 4 million square feet of commercial space and 2 million square feet of residential space in 1,800 housing units. The plan considers and coordinates a number of recent and current planning efforts, including the San Jose 2020 General Plan, the Midtown Specific Plan, Strategy 2000: Greater Downtown Strategy for Development, the Guadalupe River Park Master Plan, and the Delmas Park Neighborhood Improvement Plan. The station area's future would be guided by two major factors. First, the extensive transportation investments in downtown San Jose could make the city "the most important transit hub in the Bay Area." Second, demand for commercial office and high-density residential space remains strong in downtown San Jose, despite the economic downturn. The continued intensification of uses in the downtown area "provides the opportunity to reinforce the attractiveness of this urban center as a place to work and live," according to Strategy 2000. In particular, the plan states that the Diridon Station area "will be the most direct expansion zone for downtown and will enjoy high accessibility to a wide range of transit and the intermodal transit center [and] is therefore suited to the highest-density commercial office/mixed use development pattern, with a strong emphasis on lively pedestrian activity, entertainment uses, and a vibrant mix of local and national retail."

The plan specifies architectural excellence and historic preservation as part of a successful planning strategy, directing the community to "create an icon of Silicon Valley, with landmark architecture, retail and entertainment facilities, and civic and cultural space ... [and] enhance the existing urban and natural setting with reasonably scaled, environmentally responsible, pedestrian-oriented urbanism."

These are lofty goals, but already supported by the evident interest of private developers, as well as initial successes in the station area. Immediately across the tracks to the west of the station, the Castle Company has begun preliminary site work and toxic clean-up on the southern portion of a two-block high-density residential project that will feature 150 new condominium units. The second phase of the project includes the historic brick Del Monte cannery, which will be rehabilitated into 200 high-end condominiums.

Two blocks east of the Diridon Station, across the street from the arena, is an eight-acre parcel owned by the SJW Land Company, the real estate subsidiary of the San Jose Water Company. The land has been owned by the company for 50 years and is the site of their headquarters building, a 20,000-square-foot, two-story Spanish-style building on the National Register that will be incorporated into the company's proposed new development. The company has requested a zoning change to permit redevelopment of the parcel to include 350,000 square feet (364 units) of residential; 1,000,000 square feet of commercial; and up to 50,000 square feet of retail. The company hasn't decided whether to enter into a joint venture, develop the project alone, or pursue some other financing structure. Janelle McCombs, director of real estate for SJW, says the time is now ripe to seek approval for an ambitious planned development for the property: "We see this as a long-term strategic play. We are extremely optimistic about the future of the Diridon Station area. The station is clearly a major transportation hub that enhances our project, which in turn enhances the transportation hub."

FRUITVALE DISTRICT, OAKLAND

The Fruitvale district is the principal Latino community of the City of Oakland. Until the 1960s, the major shopping street in the community was East 14th Street, which was so popular it was known as "the second downtown of Oakland." The construction of huge regional shopping malls and discount centers undermined East 14th so much that by the 1990s, the street's retail vacancy rate had risen to 50 percent. Street crime, drug traffic, and disinvestment increased. A major job provider, the Del Monte Cannery, closed its doors.

Although the introduction of BART service to Fruitvale in the 1970s had greatly improved transit access to the area -- the station is the destination for nine bus lines traveling along East 14th Street, now known as International Boulevard -- BART's introduction also siphoned stable residents away to the far East Bay suburbs, where housing was cheaper. BART razed homes and stores to make way for the Fruitvale station, which was situated to literally turn its back on the community. The area around the station was lifeless. Passengers hurried to their cars and sped away.

Enter the Unity Council (formerly known as the Spanish-Speaking Unity Council), led by Arabella Martinez and Manuela Silva. The Council created the Fruitvale Development Corporation and Fruitvale Main Street program in the early 1990s to craft a remarkable turnaround for the neighborhood. Their efforts were so impressive, their early achievements so dramatic, their persuasive abilities and creative financing moves so stunning, that a new term should be coined to describe their approach: perhaps community instigation, rather than just involvement.

In 1992 the City of Oakland changed the name of historic East 14th Street to International Boulevard. The Unity Council worked with newly-elected City Councilman Ignacio de la Fuente to obtain $185,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for an ambitious program of store façade improvements, park and playground upgrading, graffiti removal, street lighting, and tree planting. The Council also used the funds to establish a neighborhood watch program that hectored and hassled drug dealers and adult bookstore and strip club operators until they folded their tents.

The Council also undertook efforts to rehabilitate older buildings and bring in private investors. The Council purchased the historic Masonic Temple for renovation and use as a community center. In 1993, the Council and Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris invited Transportation Secretary Federico Peña to Fruitvale. Peña arrived with a check for $470,000 to continue the International Boulevard renovation and to provide initial pre-development funding for the Fruitvale Transit Village.

FRUITVALE TRANSIT VILLAGE

When Martinez and Silva first conceived of a development project to bring back International Boulevard, they did not intend it to be transit-oriented. They simply wanted to develop a mixed-use project that would include multifamily housing for mixed income levels. The Unity Council did not envision a direct link to transit until BART unwittingly presented a golden opportunity in the form of a proposed 500-car parking garage in 1991.

The garage was to be sited in such a way as to further separate the BART station from the Fruitvale community and International Boulevard (then still known as East 14th Street). Although BART held initial public hearings as required under the environmental impact assessment process, local citizens were not really made aware of the problems the garage posed to the community. Martinez and Silva realized the danger and marshaled strong community objections at the final public hearings. Citizens did not oppose the parking garage itself, but rather the lack of focus on the Fruitvale community and its goals. The project was stalled until a better solution could be found.

BART, including members of the BART board and staff members such as Jeff Ordway and his colleagues in the BART Property Development Office, responded positively to the community's concerns. In the meantime, the Council took some steps to establish momentum for a completely fresh approach to the main commercial corridor.

The Fruitvale Development Corporation (FDC) owned nearby property it had earlier purchased from the Union Pacific Railway. BART agreed to take this property for its garage, in exchange for which FDC would take out a 95-year lease on the original BART site, on which to build the mixed-use Fruitvale Transit Village to provide a strong physical link to International Boulevard.

Phase I of the project consists of some 255,000 square feet and will cost approximately $65,000,000. The design, by architect Ernesto Vasquez, features 47 units of housing above 38,000 square feet of retail shops, restaurants, and a traditional mercado, or market plaza. Community resources will total 63,000 square feet and will include the headquarters of the Unity Council, the Cesar Chavez Public Library, childcare and senior centers, and a public plaza in front of the station, with a tree-lined pedestrian walkway to International Boulevard. Importantly, the project will also include La Clinica de la Raza Medical Center, a 47,000-square-foot outpatient and preventive care facility serving 15,000 families.

The financing of the Fruitvale Transit Village is an extraordinary blending of 501(c)(3) bond debt, enhanced by Citibank ($20,000,000) and grants from every governmental and foundation source imaginable, both local and national, from the Levi Strauss Foundation to the Ford Foundation, from a local library bond issue to grants from at least five federal agencies, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Transportation, EPA, the Federal Transit Administration, and even the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

In addition to the first phase of the Transit Village, the project team used $6,500,000 in HUD grants and city loans to develop an adjacent senior citizen housing project. This second phase of the Village, currently in the planning stage, is to include 200 units of housing and 30,000 square feet of commercial uses.

Image: The proposed Fruitvale Transit Village features a traditional mercado, or market plaza, and new retail, restaurants, and housing, all easily accessible to transit.

CITY OF HAYWARD

Hayward is located in Alameda County in the East Bay. As with thousands of small cities across the country, Hayward's once-vigorous downtown was dealt a mortal blow in mid-century, principally by the advent of several large shopping malls and discount warehouses nearby. Jesus Armas, city manager for Hayward, says, "The 1960s and 1970s saw a gradual and consistent decline in our downtown, aided and abetted by Proposition 13," the statewide ballot measure that passed in 1978, severely restricting property tax revenues.

The area between the BART station and downtown Hayward was declared a redevelopment area in 1985. With no tax increment financing in view yet, city officials had to choose their renewal efforts very carefully. Should redevelopment be focused on the old major shopping street, Foothill Boulevard, or around the BART station, three blocks to the west? Although the station was surrounded by surface parking lots, an auto dealership, and other low-level industrial uses, access to BART was strengthened by the inclusion of Alameda County Transit buses and a nearby Greyhound terminal. The city chose the station area, bought a large private parcel which they leased to BART for additional parking, and hired architect Dan Solomon to do a "recentering" plan to connect the station to the historic downtown. Solomon proposed tying the two sectors together with multifamily housing, retail uses, and a civic plaza. Although the city was not financially able to take serious steps to implement the plan, the seeds for revitalization were planted.

After Armas became city manager in 1993, the Hayward Redevelopment Agency sold land at a written-down value to a private developer for construction of 83 town houses. The project represented an effort by the city to follow some elements of the recentering plan as well as to partially subsidize needed higher-density housing.

HAYWARD CITY HALL

BART's newly established property development office, led by Jeff Ordway, enabled the City of Hayward and BART to work together to achieve transit-oriented development. Hayward and BART worked to reconfigure BART-owned and city-owned parcels to build a new City Hall in the heart of the project area. The project received $1,000,000 from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (a Bay Area regional body) to build a pedestrian walkway from City Hall to the BART station, consciously keeping a clear line of sight between the two.

Next, the two agencies jointly issued a Request for Proposals for private development, on a design-build basis, for the new City Hall and multifamily housing, on land occupied by parking and abandoned buildings. By then, BART had built a garage on the other side of the station and no longer required the surface parking lot.

After an attenuated selection process, the developer chosen by the city decided to build only the City Hall. The city then selected a developer for the residential portion who would only build for-sale units. BART balked at this, because basic policy is to lease its land long term, not sell it, so as to retain the opportunity to participate in increased property values over time. Although this policy is fiscally sound, it posed an obstacle to the for-sale housing opportunity.

Fortunately, Alameda County owned property nearby. The city bought this parcel and swapped it with BART for the land that had been the subject of the RFP. Patty Hirota-Cohen, senior real estate officer for BART, recalls, "This was a first for us. BART had never done such a land swap before. The swap enabled the city and the private sector to come together to build a new City Hall, offices, and housing. It turned out to be a win/win situation."

The city then sold the land for the development of City Walk, 77 town homes built by The Olson Company, a firm specializing in urban infill projects. The city did not have to write down the land cost because the transit-oriented planning and development added enough value to make the subsidy unnecessary.

Lessons learned

Think creatively about land ownership, leasing, and development arrangements. Public entities have varying approaches to land acquisition, ownership, and development that can pose obstacles to effective TOD. The "land swap" between the City of Hayward and BART is an inspired example of how agencies can work hand in hand to make development arrangements work for all parties. Fruitvale Transit Village is being constructed on the former BART surface parking lot, an elegant reclamation of valuable land for higher and better uses near transit.

Let the public into the process. BART would never have known how to change the agency's approach to station development without approaching the public first. Much of the credit for this turnaround belongs to groups like the Unity Council and city officials such as Hayward's Jose Armas and Fruitvale's de la Fuentes, who were prepared to bring to the table a local vision for their communities that could replace the original plans.

Make preservation an explicit, key element in TOD. In San Jose, VTA has aggressively pursued partnerships with political leaders, city planners, major public and private land-owners, and private developers to create a joint approach to guiding growth in the San Jose region that specifically recognizes the importance of existing historic buildings in downtown and nearby neighborhoods. The city's recently drafted redevelopment plan specifies architectural excellence and historic preservation as part of a successful planning strategy. In Fruitvale, the Unity Council's director Arabella Martinez says, "in both the ongoing renovation of International Boulevard and the planned uses for our project, we pick up elements of our existing neighborhood. We are most concerned that we integrate the new with the old and respect the community fabric."

Signs of success

The city agencies and nonprofit groups who have encouraged or undertaken transit-oriented development in San Jose, Fruitvale, and Hayward have provided the catalyst for private development of residential, retail, and office space in all these communities. The housing and civic improvements in Hayward have enabled the city to strike a profitable deal with the Albertson's grocery store chain to sell a parcel across from City Hall for a large, new supermarket and have led to the private redevelopment of 200 rental units across the BART tracks. According to Jesus Armas, "The real success here is the merging of two elements of the public sector with the private sector. Although other cities talk about TOD, we've actually done it."

The Fruitvale commercial district has experienced a dramatic transformation over the past 10 years, with storefront vacancies dropping from 40 percent to 1 percent during that time. Working with the National Main Street Center, the Unity Council has effected facelifts for more than 100 commercial properties in the area. In 2003, more than 50 business owners along International Boulevard voted to form a Business Improvement District to use 100 percent of the city fees collected from them for self-determined improvements to streets and services. The Transit Village is expected to attract an additional 11,000 transit riders to the Fruitvale station, already the ninth busiest in BART's 43-station system, and will reduce traffic and pollution in the station area. The Transit Village is expected to create up to 1,000 new jobs for the area.

San Jose's TOD redevelopments have successfully bucked the national trend toward significant vacancies in the upper floors of street-level retail properties. Typically, even in strong downtowns across the country, upper floors above retail have high vacancy rates. The San Jose projects have consistently tenanted the upper floors, particularly with high-density residential uses. Retail remains the weakest use, largely because of the existence of eight large regional shopping malls within an eight-mile radius. Restaurants, however, are doing well in the downtown, as cultural and entertainment events in various venues are drawing people to the area.

Developers who are targeting San Jose's redeveloped historic Diridon Station cite the station as a major draw. The Castle Company, which has made a niche for itself in developing medium-to-high density residential projects near transportation hubs, believes such projects are less vulnerable to economic downturns because they respond to a pent-up demand for housing near transit stations and downtown jobs.

One block west of the historic San Jose cannery project is the 250 unit Cahill, a rental housing project completed in August 2002 and fully rented within five months in a soft market. David Lynn is development director for the project's sponsor, Avalon Bay, a Real Estate Investment Trust that has built some 44,000 rental units nationally. According to Lynn, "We look at potential development sites for a variety of reasons. We are particularly seeking what we term 'supply-constrained' features. Transit stations are such features, particularly in the Bay Area, which is one of the most severely congested regions in the nation ... and getting worse. A transit station nearby differentiates our sites. The Cahill site is one of our favorites, because the neighborhood is especially interesting for our residents, who have active lifestyles. They are highly educated and work in high value-added jobs. There are good restaurants in the area. The arena, an excellent entertainment venue, is nearby, and the Alameda is an eclectic street. And adjacency to the Diridon Station is a key element."

Contacts

Jeff Ordway, Manager, Property Development Bay Area Rapid Transit
510-464-6114
jordway@bart.gov

Jim Lightbody, Deputy Director for Transit Planning and Development
Valley Transportation Authority
408-321-5745
lightbody@vta.org

Jesus Armas, City Manager
City of Hayward
510-583-4320
jesusa@ci.hayward.ca.us

Arabella Martinez, CEO
Unity Council and Fruitvale Development Corporation
510-535-6900
arabella@unitycouncil.org

Dennis Korabiak, Redevelopment Program Manager
San Jose Redevelopment Agency
408-794-1085
dennis.korabiak@ci.sj.ca.us

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Arlington Country, Virginia

Neighborhoods for Transit, Transit for Neighborhoods

THE ORANGE LINE RAIL CORRIDOR

Arlington County, Virginia is one of the Capital region's most desirable places to live. Just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the county is home to 190,000 people and more than 200,000 jobs. Arlington's neighborhoods have exemplified transit-oriented development since the turn of the 20th century. Transit investment spurred the initial development along Wilson Boulevard in the late 1890s, and transit investment was the crown jewel of the corridor's revitalization in the late 20th century.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

In the late 1890s, private developers created three 'commuter villages' -- Clarendon, Virginia Square, and Ballston -- along the new trolley lines serving Arlington County. Housing styles in these neighborhoods included four-squares, bungalows and Federal-revival residences. Young families attracted to these areas infused their neighborhoods with a spirit of civic enterprise that persists today in resident associations, park committees, and neighborhood activities.

In the 1930s and 1940s, thousands of new homes and garden-style apartments were built in Arlington to accommodate the federal government's expansion during the New Deal and World War II. One of the most prominent of the garden-apartment communities is Colonial Village, completed in 1940 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

By the early 1950s, the Clarendon-Virginia Square-Ballston area was a regional center for shopping, offices, and residences. The construction of the Capital Beltway in the 1960s pushed development away from Washington, and eroded Arlington's retail and office base.

Arlington revisited its land use planning and transit investment simultaneously in the 1970s, when the development of a master plan for Arlington County coincided with planning for the region's new Metrorail system. Close coordination of land use and transit planning during this crucial era enabled the county to direct major rail investment into the Wilson Boulevard corridor and build on existing street patterns that are conducive to transit use. The opening of the Orange Line in 1979 launched an unprecedented era of growth in Arlington County, guided by a transit-oriented General Land-Use Plan.

LAND USE AND TRANSIT

In the 1970s, extensive study and citizen participation led Arlington to ask the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority (WMATA) to reroute the proposed Orange Line from the median of Route 66 to the Wilson Boulevard/Fairfax Drive corridor. This action shifted development from the automobile-intensive Route 66 corridor, where park-and-ride facilities would have been required to serve the new Metro stations, to the historically transit-oriented Wilson Boulevard. This decision protected the property values and traditional character of neighborhoods in both areas by reducing auto traffic on nearby residential streets.

After finalizing the decision about the new rail route, Arlington County initiated its land use plan and developed flexible planning guidelines that gave clear instructions and incentives to developers of transit-oriented projects. The development community has taken full advantage of these guidelines, with confidence that their designs would be approved or easily amended to address county concerns.

WMATA now operates two Metrorail lines, the Blue and Orange, that serve Arlington County and connect the county to downtown Washington, D.C. and outlying suburbs. The Blue Line provides service to Ronald Reagan National Airport as well as the mixed-use developments of Pentagon City and Crystal City. The Orange Line serves the developing Rosslyn-Ballston corridor and Arlington's many residential communities. Five stations on the Orange Line have been the focus of intensive development: Rosslyn; Courthouse (with large-scale multiple-use developments for housing, retail, entertainment, government functions, and office space); Clarendon (an eclectic, mostly residential area with a bustling commercial core); Virginia Square, (site of a satellite campus for the state-run George Mason University); and Ballston (a residential/office/retail area anchored by a major shopping mall).

Metrobus and local bus services support rail service. Arlington County has limited parking at Metrorail stations through land-use policies that make walking easy and promote pedestrian access to Metrorail stations.

Image: Historic garden-style apartments provide affordable housing throughout Arlington County.

"Arlington has a long history of civic involvement in setting public policy. Much of our prosperity and growth is directly attributable to the grassroots participation of citizens who have cared about Arlington's future."
CHRISTOPHER ZIMMERMAN
2002 CHAIRMAN OF THE ARLINGTON COUNTY BOARD

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Arlington County's numerous citizen commissions have helped to engage, educate, and support a strong cadre of well-informed residents who understand the intricacies of land use and transit policies, and who have bought into a long-term course of action for their community. The county has come to be known regionally for "the Arlington Way" of successfully involving thousands of citizens directly in government decision making.

The Arlington County Planning Commission, established in 1956, is the chief citizen advisory group that advises the five-member Arlington County Board on land use matters. Members of the County Board are elected to terms long enough to permit them to learn about the issues at stake and take controversial stances. The county government has a high-caliber staff and low staff turnover to support the Board's decisions. Elected officials work hard to capture citizens' expertise in the planning process through appointments to numerous commissions, committees, and boards addressing neighborhood preservation and economic development.

In 1998 the Arlington County Planning Division created the Office of Neighborhood Services to emphasize the county's commitment to neighborhood services and to consolidate existing neighborhood preservation and improvement programs within one unit. The Office of Neighborhood Services consists of three service areas: neighborhood planning and service delivery, historic preservation, and capital improvement planning and development. The goals of the office include the following:

• Better communication between residents and county government;
• Increased county responsiveness to neighborhood needs and trends;
• More effective coordination among county departments on neighborhood services;
• Active citizen participation and civic awareness; and
• Effective neighborhood service delivery tailored to the needs of individual neighborhoods.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

Arlington has formed public-private partnerships in Metrorail station areas to bring residents, developers, and business interests together to discuss and resolve issues and to sponsor activities such as jazz festivals and an array of community events. Key partners include the Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership, the Clarendon Alliance, the Rosslyn Renaissance, and the Columbia Pike Revitalization Organization.

WMATA has played a significant role in the redevelopment of the rail corridor through the transit agency's Joint Development Program, particularly around the Ballston station, where WMATA controls just under 2 acres of land, enough for a sizeable redevelopment project. The Ballston station project is comprised of 200,000 square feet of office space, 277 residential units, 26,000 square feet of retail, plus a hotel, all at an estimated value of $135 million. WMATA owns a 99-year lease on the project and receives $450,000 in annual lease revenue, plus 8 percent of tenants' and developers' adjusted gross income. WMATA also realized profit from the sale of about 15,000 square feet of the parcel for residential development.

The county's Neighborhood Conservation Program (NCP), established in 1964, has financed neighborhood groups in self planned improvements to schools, playgrounds, street lighting, traffic controls, and sidewalks in 40 of Arlington's traditional neighborhoods. In 1999, when the program celebrated its 35th anniversary, Arlington residents voted $3.8 million in Community Conservation Bond funds for the NCP.

Neighborhood conservation and the partnerships exemplify the importance Arlington places on the "public-private collaboration [that] helps create a modern 'urban village' concept that seeks to preserve historical essence while providing up-to-date amenities," according to recent information from Arlington County.

Image: Arlington's modern "urban village" concept preserves the sense of the historic community while permitting up-to-date development

Signs of success

Arlington County residents enjoy the lowest tax rate in the Washington metropolitan region, with considerable help from the development in the Metrorail corridors. Using only 6 percent of the land in the county, the rail corridors produce almost half of the total tax revenues for the county. The local tax base has increased from $5.3 billion to $27.2 billion since 1980, the year after the Orange Line opened, and the value of homes has also increased.

Office space along Wilson Boulevard has more than doubled since 1980, and 53 percent of all the county's office space is located in the corridor. The two Metrorail corridors along the Blue and Orange Lines account for 67 percent of all jobs in Arlington County. The addition of over 15,000 residential units in the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor alone since 1980 represents 19 percent of the county's population and 23 percent of the total housing units. Almost 1 million square feet of retail space has followed the residential and office development, transforming Ballston from a declining area in neglect to a vibrant locale. The five stations in Arlington County account for 6 percent of Metrorail's weekday ridership throughout the entire Washington, D.C. region. Use of these stations has increased 41 percent since 1980.

Interest in preserving Arlington's historic resources was rare in the 1970s. Today, the effort is widespread, involving the county's Historical Affairs and Landmark Review Board, the Arlington Historical Society, the Arlington Heritage Alliance, and the Neighborhood Conservation Program. As of 2001, the County Board had designated 28 local historic districts.

Lessons learned

Engage citizens and business people in long-term planning and development. Today's informed resident or business owner could be tomorrow's planning commissioner, council member, or even mayor. Support ad hoc mechanisms (focus groups, charettes, and so on) with standing citizen committees, permanent community liaisons at planning commissions, or routine training for citizens and elected officials.

Make planning guidelines flexible and realistic, and include incentives for high-density development. Arlington has demonstrated that the integration of land use and transportation planning need not be overly prescriptive or constraining. The development community has taken advantage of flexible planning guidelines and incentives for greater densities because they are confident that their projects are viable both economically and according to planning guidelines. The result is significant regional growth in a compact, older area of the region.

Define and protect your community's particular strengths. In Arlington, for example, the variety and historical significance of housing types increase the county's attractiveness in the regional marketplace. The convenience derived from mixing uses and transportation choice adds to the value of all real estate.

Contacts

Robert Brosnan, Division Chief, Arlington County Planning Division
703-228-3525
rbrosnan@co.arlington.va.us

Alvin McNeal, Manager, Transit-Oriented Development Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority
202-962-1240
amcneal@wmata.com

Paul Ferguson, Chairman, Arlington County Board
703-228-3130
countyboard@co.arlington.va.us

Sona Virdi, Executive Director, Clarendon Alliance
703-276-0228
sona@clarendon.org

Julie Martin Mangis, Executive Director, Ballston-Virginia Square Partnership
703-528-3527
ballstonvasquare@aol.com

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Chicago, Illinois

Transit Line Reconstruction Lends Muscle to West Side Conservation

THE GREEN LINE CONSERVATORY STATION PROJECT

Chicago's history is full of transformations and miraculous recoveries. Taking its name from a Native American word for "strong," the city was already a center for river and railroad transportation before the Great Chicago Fire threatened to undo all its progress in a single night. In a characteristic burst of energy and vision, Chicagoans used the fire's devastation as a jumping-off point for revising and rebuilding the city, ushering in its Golden Age, as symbolized by the 1893 World's Columbia Exposition and the establishment of a rich and diverse architectural heritage, embodied in the city's 1909 master plan by architect Daniel Burnham.

Today the city is once again enjoying a remarkable comeback. Under the leadership of Mayor Richard M. Daley, Chicago has stemmed the population losses caused by earlier middle-class flight and urban disinvestment. Through the rehabilitation of older neighborhood assets and significant new construction, the city is attracting residents and revenues. Chicago's population, now approaching 3 million people, grew 4 percent during the 1990s.

Chicago's recent rehabilitation of the Green Line rail route and stations has dovetailed with the revitalization of several communities along the Green Line, including the predominantly African American community of West Garfield Park. The upgrade of the city's oldest elevated line and strategic relocation of the rail station have significantly complemented the longtime efforts of a private nonprofit group, Bethel New Life, to revitalize the area. More recently, the city has completely restored the historic Garfield Park Conservatory, within walking distance of the station. The renewed conservatory has attracted thousands of weekend transit users from all over the city and has made this community a focal point for cultural events and tourism. Through its work on the Green Line Conservatory Station and the Garfield Park Conservatory, Chicago has balanced and enhanced the interplay of history, civic character, ethnic diversity, and public transportation that make this great city so unique.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

West Garfield Park is located on Chicago's West Side, an area that historically was home to immigrants from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe, and became predominantly African American during the past century. The area is served by the Lake Branch of the Green Line, built in 1892. At the center of West Garfield Park is one of the city's great open spaces, the 185-acre park that gives the neighborhood its name. The park's crown jewel is a 1908 conservatory that has been described as a work of "landscape art under glass." The Park Conservatory is within a half-mile of the Chicago Transit Agency (CTA) Conservatory Station. Until recently this area was overrun with drug traffic and crime, and attracted few outside visitors.

In the mid-1990s, CTA initiated a program to reconstruct and rehabilitate its oldest lines, starting with the Green Line in 1994. The $300 million project was funded with a combination of FTA rail modernization grants, matched by state and local funds. The restoration of the Green Line and the rebuilding of the Garfield Park Station helped to spur the rehabilitation of the conservatory. Both efforts have complemented existing initiatives to establish high-quality affordable housing and create jobs and cultural amenities in the area. Much of the revitalization activity is the work of Bethel New Life, a faith-based nonprofit group that has brought an estimated $110 million of new investment into this credit-starved community, creating more than 1,000 new units of affordable housing and securing 5,000 job placements in West Garfield Park since 1979.

GREENING THE GREEN LINE

Chicago's public transportation network is one of the world's most sophisticated, with railroads, transit, and bus routes reaching out in all directions to connect the city with its region. In addition, Chicago is the nerve center for passenger and freight rail in the United States.

CTA is the largest transit provider in the Chicago region. CTA's 11 rapid transit lines provide access throughout the city and in the surrounding suburban communities. Annual ridership on the rail lines exceeds 151 million trips. Ridership has increased steadily since 1998, helped by recent growth in population and employment.

Image: The rebirth of the Garfield Park Conservatory complemented the redevelopment of the Garfield Park Station on Chicago's Green Line elevated rail route.

Within this complex network, the three-branched, 25-station Green Line serves the West Side. Riding the Green Line from end to end demonstrates the diversity and contradictions of the city it serves: Its span connects industrial wastelands with genteel residential areas, breathtaking historic sites with brand-new construction, and open green spaces with busy urban streets. West Garfield Park and the conservatory at its heart combine many of these contradictions, and with them come both challenges and opportunities.

Image: The restored Garfield Park Conservatory, served by nearby transit, now attracts 15 times more visitors each year than in 1995.

Undertaken by the Chicago Park District, the restoration of the conservatory began in 1994, the same year that CTA began to reconstruct the West Garfield Park elevated train station. Although the station rehabilitation helped the Chicago Park District raise public and private resources, in typical Chicago fashion it also took a disaster to drive home the importance of preserving the conservatory. In the winter of 1994, a burst pipe froze and killed most of the rare and tropical plants housed inside the conservatory. "That was the wake-up call," says Lisa Roberts, director of conservatories for the Chicago Park District. Faced with demolition or an $8 million restoration effort, the city bravely chose restoration. This former "ghost town" (with only 3,000 visitors in all of 1995), is once again a green oasis, attracting 15 times that many visitors in more recent years, and drawing a record-breaking 500,000 visitors to a recent show of glass works by artist Dale Chihuly.

Just as the Green Line rehabilitation enhanced the restoration of the West Garfield Park Conservatory, so has the conservatory's rebirth enhanced 20 years of housing and business redevelopment efforts in the area. The faith-based community development organization Bethel New Life, established in 1979, has implemented a holistic community revitalization plan that addresses housing, daycare and educational needs, traffic, neighborhood safety, recreation, and open spaces. Bethel New Life, which itself has been the engine of so much change in this challenging community, calls the redevelopment of the conservatory "one of the major breakthroughs for this neighborhood." Bethel New Life is building on the twin assets of a renewed historic park preserve and new train station to develop and implement plans for additional community reinvestment in West Garfield Park, including new homes in Parkside and three other areas, and a new commercial investment at the adjacent Green Line station at Lake and Pulaski with child care, community stores, and local jobs.

Image: Mayor Daley (second from left) performs the honors at ribbon-cutting for the Children's Garden at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Contacts

Linda Fuller, General Manager, Facilities Development
Chicago Transit Authority
312-432-7053

Felicia Dawson, Director of Community Building, Bethel New Life
773-826-5540
fdawson@bethelnewlife.org

Eunita Rushing, Executive Director, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance
773-638-1766
erushing@garfieldpark.org

Lisa Roberts, Director of Conservatories, Chicago Park District
312-746-5995
lisa.roberts@chicagoparkdistrict.com

Signs of success

The recent infrastructure revitalization efforts are helping the city make better use of existing infrastructure, particularly transit, which once supported larger populations living and working within the city's borders. CTA relocated and retained the original historic station houses along the Green Line, supplementing them with new compatible construction that is ADA-compliant and modernized. During 2001, customers took one million more rides on the Green Line than in 1993, its last full year of service before it was closed for the rehabilitation. In fact, growth in ridership from 1990 to 2000 exceeded the growth in the region's population. Ridership on the Lake Branch alone, along which the Conservatory Station is located, has grown by more than 52 percent since 1993. Annual ridership was nearly 9.5 million in 2001.

The conservatory has become a center of community and commercial activity. The Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, in partnership with public and private organizations, constructed an Urban Demonstration Garden at the conservatory in 2001 to teach gardening techniques specific to the challenges of urban spaces and to work with Westside community groups and residents to create, sustain, and improve neighborhood green spaces.

In May 2003 the Chicago Park District opened the Garfield Market, a green market that converts a historic building and rustic grounds at the conservatory into a European-style open-air bazaar offering unique green products from local merchants each weekend. The market also houses CityEscape Garden Center, a 10,000-square-foot privately operated landscaping store begun by a first-time local business owner, as well as 12 "green-friendly" shops. The Garfield Market adaptively reuses an old horse stable once used by the Chicago Park District.

"A park should draw and attract visitors from around the city and those who live nearby," said Chicago Park District General Superintendent David Doig. "At Garfield, exhibits such as Chihuly: A Garden of Glass and Chocolate Festival have made tremendous progress calling residents back to the historic hothouse, and now with the addition of The Green Market, selling products and foods, we hope visitors will extend their stay and neighbors will return to the Conservatory."

The rehabilitation of the Green and Brown Lines, two of Chicago's elevated rail lines, has spurred reinvestment in the areas adjacent to the lines. Bethel New Life has built almost 40 new homes in the area since 1994, replacing derelict apartment buildings that had become drug dens.

Lessons learned

Look into the activities of nonprofit and faith-based groups in challenged neighborhoods. Nonprofit housing developers are avatars of redevelopment in traditional and older neighborhoods. They are also natural partners in creating transit-supportive communities.

Never underestimate the power of a single historic landmark to be a flash point of community pride. The restoration of the Garfield Park Conservatory created the opportunity for residents and visitors alike to see the surrounding neighborhood in a new light and consider it a Chicago destination in its own right.

Stay aware of major transit investments in the vicinity of historic resources. In the case of the Garfield Park Conservatory, the rehabilitation and relocation of the Conservatory Station helped the Chicago Park District raise critical resources, both public and private, to save the site.

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Cleveland, Ohio

Reawakening a Historic Commercial District

SHAKER SQUARE SHOPPING CENTER

Cleveland Union Terminal has epitomized the concept of transit-oriented development in that city since the terminal's dedication in 1930. Now known as Tower City, the refurbished intermodal station in downtown Cleveland features a huge office and retail complex, the result of a public/private partnership led by the city's leading entrepreneurial family, the Ratners.

The original builders of Tower City were not interested in transit oriented development, as we know it today. Instead, M.J. and O.P. Van Sweringen -- two brothers affectionately known as "the Vans" -- were interested in development-oriented transit. Owners of several railroads and transit companies, the Vans initiated rail routes from downtown to the garden-city suburb they were developing in Shaker Heights, east of Cleveland.

Like Tower City, the retail center in Shaker Heights has been recently restored and upgraded. Conceived when trolleys and automobiles had just begun to share the streets, Shaker Square was designed to serve and enhance the surrounding neighborhood. The story of the creative public-private venture that brought new life to Shaker Square offers practical lessons for how communities can encourage local businesses, increase transit use, and reinvigorate residential areas while attracting visitors by transit.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

In 1905, the Van Sweringen brothers purchased property in a former Shaker community on the heights east of Cleveland. Inspired by the rural setting, and with a keen interest in city planning and design, the brothers envisioned one of the country's first "garden-city" suburbs with a mixture of handsome houses, apartments, shops, schools, and places of worship along tree-lined streets, interspersed with parks and lakes.

The brothers formed the Cleveland Interurban Railroad to bring streetcar lines and prospective homeowners from downtown Cleveland to the suburban homes they were building on lots east of the current location of Shaker Square. Dissatisfied with the streetcars' slowness and delays because of competing horse and automobile traffic, the Vans built a grade-separated trolley line to enhance service between Shaker Square and downtown. The "rapid," as it was known, ran through Shaker Heights along the landscaped median of Shaker Boulevard, flanked by cartpaths for local travel. The line was eventually connected to the newly dedicated Cleveland Union Terminal in 1930.

Shaker Square, a retail center, opened in 1929. Located at the intersection of Shaker and Moreland Boulevards, the Square featured a trolley station and public green at the heart of a walkable network of shops, offices, and apartment buildings along landscaped boulevards, with streetscapes designed for walking. A limited number of curbside parking spaces fronted the stores, and larger lots were located behind the stores to accommodate foot traffic in the retail area.

In 1976, a half-century after its design was approved, Shaker Square and its surrounding apartment complexes were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. By that time, the once-vibrant shopping center was on the wane, and its many local owner-operated shops were struggling to keep up with newer, larger shopping centers in distant suburbs. Vacancies in Shaker Square were increasing and the center's physical plant was threatened with decline.

For Adam Fishman and Randy Ruttenberg, partners in a local development company, CenterPoint Properties, and residents of Shaker Heights, going to the Square had been a way of life. Sensitive to its history and role in the community, they began to formulate ideas for how to bring the Square back.

Image: The Shaker Square RTA Light Rail Station shuttles residents and visitors to this newly revitalized commercial district to enjoy unique shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

SHAKING UP SHAKER SQUARE

Working with its development partner the Rosen Corporation, the development team of CenterPoint Properties sought a mix of tenancies that would not only meet the everyday needs of neighborhood residents, but would serve more discretionary demand and draw people from beyond the primary market area with unique shops, boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues.

An important consideration in selecting tenants was to match the pocketbooks of the community. The average household income within the Square's primary trade area is more than $94,000, and incomes in the Shaker Heights neighborhood to the east are even higher. The western portion of the Shaker Square neighborhood, which includes many of the apartment complexes, is also among Cleveland's highest-income communities, but averages a more moderate $32,000 per household. That population includes a high proportion of young professionals, with significant discretionary spending habits despite lower overall income. The developers planned to create a tenant mix that would appeal to the range of middle- and upper-income households within the shopping area. CenterPoint also wanted to carefully balance national, regional, and local stores: "We didn't want just another center filled with the same national chains," says Fishman. Several of the existing tenants were seen as local institutions, and enjoyed strong local support. Fishman and Ruttenberg wanted to retain these and attract other local stores and restaurants. The developers set aside space for only a handful of recognized national retailers.

Fishman's vision for a tenant mix that included non-chain tenants was informed by the 1997 experience of the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) in leasing space in Shaker Square's historic transit station. Maribeth Feke, GCRTA's director of planning, recalls the agency's enthusiasm over a proposal by McDonald's to replace the station's outgoing tenant, undertake $250,000 in renovations, and pay a high annual rent. Now, Feke admits the agency blundered: "There was major opposition from the local community, and it made all the papers. There was even a group formed called MAM: Moms Against McDonald's." Chastened, Feke reached out to the community. Although residents made it clear that a national fast-food chain was out of the question, they also suggested a hometown alternative: a diner.

A second RFP was issued, and Michael's Diner became the station tenant. The proprietor invested $150,000 toward rehabilitation and finishes. GCRTA contributed $35,000 from their station renovation fund for mechanical system and roofing upgrades. The diner opened in 1997.

Since then, GCRTA has completely revamped its approach to station area projects and leases. "We now have a neighborhood representative at the table from the beginning," notes Feke, "and we go to the community throughout the process. We learned a valuable lesson."

Image: Trendy shops, such as the ones pictured, cater to the growing number of residents in the Shaker Square neighborhood.

"We wanted a mixture of tenants that created synergy, making the Square an exciting and fun place."
ADAM FISHMAN
CENTERPOINT PROPERTIES

THE REMAKING OF SHAKER SQUARE

After about 18 months of negotiations and planning, CenterPoint launched an extensive community outreach effort. Reid Robbins, executive director of the Shaker Square Area Redevelopment Corporation (SHAD), a community development corporation that serves much of the surrounding community and focuses on the Square, reports that the developers "attended a ton of meetings, worked really hard, and did really well." Despite minor controversies over repositioning some tenants, Robbins recalls that CenterPoint's sensitivity to community and design issues, combined with strong support for saving the Square, assured that the proposals would be well received.

The project began in 2000, and was largely completed and leased within 12 months. Approximately 132,000 square feet of retail and 29,000 square feet of office area accommodates 56 different tenants. Initial anchor tenants included the upscale Wild Oats Market grocery store; Joseph Beth Booksellers, a regional bookstore and cafe; and Shaker Square Cinema, a refurbished historic movie house under a new, local owner. Other tenants include a variety of restaurants, from moderately priced to upscale; clothing stores; specialty stores offering housewares and kitchen accessories; stationary and gift shops; bakers and confectioners; art and photo galleries; hairdressers and spas; and a bank.

To accommodate the grocery store, three existing vendors were moved, their former store spaces combined, and the building footprint expanded. Parking was added to an enlarged rear lot. Aside from those alterations, the original Shaker Square structures were retained and restored. Extensive upgrades included awnings and a signage regime, all approved through the local historic review procedures. The streetscapes and public areas throughout the complex were also improved. To enhance pedestrian activity, outdoor cafe spaces were added at some restaurant locations, and the developers have also programmed outdoor events and occasional street performers on the public greens.

FINANCING

Total project costs were projected at $25.6 million. Fishman and Ruttenberg raised approximately $17.3 million from conventional debt and equity sources, leaving an $8.3 million gap. To make up the shortfall, CenterPoint cobbled together a wideranging public-private partnership involving state, county, and local officials and community development organizations.

A particularly interesting aspect of the gap financing was the role of tax increment financing (TIF). Although Shaker Square is located entirely within Cleveland's city limits, 80 percent of the area's property falls within the Shaker Heights School District. The developers had to secure approval for a TIF bond from both Shaker Heights and Cleveland. After a number of presentations, the developers were able to convince both jurisdictions that the investment in revitalizing Shaker Square would be in their interest. Without it, the property was likely to continue to lose value and tax revenues decline. With the TIF, values and tax revenues were certain to rise.

Shaker Heights agreed to forgo taxes on 75 percent of increased value for a period of 25 years. The jurisdiction would collect increased revenues against the remaining 25 percent. Cleveland agreed to forgo 100 percent of increases in non-school tax revenues for a period of 30 years.

Bond purchasers also had to be assured not only that the tax base would be adequately expanded to produce revenues to pay off the bonds, but that the project would have the resources to make the service payments in lieu of taxes to the bond fund as well. This combination proved difficult. In an unprecedented move for a private project, the Cuyahoga County Commissioners stepped in with a pledge to support the bonds. With the enhanced credit provided by that pledge, Cleveland Tomorrow, a community boosting subsidiary of the Cleveland Development Bank, and Neighborhood Progress, Inc., a community investment subsidiary of Village Capitol Corporation, purchased the bonds.

Contacts

Adam Fishman and Randy Ruttenberg
CenterPoint Properties
216/514-8700
fishman@cntrpoint.com, rruttenberg@cntrpoint.com

Maribeth Feke
Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
216/566-5160
mfeke@crta.org

Reid Robbins
Shaker Square Area Development Corporation
216/421-2100
reidr@shad.org

Signs of success

Today, historic Shaker Square has been completely renovated. Building exteriors have been restored and interiors rehabilitated, streetscapes upgraded and enlivened with cafes and awnings, and the public green space improved. The area is alive with activity throughout the day and into the evening. The $4.1 million tax base prior to renovation grew into $18.5 million in just two years.

When the project started, 31 percent of the space at the center was vacant. Within a year, the project was able to attract new and replacement tenants, reaching virtual full occupancy. CenterPoint met its initial base rent projections and is realizing additional percentage rents from a number of tenants, a clear sign of good sales. Before renovation and repositioning, average rents at the Square were between $7 and $9 per square foot. Rents now average between $17 and $24, triple net. Net operating income produced from the center has quadrupled.

One anchor tenant, Wild Oats Market, closed in 2003, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the retail area in the complex. The Boulder-based company cited corporate problems and restructuring that resulted in the closing of a number of locations across the nation. CenterPoint was in active discussion with replacement grocers as this report went to press.

Transit use has been depressed throughout Cleveland since the national economic downturn. Boardings at the Shaker Square station are no exception. GCRTA's Feke believes that the numbers for Shaker Square might have been worse without the renovation. The transit agency's anecdotal evidence suggests that the project has generated new trips to see the reborn facility: "I have talked with many people who have a renewed interest in taking the train to Shaker Square," says Feke. "It is being seen as a destination by folks who had not gone there before and by those who had been there but not for a long time because the area had lost its luster."

Robbins agrees: "We are getting people from downtown and westside urban types riding out for a nice evening at the restaurants and shops. Before, there was none of that."

Image: The land use and urban design concept of Shaker Square has proven to have enduring merit.

Lessons learned

Notice and respect what has withstood the test of time. The land use and urban design concept of Shaker Square has proven to have enduring merit. The transit station is integrated into a shopping and service complex at the center of a moderate- to high-density residential community, which continues to provide the foundation for both shop patrons and transit ridership. Shaker Square locates parking to the rear of stores to preserve the historic character and accommodate pedestrians. Walkable, appealing streetscapes lead to the station and a public green, reinforcing the Square as the center of community activity.

Encourage public-private partnerships. The combined clout of private development know-how with public resources and informational mechanisms for raising public awareness can greatly assist in a retail redevelopment of any scale.

Reach out to the public early and often. CenterPoint made a substantial investment in community outreach. Their programs were not only informed by those contacts, but the investment laid the foundation for community support for renovation plans, public participation in financing, and ultimately patronage of transit and stores as well.

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Evanston, Illinois

Bustling 'Burb Boasts Intermodal Connection

DAVIS STREET TRANSPORTATION CENTER DEVELOPMENT

Evanston, a suburban city 13 miles north of Chicago's Loop along Lake Michigan, has been linked to Chicago throughout its history by rail lines, trolleys, and buses. Incorporated in the late 1800s, Evanston is now home to 74,000 people.

Evanston's recently completed Davis Street Transportation Center has given the community a single facility to serve as a hub for commuter rail (Metra), regional subway (the Chicago Transit Authority), and suburban bus services (PACE). The Transportation Center is the only transfer point outside the City of Chicago that brings all three transit providers together. As a result, the Davis Street Center is the twelfth most active transfer point in the Chicago region.

More than just a connection for rail and bus service, however, the Davis Street Transportation Center is a strong contributor to the broader redevelopment of downtown Evanston. Coupled with focused investment within the station area, Evanston has strengthened its overall market appeal for employers, while providing creative housing and retail opportunities to draw residents downtown, and offering incentives to developers to preserve and reuse historic commercial buildings.

Evanston's current comprehensive plan emphasizes creating "an attractive, convenient, and economically vibrant" mixed-use downtown, and offering "safe, affordable, and easily accessible alternatives to the automobile." The earlier development patterns support these goals well. Developers are finding new uses for older assets, supported by transit service and anchored by the Davis Street Transportation Center.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Downtown Evanston developed as a traditional suburban center with a mix of retail and small office space, pedestrian facilities, strong public transit service, and a variety of architectural styles. As shopping centers were built along new highways, retail activity in Evanston's downtown declined. But the pedestrian orientation, mix of architectural styles, and access to public transportation remained.

Redevelopment efforts during the late 1980s focused on creating office space for high-tech organizations, which in turn led to the construction of the Evanston Research Park in downtown, on land located between the Chicago Transit Agency (CTA) and Metra rail lines.

Beyond the Research Park initiative, the city's redevelopment plan for downtown Evanston emphasized mixed uses, including residential, and creating a "24/7" environment. Early projects included a hotel, a movie complex, additional parking, a grocery, 280 rental apartments, and a new office tower near the Davis Street Transportation Center. The growth of traffic congestion throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, changing demographics, and the desire for urban amenities without all the urban headaches helped to make the 1990s the strongest real estate market since the 1920s for Evanston. The new area of development is focused within walking distance of the Transportation Center.

REDEVELOPING YESTERDAY'S EVANSTON FOR TODAY

A number of older buildings are within walking distance of the Davis Street Transportation Center. Many of these buildings have been adapted to new uses. The variety of architectural styles and periods contributes to Evanston's uniqueness, and the physical context provides an interesting place where people want to be.

To support its redevelopment efforts, Evanston uses tax increment financing (TIF) districts to fund extraordinary costs for site preparation such as the cost of demolition, environmental remediation, parking structures, and streetscape improvements. The City of Evanston does not usually use tax abatements. The county provides for reduced assessments for landmark buildings and reimbursement of state sales tax.

Developers have recognized the market appeal of a downtown location with easy access to good transit services, as well as the advantages of redeveloping older buildings. The Davis Street Land Company, for example, has transformed the Chandler's Building (a 25,000 square-foot former variety store built in 1929) into a mixed-use development with ground-level retail and office space above . The project, located one block from the Davis Transportation Center, involved tearing down a smaller nineteenth century structure that was determined to be unusable and redeveloping the five-story L-shaped 1929 building. The county designated the building a historic landmark and granted it a 10-year tax abatement, a critical element in the project's success. No parking was provided for the project. The developer, who spent $4.3 million on the project, also made use of the federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

Image: Left and Below: The Davis Street Transportation Center in Evanston, Illinois is a hub for intermodal transportation serving the community.

The City of Evanston participated in financing the costs of the public plaza in front of the building through a TIF district.

A former Marshall Field department store built circa 1910 has been converted into 55 condominiums with 43,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, including a community church. The building at 807 Church Street is located in the heart of downtown, just a short walk from the Davis Street Transportation Center. The developer, Creative Designs and Builders, transformed the building into rental housing in the early 1980s, converting to market-rate condominiums in 2001. The cost of transforming the department store to housing was $4.2 million, all financed privately.

In recognition of the importance of pedestrian facilities to downtown redevelopment and transit access, Evanston created a special service district in the downtown to provide for pedestrian and streetscape improvements, and property owners agreed to tax themselves to provide funding for these improvements.

Parking spaces have been added in the downtown to support the new development. In one garage, the 1,400 spaces are shared (commuters use the spaces during the daytime, and retail and movie goers use the spaces during the evenings and on weekends). The city encourages shared parking to reduce the overall number of spaces required to serve the different, non-competing uses.

Image: The historic Chandler's building shown here during a veteran's parade through downtown Evanston, now offers mixed retail and office space in 25,000 square feet, just steps from the new Davis Street Transportation Center.

Signs of success

Evanston is enjoying its strongest real estate market since the 1920s, as developers and citizens discover that close-in suburbs offer a mixture of architectural styles, around-the-clock activities, and the convenience of a good pedestrian environment and transit alternatives.

From 1998 to 2003 more than $300 million of private funds have been or will be invested in more than 600,000 square feet of commercial/retail space, more than 1,000 residential units, and almost 3,000 new parking spaces.

New and old buildings together have created a renewed "sense of place," which is leading to more proposals for residential, retail, and commercial spaces. As older buildings are converted to new uses, they have added to Evanston's revenue base through sales and real estate taxes. On the Chandler Building, Evanston has more than doubled its tax revenue from sales and real estate taxes as a result of the rehabilitation, even with the landmark tax abatement.

Transit ridership accounts for more than 12,000 weekday trips to and from downtown Evanston. Metra, the commuter rail operator, has had the greatest growth in riders, almost 150 percent between 1983 and 1999. CTA rail accounts for the greatest number of trips, roughly 7,000 each weekday.

The development and redevelopment in downtown Evanston have increased off-peak weekend trips as well as weekday. As the downtown adds new office, residential, and retail uses, the market for transit grows. The relationship is synergistic: Good transit encourages more development, which in turn increases transit ridership.

Lessons learned

Use local transit planning efforts to give your community a sense of direction and commitment, opening the way to private-sector development and investment. When Evanston sought to revitalize its downtown in the 1980s, it put forward a comprehensive vision and set of planning goals to encourage transit use, retail, and new workers in the suburban center. Improvements to the transit infrastructure through the Davis Street Center have reinforced the local planning efforts.
Encourage a mixture of old and new buildings that offers a physical context and visual interest, and that adapts to a range of activities. Most older suburban areas have the infrastructure and range of building types to attract new uses and activities. These areas also have underdeveloped lots and sometimes brownfields that are available for new development. Evanston's planning guidelines provide for a variety of uses and building types, making the downtown equally attractive for historic preservation projects, adaptive reuse, and new construction.

Contacts

Dennis Marino
Assistant Director for Planning, Community Development Department
847-866-2928
dmarino@cityofevanston.org

Lynette Civarella
Principal Planner, Metra
312-322-8022

Bob Perlmutter
Davis Street Land Company
847-425-4004
rperlmutter@dslandco.com

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Gaithersburg, Maryland

Progressive Parking Strategy Creates Transit-Supportive Development

OLDE TOWNE REVITALIZATION

When civic leaders began the revitalization of Gaithersburg's historic downtown, transit was not the primary focus of attention. Although the Maryland Transit Administration operates a MARC commuter rail line through Gaithersburg, and a historic 1884 commuter train station stands at the town center, commuter service was perceived as a means for residents to leave Gaithersburg for job locations elsewhere, not a mechanism for attracting riders to Gaithersburg.

Gaithersburg town officials were seeking ways to create a mixture of land uses downtown; attract new business patrons, workers, and residents; make better use of existing and often historic properties; and stimulate complementary infill projects that reinforced traditional small-town character. An overarching objective was to accommodate automobile parking for all those hoped-for new workers, visitors, and employees. By adopting a progressive parking strategy, Gaithersburg is not only achieving its primary objectives, but has set in motion a dynamic that is creating transit synergies as well.

Gaithersburg offers insights into how a town can revitalize its historic resources, address current parking needs while evolving to greater transit use and development that recognizes the transit connection as beneficial.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Gaithersburg's pattern of growth and disinvestment in the 20th century mirrors that of many small towns throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. Its downtown, once the market and freight center for a flourishing agricultural community, has maintained its low scale, historic character, and charm, and rapid residential expansion from the 1950s onward occurred mostly in suburban subdivisions at the fringes. Retail and commercial centers (conventional strip centers, office parks, and malls) were also located on the perimeter of the downtown, siphoning off most business revenue.

The cherished character of the historic core was threatened. Several traditional downtown businesses, such as the large Southern States store, no longer met changing market demand. As these anchors slipped, the number of patrons for remaining stores also declined. Many shop owners and businesses were just hanging on by the 1990s, when revitalization efforts began.

TOWN AND PARKING

In early 1995, a diverse group of concerned citizens, property owners, and civic leaders recognized that Olde Town Gaithersburg was at a crossroads. Although individual projects, such as the restoration of the small historic commuter station, were important, a more comprehensive approach was needed. The city hired internationally known town planner Andres Duany to conduct an intensive community charette to flesh out ideas. About a year later, after continued discussion and refinement, consensus around a downtown plan emerged.

A key concept of the plan was accommodating parking to the side and rear of buildings whenever possible. This approach supported the restoration of historic properties, rather than their removal for parking lots, and encouraged developers to site complementary infill projects at the traditional building line to maintain the pedestrian feel of the street. In combination with a program for calming through-traffic and improving streetscapes, this strategy promised an environment that was convenient, walkable, and attractive.

Another important concept was investment in municipal parking garages. Land was scarce and demand for parking was rising. Decked parking not only reduced the pressure to raze existing properties for surface lots, but made possible redevelopment of vacant and underutilized properties as well. Without a garage and the regulatory framework allowing existing and new projects to meet parking needs, potential infill lots would likely be retained for parking. Land economics in Gaithersburg simply did not support private investment in a garage, and so public investment was essential.

Image: Gaithersburg's restored historic train station serves commuter rail and features a cafe, a train museum, and a nearby restaurant/pub.

Image: Landscaping and public art enliven the area surrounding Gaithersburg's historic train station and nearby municipal parking.

WHERE TO START

The sector of Olde Towne targeted for initial redevelopment was situated immediately south of the railroad tracks and west of the town's main street, Summit Avenue. Principal uses included the Southern States store and scattered surface parking lots. The lots were used by shoppers and commuters boarding MARC trains (Maryland's commuter railroad) at the restored station opposite Summit Avenue. Just to the north is Olde Towne's historic district, which includes most of the area's shops and restaurants.

Redevelopment concepts emerging from Duany's work called for a new commercial project to be located along Summit Avenue on a parcel owned by the city and used by MARC commuters for parking. A large adjacent parcel, occupied by the Southern States store, would also be repositioned. On it would be a multi-story parking garage next to the railroad tracks, where it would provide a buffer from train noise. Parcels fronting the garage along Summit Avenue would be redeveloped for office and retail uses. A realigned street would border the southern portion of the sector, again with a redevelopment pad between the street and parking garage. Apartments were suggested for that parcel.

The parking garage, projected at approximately 700 spaces, was to serve several uses. About one-third of the spaces would be used by MARC commuters, with the rest devoted to meeting the needs of the new development projects on fronting lots, as well as the general public. On evenings and weekends, when commuting and worker demand is low, spaces would be available for shoppers and visitors attending cultural and civic events.

GETTING THE FIRST PROJECT ON THE GROUND

By 1997, City Manager Dave Humpton was receiving inquiries from developers. Town officials decided to look first at the infill possibilities for the MARC commuter parking lot along Summit Avenue. Municipal ownership of this key parcel provided the best opportunity for influencing the quality of development. The city also owned another lot in the vicinity where parking could be relocated with little inconvenience. The city issued a Request for Proposals.

Steve Virostek of the DANAC Corporation, a local development company, proposed an office project to bring daytime employment to Olde Town. Virostek knew this type of project would not be an easy sell to prospective tenants. To compete with the spacious suburban office parks nearby, DANAC would have to offer higher-quality design and finishes than the competition -- with lower rents. To afford that combination, and address the risks listed by financial partners, he would need the city to be a partner.

Not only did Gaithersburg's officials select DANAC's proposal, Mayor Ed Borher and City Manager Dave Humpton enthusiastically supported DANAC's development program and financial incentive package. The City Council agreed to contribute its property to the project. To ensure that the project set the bar high for quality building and streetscape design that complemented the downtown's historic character, the city also provided a $1 million loan to DANAC, to be repaid interest free through DANAC's dedication of half of the cash flow from the project. DANAC assumed all responsibility for both the office and public space improvements, and for getting underway immediately. DANAC also assumed the biggest financial risk: whether the project could attract office tenants to the 42,000- square-foot project.

By May 1998, when the ribbon was cut, the project was already 100 percent leased. Virostek credits the city's willingness to help finance more expensive tenant finishes, such as sound attenuation from the warning blasts of CSX freight trains as they crossed Summit Avenue.

MORE SUCCESS

Encouraged by the success of his initial project and the partnership enjoyed with the city, Virostek explored purchase of the adjacent parcel owned and occupied by Southern States. The company was ready to sell, but the site was contaminated by leakage from an old underground petroleum storage tank. After testing and negotiation about the clean-up costs, DANAC entered into a contract to purchase the parcel.

During the clean-up, Virostek began discussions with Humpton and other town officials on a detailed reuse program for the property. By 1999, DANAC and the city had reached agreement. While modifications were made to Duany's concept, the basic components remained.

A multi-story rental apartment, with first-floor retail space (68 units and 20,000 square feet retail/service) would be constructed on the south parcel, which DANAC had sold to the Magruder Companies, an area residential company. DANAC would build and own an office building of approximately 65,000 square feet, with 6,000 square feet held in reserve for retail development as the market matured. Although higher in density and scale than the predominant pattern, the project was carefully designed to complement the character of the town and its abutting historic district. Quality materials and finishes would again be used. The city would begin immediately to implement the planned infrastructure and streetscape upgrades in the sector, targeting completion to coincide with the opening of the private projects. The city forgave half of its permit fees.

The agreement also specified how the 720-space parking garage component would be built and managed:

• The city bought the parcel for the parking garage from DANAC for $750,000. Gaithersburg would own both the land and the garage and would be responsible for operation and management.
• Under a negotiated agreement, the city hired DANAC as its development manager to construct the garage. DANAC was responsible for overseeing all aspects of design and development, subject to city approval. A not-to-exceed fee was set at $6,925,000. DANAC assumed the risk of overruns and agreed not to take any fee for its management or personnel expenses.
• In consideration of services provided by DANAC, the city agreed to reserve 126 spaces for the new, multi-family housing project. Another 200 spaces were reserved for the office project. All remaining spaces were for the general public. Spaces were allotted to a planned restaurant, but not formally reserved.
• MARC commuters were expected to use spaces set aside for the general public, and DANAC agreed to construct a pedestrian bridge across the railroad tracks, connecting to the historic district and providing convenient access to the train station along reconstructed streets.
• The city has no current plans to charge for parking. In the future, payments by the housing and office projects would be imposed on negotiated schedules. The schedule for office workers provides an initial period of no parking charges and rises to 100 percent of the fee charged to the general public over a 20-year period. The residential fee schedule is more generous, and provides for a 30-year phase-in period.

Image: The pedestrian scale of Gaithersburg's historic Olde Towne has not been disturbed by new nearby development.

FINANCING

The combined public/private price tag for the project was estimated at $42.3 million. Costs of land and improvements for the office, residential, and restaurant projects would be approximately $13.4 million, to be shouldered by the developers. The remaining $28.9 million was to be raised from public funds to acquire the parcel, construct the garage, and rebuild public infrastructure. Costs included acquisition of land for street realignment and streetscape improvements (brick sidewalks, lighting, signage, benches, trash receptacles, intersection improvements, and underground utilities).

Fiscally conservative Gaithersburg had always maintained a "pay-as-you-go" philosophy. The city was prepared to take on the lion's share of public costs from its capital accounts, but it needed partners for the rest. Over several months it aggressively lobbied county and state officials for support. At the same time, Humpton worked closely with Virostek to ensure that the schedule for payment of the city's obligations for the garage would coincide with funding cycles. In the end, $24,900,000 was secured from three public sources over a three-year period from fiscal years 1999 through 2001: $13,100,000 in cash, reserves, and anticipated tax revenues from the City of Gaithersburg; $5,800,000 in cash or General Obligation bonds from Montgomery County; and $6,000,000 in cash and Smart Growth grants from the State of Maryland. Although $4 million short of the full funding estimate, these committed funds were adequate to satisfy all partners that enough work would be completed to allow the project to proceed. The city pledged to continue to work with the state to identify additional funding, possibly through state transportation programs, and if not feasible, through a combination of its own and private funds.

Signs of success

Like the first phase, the second phase has been a strong success. By 2001, the three main components of the project (the apartment, office complex, and garage) were completed and occupied. Infrastructure and streetscape improvements were in place. There have been numerous expressions of interest in the restaurant pad, which is still undeveloped.

Initially, Virostek lured a high-tech company as the prime tenant for the office. With the downturn of that sector of the economy, the tenancy evaporated. Replacement tenants were relatively easy to find, however. The office leased ahead of schedule, and met or exceeded rent projections. Virostek reports that some tenants cited the location on the MARC commuter line as a consideration in taking space.

Similarly, the apartments were snatched up more quickly and at higher rents than projected. The Magruder Companies actively marketed the project's location on the MARC commuter line. While definitive surveys on transit use have not been completed, project manager Scott Reed and leasing director Nancy Malloy observe that a number of tenants commute to work by transit, and the service was cited as a reason for renting units. "The transit connection is a definite plus," says Malloy.

The garage is functioning well. Its brick facade and decorative tower and pedestrian bridge complement the character of the adjacent historic district. Most of the MARC line's nearly 300 daily commuters are using the fourth floor and pedestrian bridge, as designed. This frees the lower levels for shorter-term visitors to local businesses. Shop owners report having employees use the garage, making street spaces adjacent to their businesses available for patrons.

On most days the garage operates at well below capacity. Far from suggesting overbuild, Humpton sees this excess capacity as an investment. Plans are underway for additional development projects to the rear of the garage site. Allocating spaces to those projects, thus reducing costs to the eventual developer, is being considered as a tool to leverage the same type of quality and design exemplified by the DANAC and Magruder projects.

Most importantly, the development, parking, and streetscape projects have breathed new life into Olde Towne, while maintaining desired small town charm. More jobs and retail activity are located in Olde Towne now, although additional market support is still needed. The success of the initial projects has laid the foundation for continued residential and commercial infill projects and for adaptive reuse of underutilized historic properties.

Contacts

Steve Virostek
Principal, Triumph Development
301-657-1112

Dave Humpton
City Manager, Gaithersburg
301-258-6310

Ira Silverman
Chief, Maryland Area Transit Corporation
410-454-7257

Lessons learned

Gaithersburg didn't really set out to become a model of transit-oriented development. Although the presence of MARC commuter service to the community was a factor in the city's redevelopment scheme, city officials were more focused on the current buzz about smart growth and new urbanism. Whatever the motivation, Gaithersburg's adoption of a progressive parking plan -- and subsequent urban design guidelines and zoning that support both historic preservation and new downtown development -- shows how parking design can encourage compact growth and help accomplish transit-oriented design.

Some advocates for transit-oriented development have promoted imposed limitations on parking around station stops to encourage transit use. Likewise, some preservationists have sought to reduce or limit parking in historic areas. Given the practical realities of auto dependence in Gaithersburg, however, its leadership recognized that parking needed to be maintained and expanded. By opting for a strategy that focused on parking design and management approaches, the city provides an example that may be applicable to other commuter towns. In a very real sense, Gaithersburg's parking strategy has facilitated both increased preservation and construction of transit-supportive projects. The garage also provides a venue for monitoring parking demand as revitalization continues -- with the flexibility to use that experience to adjust allocation of parking and encourage additional transit-supportive projects as the automobile-transit dynamic evolves.

Put muscle and money where your mouth is. Beyond a good framework, the critical decision Gaithersburg made was to support its progressive parking approach with investment of public personnel, property assets, and funding to see the project through.
Private developers and public entities need each other. The public and private sectors in Gaithersburg each brought their own resources to the table, and created a successful downtown strategy that took advantage of what each sector could offer. Virostek and DANAC brought market savvy, persistence, and creativity to the table. Mayor Bohrer and City Manager Humpton brought a specific vision for the downtown, city-owned property, funding, and connections to county and state officials with whom they aggressively pursued partnerships.
Don't create parking for parking's sake. The Gaithersburg parking garage was conceived as a tool to leverage achievement of the city's objectives for land use, urban design, historic preservation, and economic development. The garage is a critical element in the success of the new development projects. The garage is also designed to support instead of undermine the historic character of the town and the attractiveness of transit to its residents and employees.

Image: New development across from Gaithersburg's historic train station reflects similar design elements to those of the station.

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Memphis, Tennessee

South Main is Happening

ADAPTIVE REUSE AS A STRATEGIC URBAN NEIGHBORHOOD INVESTMENT

Back when "cotton was king," the South Main section of Memphis was bustling. Today, the warehouses and factories of Memphis's South Main historic district are being filled with residents, artist studios, galleries, local restaurants, and locally owned shops. Strategic public investments catalyzed South Main's rebirth, and local private investors rescued the area and gave it new life.

The rebirth of South Main began with the restoration of a downtown trolley system in 1993 and renovation of Central Station as a mixed-use intermodal center at the southern end of downtown. The new National Civil Rights Museum is among the attractions that have motivated visitors to take the trolley into the South Main area.

Most of the pioneering developers and investors in South Main are Memphis-based individuals with a personal connection to local history. No mega-projects or large public subsidies have been necessary to entice developers. With the area's rebirth have come increasing trolley ridership, tourism, and housing opportunities downtown.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Up to 50 trains a day once delivered passengers and cargo to South Main via Central Station. The post-war period, however, saw rapid decline of both rail travelers and the industries that sustained business activity. The downtown trolley system was dismantled after World War II. Many of the handsome historic buildings lining South Main Street fell into disrepair, vacancy, and virtual abandonment.

An effort to revitalize downtown with a pedestrian mall in the 1970s failed. By the late 1980s, the mall was actually seen as contributing to lack of mobility and parking problems in the South Main area.

In 1993, Memphis inaugurated the first leg of the Main Street Trolley system in the right-of-way of Main Street. This two-track line largely traced the route of the old streetcar line. By 1997, the single-track Riverfront Loop was added, doubling the system's length to five miles. Most of the new segment used existing railroad tracks located parallel to Main Street and running along the bluffs fronting the Mississippi River, before reconnecting to Main Street at the south and north ends.

DOWNTOWN TROLLEY AND CENTRAL STATION

More than just a downtown circulator, the Main Street Trolley connects to the city's bus system through transfer facilities and park-and-ride lots at its north terminus and through bus, park-and-ride, and Amtrak connections at the south terminus, the recently renovated Central Station.

Initially criticized as a gimmick to save downtown, the trolley has nonetheless succeeded. Ridership has grown from just short of 500,000 in the first year of operation to about one million in 2002. Tom Fox, director of planning and capital projects for the Memphis Area Transit Agency (MATA), estimates that approximately half of the riders use the trolley to commute, run errands, and make work-related trips. The other half are made by tourists, visitors, and residents in pursuit of entertainment. Jeff Sanford, president of Memphis Center City Commission, which plans for and promotes downtown's economic development, believes the trolley has helped draw more than $2 billion in project investments in downtown during recent years, especially in the South Main area.

Built in 1914, Central Station was the last building designed by Daniel Burnham. In the early 1990s, MATA officials planned to transform the then-derelict building into an intermodal terminal for the trolley, bus services, and the remaining twice-daily Amtrak trains. MATA also sought new uses for long-vacant office and retail spaces that were part of the complex. In 1995, MATA acquired the building and, after securing federal, state, and city funding, joined with city agencies, the Center City Commission, preservationists, and neighborhood groups to devise a plan for the station's rebirth.

Judith Johnson, who was then a preservation analyst for the City of Memphis and is now principal of the preservation consulting firm Judith Johnson and Associates, suggested the use of historic preservation tax credits. MATA asked the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Community Partners Program to join the planning team. That collaboration resulted in a palette of potential uses for the space and, importantly, a proposed ownership structure that could make use of tax credits. As a public agency, MATA could not use the credits. The stakeholders decided to form an independent, for-profit limited partnership that would include MATA. Through a Request for Proposals process, the Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin was selected as a private partner. Over a period of approximately 15 months, the partnership developed a program for restoring Central Station, structured a partnership agreement that met with all parties' approval, and secured funding to accomplish the program. The restoration was completed in 1999.

About 30,000 Memphis residents and officials gathered in December 1999 to celebrate Central Station's rebirth. In addition to the intermodal component, the project includes 63 apartment units occupying former office space, three storefront retail spaces, a precinct police station, and a conference area adjacent to the fully restored Main Hall. Total project costs were approximately $23.3 million. In addition to the $17.9 million from federal, state, and city sources, the project received $3.0 million in preservation tax credits, $2.4 million in bank financing, and $0.1 million from Amtrak.

SOUTH MAIN NEIGHBORHOOD

The most remarkable outcome of the trolley and Central Station efforts is how they catalyzed private-sector activity along South Main. Placed on the National Register in 1982, the South Main historic district includes approximately 90 buildings, all but a few determined as contributing to its historic character. More than 60 percent of South Main's historic buildings had been renovated by 2002. Historic properties are also being restored in areas adjacent to South Main. Infill construction on vacant lots is also taking place. Virtually all this reinvestment has occurred since start-up of the trolley, and the majority has occurred in the years after Central Station was restored.

Image: Memphis's Central Station was restored for intermodal service and mixed residential-commercial use with the aid of federal historic preservation tax credits.

Most of this activity has been undertaken by a half-dozen smaller developer/investors who recognized South Main's potential, had sufficient financial capacity to acquire and improve buildings, and have been successful in their risks, enabling them to invest in additional projects.

One such investor is Phil Woodard. Owner of a local plumbing business, Woodard used to visit South Main with his father as a child. He purchased his first small building at a modest price in 1994. Today, Woodard has completed ten buildings in South Main and vicinity, all benefiting from a tax freeze the Center City Commission provides to downtown investors, as well as the federal preservation tax credit.

Woodard saw the potential to attract residential tenants to upper-story apartments, with first-floor retail and commercial space. Previous planning work and examples from other jurisdictions suggested that an arts and entertainment focus might work. Artists were recognized as willing to pioneer in untested areas to take advantage of low-cost space. The converted warehouses, factories, and shops offered adaptable space for artists, arts organizations, and restaurateurs. And the trolley promised to bring patrons to the area.

Woodard and his wife Terry joined with other local business partners to create the South Main Association. Artists and gallery owners became interested and began to sign leases, albeit at very low rents. Small businesses have leased much of the first-floor space in renovated buildings, providing services in keeping with the urban lifestyle residential tenants seek.

Signs of success

South Main's success is generating new riders for MATA. Woodard estimates that between 20 and 30 percent of his tenants use the trolley to go to work in the downtown core, a figure he suspects holds for other residential projects in the area. Most of the others commute by car to jobs east of the city center. That may change when MATA completes a new, interconnecting rail line in that direction. Meanwhile, Woodard estimates that almost all tenants use the trolley for evening and weekend use. "They park their cars on Friday evening and don't get in them again until Monday morning."

The trolley is bringing more customers to area shops and restaurants. In November 2000 the South Main Association inaugurated a free trolley tour on the last Friday of each month to promote the area. Initially, the association rented the trolley from MATA for $300 per evening, and attracted 50 or 60 people. Within the first year, more than 3,000 riders participated. "We actually had a problem, because we only had about 18 art galleries on the tour at that time. They were packed to overcapacity. Now, we have about 30 restaurants and shops on the tour, and folks can find enough room," says Woodard. MATA and the association now provide the tour in partnership: MATA provides the trolley and operator, while the association offers promotion and advertising.

There is little doubt that the investments in the trolley and Central Station played a major role in alerting investors to the latent opportunities on South Main. Once aware of the opportunities, and with prudent continuing financial assistance, Memphis found that investors were willing to assume the risk of restoring the historic buildings. Because the projects were small, they created an opportunity to test and mature the market. And when the market was proven, the historic properties enabled a number of smaller developer/investors to quickly capitalize on their investments.

Property values in South Main have tripled, according to Woodard: "When I started, you could buy buildings for $8 a square foot and there were plenty of them. Now, six years later, it's hard to find anything and you have to pay $24 a foot." But that has not discouraged him from continuing to invest. A handful of projects are underway and more are planned.

The development of South Main produced significant new support for transit not only from the new residential and business expansion along the trolley line, but in the greater Memphis area as well. Having been introduced to rail transit, residents are demanding more. Observing the success at South Main, the business and development community is eager to invest in historic preservation projects adjacent to transit lines.

Image: Skillful restoration in Memphis's South Main has preserved the beauty and integrity of historic buildings.

Financing Credits Aid Historic Preservation along South Main

In undertaking his historic rehabilitation and adaptive reuse projects in South Main, Phil Woodard sought assistance from the Center City Commission. The commission has the authority to grant tax freezes to commercial property in the central business area. Mixed commercial and residential rental properties qualify. In return for an owner's commitment to invest 60 percent or more of a property's current value in rehabilitation, the commission can hold the property taxes at the going-in year's payment. Each project is evaluated first to determine need, and then to establish the number of years the freeze will stay in place. The maximum term is 16 years. Because real estate taxes are a substantial portion of operating expenses, the freeze allows owners to offer lower rents to attract tenants, and the financial flexibility to hold them there if required.

A second program offered by the commission combines tax freezes with a development loan. The commission established a loan fund from a portion of its resources (raised by special assessment on downtown property owners). The fund is available for low-interest, soft second loans of up to $90,000. Through this program, developers may elect to take the up-front loan capital in exchange for a reduced (10-year) term for the tax freeze. Because the loan is subordinate to a bank loan, it can be used to reduce the equity requirement a lender might otherwise impose, an especially attractive feature for smaller developers.

Lessons learned

Take advantage of strategic transit investments to stimulate revitalization of historic resources and extend transit possibilities beyond the immediate area. Although the trolley started out primarily as a circulator, it connected with bus terminus points and became an important transit resource when Central Station was restored for rail and transit use. Erin Hanafin Berg, a planner with the Memphis Landmarks Commission, sees a direct link between the trolley and South Main's renaissance. She terms it a "vehicle for discovery," bringing residents and visitors who, absent the transit loop, would have been unlikely to travel beyond more central and well-known tourist attractions.
Have faith in small, targeted private reinvestments. Adaptive reuse of historic resources, even at the relatively low scale present in South Main, can generate significant demand for transit ridership, as well as additional preservation. Hanafin Berg estimates that more than 60 percent of South Main's buildings have been renovated.
Encourage the availability and use of financial incentives to stabilize emerging markets. Incentives such as the federal rehabilitation tax credit and local tax freeze and loan programs help make historic properties an attractive investment option (see "Financing Credits Aid Historic Preservation along South Main," above).

Image: South Main's success is generating new riders for transit.

Contacts

Phil Woodard, President, Woodard Properties
901-351-8199
pwoodard@midsouth.rr.com

Tom Fox, Director of Planning & Capital Projects, Memphis Area Transit Authority
901-722-7160
tfox@matatransit.com

Erin Hanafin Berg, Assistant Historic Preservation Planner, Memphis Landmarks Commission
901-576-7191
erin.hanafin-berg@cityofmemphis.org

Judith Johnson, President, Judith Johnson & Associates
901-324-4618
judithj1@bellsouth.net

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St. Louis, Missouri

Saving Transit Resources While Saving a Historic Downtown

METROLINK REDEVELOPMENT

Since 1993, St. Louis's investment in a light rail system, MetroLink, has spurred interest in creating travel choices, although the automobile continues to dominate investment strategies in the region. Major developers have recognized opportunities for revitalizing St. Louis' neglected historic resources in downtown, an effort that has been supported and often led by transit investments.

In just ten years, reinvestment in downtown historic buildings and neighborhoods has begun to pay off. The recent conversion of the Cupples Warehouses into downtown commercial and living space, as well as preservation of historic houses in the nearby Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood, have helped the city begin to recoup a stronger tax base downtown, which had been eroded by decades of decline in inner-city population and employment.

In late 1999, the St. Louis City Planning Commission adopted the Downtown Development Action Plan, calling for an organized method of revitalizing downtown St. Louis, including more housing units.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

St. Louis's location on the Mississippi River near the mouths of the Illinois and Missouri guaranteed the city's early, rapid development as a trading community. By 1850, St. Louis was the second largest port in the country, exceeded only by New York. By the middle of the 20th century St. Louis's wealth of historic downtown buildings were neglected, as population and development moved to suburban areas.

The revitalization of downtown St. Louis got underway in the early 1990s, spurred by the opening of the MetroLink light rail line, the growth in suburban congestion, changing demographics, and additions to the entertainment scene. A series of public investments, including a new convention center and a 70,000-seat sports stadium, were made as part of a $1.2 billion plan for downtown that featured historic preservation.

TRANSPORTATION

Transit services in the St. Louis region are provided by Metro (formerly the Bi-State Development Agency). Metro operates a multimodal transit system, providing fixed-route bus, paratransit and light rail services. The agency is using its authority to promote the development and redevelopment of areas surrounding MetroLink stations to support the creation of mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented environments. Metro sees this emphasis as critical to its mission.

St. Louis launched MetroLink in 1993 on an 18-mile light rail system serving 19 stations, connecting East St. Louis and Lambert Airport via the historic Terminal Railroad Association (TRRA) tunnels. These tunnels run beneath the heart of downtown on track first laid more than a century ago. Phase I of a 17.4 mile extension into St. Clair County, Illinois opened in May 2001; Phase II is under construction. Segment I of the Cross County Corridor is in the planning stages.

MetroLink connects the airport, the major sports arenas and convention and entertainment venues, and education facilities. More than 200,000 jobs and 150,000 residents in St. Louis are concentrated within a half-mile of MetroLink stations. This is the highest concentration of jobs along a transportation facility in the region. The location of the line is a key to its ability to attract riders.

According to a 1997 ridership profile, 55 percent of the riders have incomes above $35,000 and 55 percent have two or more cars per household. Ridership has increased by 40 percent through 1997, far exceeding projections. Although ridership declined slightly between 1998 and 2001, the decrease is significantly less than the decline in St. Louis's population during that time. Weekend trips have grown steadily and represent almost 50 percent of the usage on MetroLink. Three out of five trips are now for purposes other than commuting to work.

As the success of the original MetroLink becomes apparent, greater emphasis is being given to planning for redevelopment in the station areas, and Metro is seeking more input from citizens to determine the nature and type of development in their neighborhoods.

Image: Located in the heart of downtown St. Louis, MetroLink offers access to more than 200,000 jobs for more than 150,000 residents.

FROM WAREHOUSES TO HOUSING AND MORE

St. Louis's mercantile heritage is evident in its downtown, which is characterized by numerous historic commercial buildings. The Cupples Warehouse complex is the focus of a $300 million downtown redevelopment plan for the Busch Stadium Station on the MetroLink. When it opened in 1891, Cupples became the most heavily used wholesale storage complex in the city, with 18 individual warehouses (10 of which remain) and connections from the Eads Bridge via the Terminal Railroad Association tunnel.

The project combines 440,000 square feet of Class A office space, street-level retail and restaurants, hotel, loft and high-rise housing, and parking facilities, resulting in more than 1 million square feet of new development. In 2001, a Westin Hotel opened in four of the Cupples Warehouses. The hotel's location on the MetroLink route is a key reason why Westin chose the site.

The 310,000-square-foot Paul Brown Building, built in 1925 as an office building, was recently converted into 222 loft apartments that will rent for about $1.00 per foot. This is the largest downtown residential project to date.

New Orleans-based Historic Restoration Inc. (HRI), has redeveloped the Gateway-Statler and Lennox, both historic hotels adjacent to the new Convention Center, for use by Marriott Corporation, which opened the hotel in February 2003. Loftworks developer Craig Heller has created 31 loft units in the 10th Street Lofts project at 10th and Locust out of a former garment distribution warehouse and an additional 21 units in the Louderman Building at 11th and Olive. These two projects, within four blocks of the MetroLink station at 8th and Pine, are within walking distance of the downtown, and have access to thousands of jobs throughout the St. Louis region via MetroLink. To offset the limited number of parking spaces, Heller plans to include the cost of a commercial car-sharing service, such as Flexcar or Zipcar, in the purchase price of his units in the Louderman Building.

FINANCING

The Missouri Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program is central to the financing for the Cupples Warehouse redevelopment project. Enacted in 1998, the law provides for a 25 percent transferable credit toward eligible rehabilitation costs for both residential and commercial projects that meet rehabilitation standards set by the U.S. Department of the Interior. The program is managed by the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The enactment of the state historic tax credit statute has helped spur additional revitalization efforts.

McCormack Baron & Associates and SunAmerica own and developed the $97 million hotel element of the redevelopment project, using $15.8 million in federal and $19.8 million state historic tax credits on $79.3 million of qualified rehabilitation costs.

Contacts

Tina Votaw
Vice President, Economic Development Metro
(formerly the Bi-State Development Agency)
314-982-1463
tvotaw@metrostlouis.org

Tom Shrout
Executive Director
Citizens for Modern Transit
314-231-7272
TShrout@cmt-stl.org

Les Sterman
Executive Director
East-West Gateway Coordinating Council
314-421-4220

Signs of success

The reinvestment in downtown St. Louis has already benefited the city, homeowners, private developers, Metro, and the people who live, work, and shop downtown. The decision to locate new MetroLink routes along existing lines and to serve areas that already have dense, mixed-use development created opportunities for redevelopment that took advantage of historic railroad infrastructure and other historic assets. Reinvestment in these existing downtown resources created new uses, including office, residential, commercial, and entertainment.

Beyond downtown, MetroLink is also being used to reinforce the benefits of older, more compact, walkable neighborhoods such as Forest Park and Skinker-DeBaliviere, where the Forest Park Station is within walking distance of 1,387 residences. West of downtown, former warehouses and factories are being converted into lofts. Inner-city neighborhoods have seen property values increase with the introduction of MetroLink.

Overall, demand for downtown or near-in housing has risen. Tom Leonhard, president and chief operating officer of Historic Restoration Inc., says, "Demand for housing far exceeds the supply. I think there's demand for 5,000 units." HRI recently announced plans to convert two more buildings at the historic Cupples Station warehouse complex into a $37 million, 188-unit apartment complex. Developers are recognizing that the market for downtown development and neighborhood infill near MetroLink stations can be profitable.

Metro has documented the benefits of creating more walkable access to MetroLink and the bus system. Ridership has grown far faster than projections, even with the decline in population and employment in St. Louis. Weekday ridership averaged 40,000 in 2002. Non-work trips represent a growing share of MetroLink trips. As the new extensions and lines open for service, the value of MetroLink will grow even more.

Lessons learned

Know and use the laws in your state. St. Louis's revitalization has been helped greatly by Missouri's adoption of historic tax credits and state law designating redevelopment areas with significant powers, including eminent domain. The state also authorized tax abatements that played a critical role in making reinvestment in historic resources more attractive and feasible.
See the benefits of an old system. St. Louis's rich array of historic resources represents significant community assets. For MetroLink itself, using the historic TRRA railroad tunnel helped to hold down the capital cost of the project. Locating the line in an historic area opened up access to a rich supply of historic buildings in St. Louis.
Extend the benefits of downtown transit beyond downtown. Transit played a pivotal role in the rediscovery of historic assets that may have been forgotten or neglected. Reinvestment in the Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhood can clearly be linked to the improved access provided by MetroLink.
Match the transit technology to the existing and desired community form. Light rail is a pedestrian-oriented mode. The location of the line and associated development should reflect this and provide for strong pedestrian linkages and appealing public spaces.
Envision and capture transit's potential to reinvigorate downtown. MetroLink has played a key role in attracting attention to the richness of St. Louis's historic resources. The attractiveness of these resources has grown as a result of improved transit service. By creating new access to areas that for other market-related reasons may not be ready for reinvestment, transit can play a pivotal role in shaping market demand.
A committed core of supporters from the private and public sectors is essential. To gain and maintain these commitments, stick to reality regarding ridership estimates and economic development benefits. Avoid overselling a project; instead, aim to ensure its credibility.

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South Orange, New Jersey

It Takes a Station to Raise a Transit Village

SOUTH ORANGE VILLAGE, NEW JERSEY'S DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION

The Township of South Orange Village, New Jersey is one of seven participants in the statewide Transit Village program sponsored by New Jersey Transit (NJ Transit). As a state-level transit agency, NJ Transit is in a prime position to support broadscale efforts such as the Transit Village program, which encourages towns to focus on compact, mixed-use development, including residential development, within a quarter-mile of train stations.

South Orange boasts one of 49 historic train stations actually owned by NJ Transit. The current train station in South Orange was constructed in 1916, when the line was upgraded to provide for grade separation between tracks and local streets. Designed by Frank J. Neis, who was architect for a number of other stations on the Morristown line, the station is an eclectic blend of Renaissance Revival with Prairie and Craftsman elements. It features a main entry hall and ticketing area, with stairways leading to canopied boarding platforms elevated above the surrounding streets and structures of the village's downtown core. Integral to its architecture is a flanking trestle system that carries trains to platform grade. Local streets pass below and through the trestle on either side of the station. In addition, the village has a variety of historic and older buildings that add to the texture of downtown, including Town Hall and the fire station.

"A lot of towns in New Jersey grew up around train lines in the nineteenth century, and the train station is at the center of town" says Mark Gordon, NJ Transit's senior director of real estate and economic development. "We're looking to go back to the future and restore the transit center as a center of municipal life."

BACKGROUND

South Orange, New Jersey is home to nearly 17,000 residents. Originally founded as a summer community, the village grew up around a train station of the Morris and Essex Line before the Civil War, becoming a bedroom community for Newark and New York City after the rail line was extended to Hoboken in 1868. But by 1990, the downtown was languishing, with about 30 of 130 stores vacant, and virtually no foot traffic.

During the past decade, several factors came into play to promote the train station area redevelopment. An important catalyst was the new MidTown Direct train service to Manhattan, which permits a rapid, transfer-free trip from South Orange to New York City, shaving 20 minutes off the commute time. The village leadership, which had long wanted to revitalize downtown and rehabilitate the dilapidated commuter train station, seized the opportunity to focus attention on local needs at a time when the real estate conditions were favorable to redevelopment.

The key bargaining point for the village was that NJ Transit wanted the downtown to accommodate anticipated parking needs for the new service. Public feedback to NJ Transit was consistent and emphatic: The village residents would only discuss additional parking and related new transit development if NJ Transit agreed to address the blighted storefronts on NJ Transit-owned property surrounding the station.

In 1994 the Village Trustees had adopted a redevelopment plan for the downtown area. This plan, now being implemented, called for improvements to the historic railroad station, a shared parking program, strategies for attracting development to the underused properties in downtown, and improvements to the pedestrian environment. All these investments would create the "feel" of a village center.

RENOVATING THE STATION AND STATION AREA

Cary Heller, who operates his family's real estate office in South Orange, saw the opportunity created by the MidTown Direct service, and in 1993 he embarked on an effort to make South Orange's historic train station the heart of revitalization plans.

Starting at the station posed challenges. Not only were the station and immediately adjacent stores in disrepair, vacancies were high in the surrounding area. Remaining tenants offered a disjointed hodgepodge of goods and services and were struggling. NJ Transit's effort to convince the station's tenant to upgrade the stores was going nowhere. After several meetings, the tenant agreed to sell, but at a high price. NJ Transit was investing available capital in rail upgrades and the rolling stock necessary for the new service; funds were not available for repositioning tenancies. Lenders were unwilling to risk capital for ventures in a "bad" area, on the unproven dream of revitalization, and where public ownership of marginal property assets compromised pledging them as security for loans.

Image: Blighted storefronts and vacancies plagued downtown South Orange before the station area revitalization.

Heller proposed a partnership with NJ Transit and the Village of South Orange to develop a program for the Sloan Street stores at the station. The project's success has been a key catalyst for South Orange's initial and ongoing revitalization.

In 1995 NJ Transit bought out the lease for all retail space in the train station and Heller's company leased the space to new tenants that matched the town's redevelopment profile for higher-quality stores. Redevelopment included gutting the stores and installing new heating and cooling systems, plumbing, facades, and a roof. The stores were ready for occupancy in 1996.

According to Village President William Calabrese, "It was important to stress the positives to show residents, developers, and other government agencies that we could create a place for people and community activities in downtown."

With the help of the National Main Street Program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Main Street South Orange, which had been formed in 1991 and had already begun coordinated efforts to revitalize the Central Business District along South Orange Avenue, encouraged the township to invest in public improvements in its downtown to increase the positive impact of the redevelopment project. Main Street South Orange and the township had several objectives: enhance the pedestrian environment, improve the look of the storefronts, bring people back downtown through promotional events, create a sense of safety, and improve traffic flow. The avenue's sidewalks were widened, the street was narrowed by reducing the lanes to one in each direction with a center turn lane, street lighting was replaced, and landscaping was used to soften the urban environment. Nancy Adams-Shippy, who was then the executive director of Main Street South Orange, worked closely with the organization's Design Committee, the Village's lead engineer Sal Renda, and landscape architect Bill Scerbo to design a project that was both beautiful and functional, while keeping in mind the needs of the local businesses.

TRANSPORTATION CHOICES AND PARKING

Commuter rail service to South Orange is complemented by NJ Transit bus service to Newark, Newark Airport, and the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan. The Township and NJ Transit are also supporting a jitney service to provide local transit for residents of South Orange to the station area in the center of town.

Even with the jitney service, parking remains an issue in downtown South Orange. Surface parking occupies prime land within the station area. The Township and NJ Transit found the costs of building and operating structured parking to be prohibitive. Instead, South Orange and NJ Transit pursued the idea of shared parking to serve downtown retail and other uses while still providing park-and-ride spaces for commuters within 1,200 feet of the station, as required by NJ Transit.

Located on a former lumber yard, the new parking area was designed with input from the Village. Fronting storefront properties were retained to better incorporate parking into the town's traditional fabric. In addition, a parcel was reserved to become the future home of the South Orange Performing Arts Center. The Center's principal need for parking will be in the evening and on weekends, when commuter demand is low. NJ Transit and the Village have created a shared-use arrangement to manage the parking lot for maximum efficiency.

A total of 273 spaces were provided, with 65 spaces assigned for daily users who did not hold permits. To encourage retail shoppers, parking is free after 1 p.m. NJ Transit owns the parking lot and sets the parking fee schedule. The Township's Parking Authority manages the lot, collecting the parking fees and managing the waiting list for permits.

Image: Station area redevelopment in South Orange, New Jersey is complemented by streetscape improvements.

PARTNERSHIPS

NJ Transit was active in the redevelopment process, both as owner of the train station and through its Transit Village Program. The program brings together 10 state agencies to coordinate project approval for municipalities seeking to redevelop train station areas.

Other participants in the South Orange revitalization were Essex County, the NJ Department of Community Affairs, and several private developers who worked on specific developments.

FINANCING

The initial investments of the local government and the state sent a strong signal to the development sector that the station area redevelopment plan was viable. A variety of sources were drawn on to support the public investment, including Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, low-interest loans from the Essex County Improvement Authority, private donations, and proceeds from municipal and county bonds. Each project drew upon its own specific mix of funding sources.

The Township provided tax incentives for the first several development projects to help launch the residential market. Now that residential development has taken off in the center, there is no longer a need for tax incentives to make a project viable.

COMMUNITY ACCEPTANCE

Changes of the magnitude the village leadership envisioned required extensive outreach to community residents and the building of a consensus. A vision for the village was critical to gaining support for specific projects. During the plan development process, the Township worked closely with residents and business owners through its Planning Board. The Township involved residents in focus groups to learn what people wanted to see happen in their village center. The Main Street group assisted in bringing business owners and residents together to help determine what actions to take and to gain consensus on what the Township was working to accomplish. The consistent advocacy of William Calabrese and other Village leaders for downtown revitalization has eased the way for approval of individual projects, especially residential projects. This support built confidence among developers.

CONTINUING PARTNERSHIP

Since the store's opening, the parties have continued to work together. In 1998, the Village completed the first phase of an ambitious streetscape and parking improvement program. The Village once again showed leadership, raising most of the $4.1 million for the project by selling municipal bonds. The remaining portion was funded with a federal Community Development Block Grant allocated through Essex County. A plaza, with area for sidewalk cafes, was created in front of the station and stores. Angled parking and other "traffic calming" measures were implemented along Sloan Street and other downtown streets. These improvements transformed Sloan Street into a town square and have been well received.

NJ Transit, while remaining financially constrained, is gradually upgrading its main station. Currently, station accessibility and related platform and lighting improvements are under construction. The agency has scheduled other station restoration and improvement investments in its Fiscal year 2004-2007 capital program.

NJ Transit has also made the station's main waiting room available to the Village for special events at no charge. These activities, run by Main Street South Orange, are important in bringing the community to downtown during evening and weekend periods. They benefit the Sloan Street stores as well as other area merchants. Events also serve to market NJ Transit's services to new riders. The revitalized Sloan Street Stores offer transit users many services and amenities.

Signs of success

Since they opened in 1995, the Sloan Street Stores have been a popular downtown attraction. Seven establishments (bakery, ice cream parlor, diner, coffee house, dry cleaner, real estate agency, and children's toy store) occupy 13,000 square feet. Cary Heller's firm continues to own and manage the property. He reports that the stores are performing above initial projections. All loans are being paid on time and in full. NJ Transit has been receiving both base rent and its performance rent "kicker." Only two of the initial tenants have turned over in the project's seven-year history, and those were quickly replaced.

The project gave new life to South Orange's downtown and station area. Even before the inaugural run of the Midtown Direct service in 1996, patrons flocked to the stores. Indeed, Heller estimates that approximately 20 percent of the stores' sales are generated from commuters, a critically important margin for the businesses, but reflecting the continuing support from the general population as well.

South Orange's ongoing revitalization was catalyzed by the success of the station rehabilitation. Rediscovering and refurbishing this important place in the community not only contributed to the Village's positive identity, helping make the formerly overlooked town center "investment friendly," but the collaborative working partnerships established among local, state, county, and transit officials laid the foundation for continuing progress as well. Those interrelationships and experiences were useful when the subsequent success of Midtown Direct generated demand for additional residential and commercial growth in the area surrounding the station.

Several mixed-use development projects are moving through the approval process, including a new grocery store, the first in South Orange for several decades. Projects that have been completed or are underway include Gaslight Commons, a 200-unit residential redevelopment project that takes advantage of a 50 percent tax abatement; the Village Mews townhouses and Church Street apartments, the train station renovation for retail use, and the South Orange Performing Arts Center with a five-screen movie theatre and performance facilities. Both the train station and the performing arts center projects are tax exempt. Also under development is the mixed residential-retail Beifus Project.

A number of indicators can demonstrate the benefits of mixing development types in the village center to take advantage of traditional street grids, nearby transit service, and historic buildings. For example, tax assessments have increased in South Orange, real estate sales and rental prices are up, transit ridership has grown, and residents have fewer reasons to drive.

One redeveloped property in South Orange Village's center has increased its assessable tax base from $838,000 to almost $4 million, yielding an additional $100,000 to the Township each year. In the case of another property, revenue for the Township increased from $26,000 to $500,000. After the tax abatement programs run their course, the village will experience a significant increase in its property tax revenues. Although no comprehensive data are available, retail rents have more than doubled as leases have turned over. NJ Transit's lease income from the 12,000 square feet of retail space in the train station shops has significantly increased.

Rail ridership has risen dramatically since the introduction of the MidTown Direct service. From 1995 to 2000, transit ridership increased more than 150 percent. This growth had significant impact on the share of transit and SOV trips, with transit increasing as a percent of trips from 14 percent to 21 percent, and single occupant auto trips declining from 63 percent to 54 percent between 1990 and 2000.

Lessons learned

Encourage collaborative relationships. Successful station area development requires a collaborative working relationship among the transit agency, the local jurisdiction, funding groups, and involved property holders, the developer and tenants. As a number of these entities have related parts (separate boards, commissions, bureaus, interest groups, etc.) -- each with its own operating peculiarities, perspectives, and authority -- dedicated and patient leadership is needed to work these projects to completion.
Remain solution oriented. At any step, progress on the Sloan Street stores could have stalled. Through the leadership of many parties, most noteworthy Heller, Gordon, and Calabrese, solutions were found to address challenges.
Think creatively about financing. The collaborative approach carried over to the financial arrangements for the Sloan Street Stores project. Starting with the property lease and ending with funding tenant improvements, the project challenged conventional development and financing practices. At completion, funding participation came from private, state, county and local sources -- sometimes involving allocation of qualifying federal dollars. Participants negotiated arrangements that mixed public and private funding, spreading perceived risks and sharing rewards.
Have a plan. The Township was able to use its station area plan to focus all parties on opportunities for development and redevelopment.
Improve transit service to open up new opportunities for revitalization. In the case of South Orange, the introduction of the MidTown Direct service was a catalyst for the station area redevelopment.
Make quick, tangible improvements. Such improvements build morale and show the community that change is afoot. The public's willingness to use its funds shows developers a commitment on the part of the community and signals that redevelopment is viable.

"You can never underestimate the value of the first step."
ED MATTHEWS
TOWN COUNSEL, VILLAGE OF SOUTH ORANGE

Contacts

Cary Heller
Developer
cary.heller@verizon.net

Village President William Calabrese
Township of South Orange Village
973-378-7715

Nancy Adams-Shippy
Past Executive Director, Main Street -- South Orange
Current Executive Director, Downtown West Orange Alliance
973-325-4109
msso@aol.com

Mark Gordon
Senior Director, Real Estate and Economic Development
New Jersey Transit
973-491-7328
mgordon@njtransit.com

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Washington D.C.

Putting the Life Back into Downtown

WASHINGTON'S METRO CENTER AND THE "NEW" OLD EAST END

Washington, D.C.'s East End is booming. In the past three years alone, some 36 projects, representing almost $2 billion in investments, have been completed in the area between the White House and the Capitol, the heart of Washington, D.C. Another 23 projects are under construction, and 31 are in planning. These projects represent the near-total revitalization of the city's traditional downtown, an area that had been plagued by decades of disinvestment.

The East End's make-over reinvigorated numerous historic properties that have mixed in with newly constructed projects to accommodate a lively assortment of land uses. The East End's mixture of hotels, residential units, retail shops, restaurants, museums, and cultural facilities in old and new buildings is a refreshing change from the heavy orientation toward office development that is apparent in the rest of downtown.

The East End's success results in large part from a strong regional economy, despite the recent market downturn. Credit should also be given to decades of public planning, regulatory reform, citizen activism, and strategic investments that directed growth to the area and created opportunities for the development community.

The key public decision was made almost four decades ago, when plans were made to construct a regional transit system that would have the East End as its hub. Over the succeeding decades, local planning and development policies evolved to capitalize on that investment. In a real sense, the 658-acre East End has become one big transit-oriented development project. Washington's historic resources have not only benefited from this transit orientation, they are helping make transit successful.

COMMUNITY HISTORY

Historic downtown Washington is the traditional heart of political, social, and commercial life in the nation's capital. Long before rail or even trolley cars came to Washington, the central part of the city was characterized by street design and building densities that lend themselves to transit-oriented development. The mostly mid-rise buildings of the East End housed and provided commercial space for thousands of immigrants to Washington, including Germans, Greeks, Italians, and Chinese. Also in the East End are several significant government buildings, including the old City Hall on Indiana Avenue and the Patent Office Building (now the National Portrait Gallery) which served as to an Army hospital during the Civil War, where Walt Whitman nursed Union soldiers.

Most of the commercial buildings of the old downtown are still intact, and many have been refurbished. Approximately 200 buildings within the Downtown Historic District carry a historic registry designation. Nearby Chinatown gives its unique visual identity to mostly federal-style buildings housing restaurants and shops.

After years in planning, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (known locally as "Metro") was formed in 1967 by an interstate compact among the District of Columbia and neighboring jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia. Metro was conceived to design, construct, and operate a coordinated regional transit system, consisting of bus service and a proposed 103-mile subway system. Construction of the subway began in 1969, with service inaugurated in 1976. Today, all but 3 of the system's 84 stations are open and operating, and the remaining stations are under construction.

All of Metro's five service lines cross beneath the East End, and are served by eight stations, including the system's two main inter-line transfer points, Metro Center and Gallery Place. Each station incorporates two or more portals, providing extensive and convenient coverage of the entire sector. The lines extend through principal population and employment corridors within the District of Columbia, connecting to existing and emerging growth corridors and centers in the surrounding jurisdictions.

A number of the stations also serve as transfer points to Amtrak's inter-urban service and to the regional commuter rail systems of Maryland and Virginia, thus extending Metro's reach and connectivity to and from the East End. The system's design reflected recognition of the East End's role as the historical and still-substantial core of the region. Metro's first planners were also committed to help the city rebuild a sector of Washington that had been hit hard during the riot of 1968, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alex Eckmann, administrator of the city's Mass Transit Office, points out that many of the subway routes and station locations traced abandoned trolley lines that had radiated from the core to neighborhoods and commercial centers in the city and close-in suburbs. Those lines reinforced the core and directed growth and development during the preceding era. The new subway was planned to do the same, serving existing transit demand as well as reinforcing and directing now-booming suburban expansion to planned growth corridors.

Image: The International Spy Museum -- These historic buildings with carefully restored exteriors are devoted to mixed uses in the heart of Washington's arts and entertainment district.

PLANNING AND PRESERVATION POLICY

Much of Washington's planning and development policy during the time Metro was being mapped out was influenced by the urban renewal movement of the preceding decades. They are served by several Metro stations and a network of good walking streets - classic transit oriented development. The revitalized East End was envisioned as a dense, almost exclusively commercial center, taking advantage of its central location and connectivity to be enhanced by the transit system. Full-scale redevelopment scenarios were favored.

As the 1970s progressed, however, a new sensibility emerged. Public support for preservation of historic resources was growing and becoming more institutionalized as part of the planning process. A new preservation ordinance was passed in 1978, dramatically expanding protection to historic landmarks and districts, and the preservation community was proactively seeking designations in an attempt to avoid last-minute, case-by-case fights over impending demolitions. Further, the idea of integrating residential and commercial uses to create lively, 24-hour sectors was taking hold. These concepts were reflected in federally sponsored plans for the southern sector of the East End, along Pennsylvania Avenue, and endorsed as planning objectives when the city initiated a new "Living Downtown" plan for the East End in the early 1980s.

In an effort to identify and reach consensus on historic resources to be preserved in the East End, the city hired preservation consultant Russell Wright to identify and rank the preservation merits of all older buildings within the area. That work resulted in proposals for nomination of several new landmarks and certification of building clusters as contributing to the historic character. The plan, adopted in the mid-1980s, called for these buildings to be preserved in keeping with the new ordinance, and recommended formulation of regulatory and incentive regimes to promote adaptive reuse. Several historic buildings were targeted for the mixture of residential, retail, arts, and cultural uses prescribed to balance the previous, more exclusively office orientation.

PRESERVATION REGULATION AND INCENTIVES

Upon adoption of the plan, focus shifted to regulatory reform. Ellen McCarthy, then executive director of the Downtown Partnership -- a public-private sector collaborative formed to promote the East End's revitalization -- and now deputy director of the city's Planning Office with responsibility for regulatory and preservation policies, recalls that zoning then in place was "inappropriately dense" for most historic properties. Allowable height and density created an unrealistic expectation of value, and thus pressure for demolition or substantial alteration of the historic resources to capture that envelope. Some property owners resisted preservation, sitting on vacant and underutilized properties, or testing the flexibility of the new preservation ordinance with proposals that retained few historic characteristics, mostly restored facades appended to larger office buildings. Many projects were contested. McCarthy recalls, "We still needed something to avoid fights on individual buildings as development progressed."

McCarthy was instrumental in initiating a "Small Buildings Study" to explore implementation issues and options. She assembled funding from grants provided by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Department of Interior, and the National Endowment for the Arts, and matched by contributions from a local developer and in-kind services from several agencies of the city government.

Ultimately, the study concluded that downzoning was required. The amount of reduction was compromised to allow property owners the potential to realize more density than was represented by most historic buildings, through complementary development to the rear of lots or by shifting density to increase the envelope allowed on adjacent, non-historic parcels assembled with the historic properties.

In addition, echoing recommendations of the now-adopted plan, the study recommended instituting Transferrable Development Rights (TDRs) as an incentive to undertake preservation projects. An owner could sell and transfer unused density (calculated from the allowable density before the proposed downzoning) to other redevelopment sites in the East End or designated "receiving zones" elsewhere in the greater downtown area.

Image: The landmark Tariff Building was creatively adapted by the Kimpton Hotel and Restaurant Group as the Hotel Monaco -- a 184 room luxury hotel.

The preservation recommendations of the Small Building Study were largely incorporated into a rezoning of the East End in 1990 and 1991. This rezoning also modified use provisions that had previously allowed, but not required, the desired mixture of uses. That situation was resulting in the predominance of higher-yielding uses, such as office use, which pushed property values to levels that made preferred uses difficult to achieve. The new zoning prescribed minimum standards for use mix, thereby moderating values to reflect the mixed-use objectives. Additionally, the regulations provided incentives to encourage inclusion of preferred uses.

PARKING REQUIREMENTS IN SUPPORT OF TRANSIT AND PRESERVATION

Washington also put in place a series of transit- and preservation-supportive parking provisions in the zoning code. In recognition of the transit investment, the primary commercial zones in the greater downtown and East End do not have minimum parking requirements for office projects. Given the high expense of providing parking, it was determined to allow the marketplace to dictate parking ratios, on the presumption that the development community would see the benefit of encouraging transit ridership by not providing more parking than was necessary to successfully market office space. Maximum ratios (capping parking) were eschewed by the code in favor of this market approach. Further, zoning provides for special exception relief from parking requirements for all uses within Metrorail impact areas (800 linear feet of station).

This strategy appears to be working. A survey of recently completed office projects in the East End shows that newly constructed office buildings are providing approximately one space for every 1,150 square feet of building. Given Washington's standards, that equates to about one space for every five employees, which suggests that a substantial number of employees are arriving at work by means other than private auto. Transit is likely to account for a significant portion of those trips.

Importantly, unlike many cities, Washington does not provide off-street municipal parking within the downtown areas. Privately provided parking is all there is. The city does not otherwise subsidize or provide off-street parking. This policy reinforces use of the transit alternative, essentially giving priority to public spending for an extensive transit network as contrasted with auto-oriented systems.

In addition, the code specifically exempts historic properties from meeting parking ratios applicable to other buildings. These structures, upon rehabilitation, are required only to provide the number of spaces in existence before restoration. As many of the properties were constructed in the pre-auto era and occupied almost 100 percent of lot area, it is frequently the case that no parking is required as a matter of code compliance. Providing on-site parking in these instances would have been a practical impossibility without at least partial demolition or very costly alterations.

Image: This beautifully rehabilitated block within Chinatown provides restaurants and entertainment venues to a steady stream of downtown visitors and is conveniently located near the MCI Center and the Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Station.

STRATEGIC INVESTMENTS AND FINANCIAL INCENTIVES

The city has also made strategic investments designed to catalyze and reinforce preferred uses and character. Two decades ago, it constructed a convention center in the East End. Today, based on its success, a new and greatly expanded center is nearing completion immediately to the north. Proposals are being sought to redevelop the current center's site for a mixture of residential, retail, and cultural uses as soon as the new center comes on line.

Additionally, the city agreed to sell one of its urban renewal parcels immediately adjacent to the Downtown Historic District (one of three historic districts in the East End) for redevelopment as an arena and to provide $60 million in infrastructure improvements to support that project. Opened in 1997, the $260 million MCI Center attracted approximately 2.5 million attendees during its first four years of operation.

Both projects were designed to rely heavily on transit. The new 2.3-million-square-foot Convention Center has a direct, mezzanine-level connection to the subway, and only 100 spaces of restricted parking. Similarly, the 20,000-seat MCI Center has very limited VIP parking on site. It shares its site with a grade-level Metro station. Approximately 50 percent of attendees have been arriving by subway. Those arriving by car use private garages beneath commercial buildings in the vicinity. As most events are held during evenings and weekends, these spaces are available at those times for joint and shared use, and provide significant additional revenue for garage owners and operators. The management of the new convention center anticipates following that example.

The city has used tax increment financing (TIF), revenue bonds, community development loans, capital improvement grants, and tax abatements, and has accepted less-than-market value for city-controlled redevelopment sites to assist private development projects that will help realize the mixture of retail, cultural, and residential objectives established for the East End.

PRESERVATION/TRANSIT EXPERIENCE

The investments made by the city to prepare the East End for desired redevelopment are paying off. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the downtown historic district. One of three historic districts in the East End, it contains the greatest number of contributing buildings.

Virtually all the historic properties in this sector have recently been restored or are now undergoing renovation. Most of the projects involve essentially full restoration of building exteriors, with little exterior alteration. A handful of properties have incorporated portions of historic properties, with new additions occurring after a setback from the street to respect the historic scale of the district. These alteration projects, approved through the "special merit" provisions of the local ordinance, include design and land use features determined especially desirable that compensate for the partial alterations.

A sample of recent projects includes the following:

• Courtyard Marriot: adaptive reuse of a historic bank building for 188 hotel rooms with ground-floor restaurants and retail.
• Hotel Monaco: adaptive reuse of the landmark Tariff Building as a 184-room luxury hotel.
• 7th Street Historic Row: restoration of a row of low-scale historic commercial buildings including 80,000 square feet of retail and 120,000 square feet of office on upper floors.
• Atlas/Ledroit Buildings: full restoration of historic buildings for adaptive reuse as 80,000 square feet of office on upper stories, 25,000 square feet of restaurant and retail space, and 40,000 square feet for the International Spy Museum (the museum received TIF and revenue bond funding from the city). This project also includes 12 luxury apartments in newly constructed space to the rear of the project.
• Old Marlow Furniture Building: restoration of this former retail furniture store to include 11,000 square feet of first-floor retail space and 30,000 square feet of office space on upper floors.

In addition, the Smithsonian Institution is carrying out a $211 million restoration of the Old Patent Building. When completed in 2006, the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery and Museum of American Art will reopen in renovated spaces, further adding to the area's appeal. Again, no parking is planned.

Contacts

Ellen McCarthy
District of Columbia, Office of Planning
202-442-7600
ellen.mccarthy@dc.gov

David Maloney
District of Columbia, Historic Preservation Office
202-442-8800
david.maloney@dc.gov

Robert Edwards
Downtown Business Improvement District
202-638-3232
rob@downtowndc.org

Alex Eckmann
District of Columbia, Office of Mass Transit
202-671-0536
alex.eckmann@dc.gov

Alvin McNeal
Manager, Transit-Oriented Development
Washington Metro Area Transportation Authority
202-962-1240
amcneal@wmata.com

Signs of success

Today, Metro's combined bus and rail services carry about 1 million passengers per day. It is the nation's fourth-largest transit system; its rail system ranks second. Approximately 40 percent of all travelers to downtown take transit, and evidence suggests the figure is higher for people with a destination right next to a Metro station. Washington's, and particularly the East End's, commercial space rents are consistently in the top tier of cities nationwide, and its occupancy rates typically rank first or second.

Additional projects are underway in the area, including the following:

• Terrell Place, a mixed-use project including office, retail, arts, and residential units that involves the gut rehabilitation and facade restoration of several historic properties as well as some new construction. The 548,000-square-foot project includes approximately 220 parking spaces, a low parking ratio of 1 space per 2,500 square feet of building area.
• The Jefferson at Penn Quarter includes rehabilitation of two historic properties, 420 luxury housing units, a theatre with dining for 250 persons, and 40,000 square feet of retail. Here, 450 parking spaces are planned, again reflecting a strong reliance on transit.
• Gallery Place is a mixed-use project under construction on a joint development site owned by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Bordering the historic district and located immediately north of the MCI Center, this $250 million project's massing and exteriors have been designed both to respect the area's historic character and to capitalize on Metrorail connections. Its nearly 1 million square feet of space will include offices, apartments, and a major retail and arts center. A parking ratio of 1 space per 1,450 square feet is programmed. The project is slated to open early in 2004.

Lessons learned

The success of Washington's East End was not happenstance, nor is it the result of recent project initiatives. Rather, it was made possible by decades of careful, creative, and deliberate decisions and investments. Those activities positioned the East End to attract investors as market conditions allowed. Today, Washington is experiencing the return on those strategic investments. Key recommendations include the following:

Plan for and invest in a regional transit system that purposefully interconnects existing, emerging, and future population, employment, and activity centers.
Prepare an area plan that takes advantage of and reinforces the transit opportunity, builds on the historic resources and strengths of the area, and promotes a mixture of synergistic uses.
Establish a regulatory framework that both controls and provides incentives for achieving land use, preservation, and transportation objectives.
Assemble a kit of financing tools so that public officials can respond to the needs of projects meeting adopted objectives as opportunities to leverage private investment emerge.
Encourage strategic public investments in projects that stimulate and support desired uses, including transit use.

Photo credits:

• Introduction, page 4 - Boston South Station
• Dallas, page 13 - Preservation Dallas, page 14 - Matthews Southwest, page 15 - Matthews Southwest, page 16 - Preservation Dallas, page 17 - Preservation Dallas, page 19 - The Beaird Agency
• Ft.Worth, page 20, 21 - Susan Kline/Historic Fort Worth, page 22 - Renaissance Development
• Denver, page 25 - Robert Pisano/Seattle, page 26(top) - James Lindberg, page 26(bottom) - Denver Public Library, page 28 - Denver Regional Transportation District
• San Diego, page 31, 32, 33, 35, 36 - Stacie Huckeba/ Gaslamp Quarter Association
• Bay Area, page 39, 40 - Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, page 41 - Hyatt Sainte Claire, page 43 - Fruitvale Development Corporation
• Arlington, page 47 - Stacey Mahaney, page 48 - Constance Beaumont
• Chicago, page 51 and 52 - Brook Collins/Chicago Park District Photojournalist
• Cleveland, page 55, 57 - CenterPoint Properties
• Evanston, page 59, 60 - City of Evanston
• Gaithersburg, page 63, 64, 65 - Stacey Mahaney • Memphis, page 69, 70 - The Alexander Company, page 71 - Jennifer Tucker/Memphis Landmarks Commission
• St.Louis, page 73 - Constance Beaumont
• South Orange, page 77, 78, 79 - Josh Bloom
• Washington, DC, page 83, 84, 85 - Stacey Mahaney

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.: FTA DC-26-1004
2. Government Accession No.:
3. Recipient's Catalog No.:
4. Title and Subtitle: The Returning City: Historic Preservation and Transit in the Age of Civic Revival
5. Report Date: September 2. 2003
6. Performing Organizational Code:
7. Author: Dan Costello & Lisa Schameae with Robert Mendelsohn, Anne Canby and Joseph Bender
8. Performing Organization Report No.:
9. Performing Organization Name and Address: National Trust for Historic Preservation, 1785 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036
10. Work Unit No.(TRAIS):
11. Contractor Grant No.: FTA-DC-26-1004
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address: Federal Transit Administration, 400 Seventh Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20590
13. Type of Report and Period Covered:
14. Sponsoring Agency Code:
15. Supplementary Notes: Contact: Effie S. Stallsmith, Office of Planning and Environment, RM9413, FTA, 400 7th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20590 202-366-5653
16. Abstract: This report was written by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in association with Anne Canby, Robert Mendelsohn, Joseph Bender and Lisa Schamess at the direction of the FTA. The study it reports on sought to demonstrate how transit and historic preservation act as compatible forces to revitalize communities and examined the relationship that is developing among public transit systems, transit-oriented development, community revitalization, and historic preservation. It is designed to provide useful information to a wide variety of practitioner, interested in any of these phenomena and how they interact and enhance one another. It also contains a series of larger and smaller case studies that help illustrate the study's major findings, which the authors refer to as vital signs of transit oriented development.
17. Key Words: public transit, land use planning, historic preservation, transit-oriented development, urban revitalization
18. Distribution Statement: Available to public: NTIS, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161
19. Security Classif. (of this report): unclassified
20. Security Classif. (of this page): unclassified
21. No. of Pages:
22. Price:

FORM DOT F1700.7 (8-72)
Per FORM PPO Delrina 04/04/94
Reproduction of completed page authorized

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Acknowledgments

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and our associates in the production of this book note with great sadness the passing of Jennifer Moulton, Denver's Director of Community Development and Planning. Jennifer gave generously of her time to show us how transit and historic preservation worked together to revitalize Denver. Her advice and counsel shaped both the Denver case study and much of the thinking in the entire report. Architect, planner, passionate about cities and historic preservation, she will live in her substantial contributions to the Denver of today and tomorrow.

Federal Transit Administration: Effie Stallsmith, Terry Rosapep, Carolyn Mulvihill

National Trust Staff: Kitty Higgins, Laura Skaggs, Carl Wolf, Stacey Mahaney, Constance Beaumont, Thierry Roch

Interns: Melissa Hipolit, Ilana Shoenbach

Seminar Participants: John Bartosiewicz, Scott Bernstein, Jeffrey Boothe, Thomas Bozzuto, Sarah Campbell, Robert Cervero, Stephen Dorsey, Felicia Young, Thomas Downs, Fred Kent, Linda Lawson, Robert Puentes, John Leith-Tetrault, Peter Montague, Claudia Robinson, Jonathan Rose, Donovan Rypkema, Stephen Shapiro, John Stainback, Paul Verchinski, Linda Watson, Richard Weaver, Martin Whitmer, Jr., Nancy Jakowitsch, Kurt Sommer

Ongoing sources of information: Planetizen Newswire, Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association, Community Transportation Association of America

Dallas/Fort Worth: E. Larry Fonts, Dwayne Jones, Barbara Maley, Jack Wierzenski, Jeremy Leonard, Pete Coughlin, Fernando Costa, Shanon Peterson Wasielewski, Melissa Waelti-Dailey, Tom Blanton, Ed Casebier, Ed Vanston, Jr., Dana Burghdoff, Chris Maguire, Veletta Hill, Daniel Carey

Denver: Jim Lindberg, Brendon Harrington, Kathleen Brooker, Marilee Utter, Susan Barnes-Gelt, Chuck Perry

San Diego: Jay Turner, Miriam Kirshner, Rick Kurylo, Fred Baranowski, Marc Wolfsheimer, Angeles Leira, Bruce Coons, Marie Lia, Jack Limber, Dan Flores

San Francisco Bay Area: Courtney Damkroger, Patricia Morreale, Jeff Ordway, Jim Lightbody, Jesus Armas, Arabella Martinez, Dennis Korabiak, Robert Cervero, Rod Diridon, Jim Fox, Patty Hirota-Cohen, Chris Kober, David Lynn, Janelle McCombs, Julie Render, Manuela Silva, Dan Solomon

Arlington: Robert Brosnan, Alvin McNeal, Paul Ferguson, Sona Virdi, Julie Martin Mangis

Chicago: Linda Fuller, Michael Fus, Jim Peters, Lynette Civarella, Bill Reynolds, Lisa Roberts, Anne McCarthy, Felicia Dawson, Eunita Rushing

Cleveland: Adam Fishman, Randy Ruttenberg, Maribeth Feke, Reid Robbins

Evanston: Dennis Marino, Lynette Civarella, Bob Perlmutter, Chelsie Petereit

Gaithersburg: Steve Virosteck, Dave Humpton, Ira Silverman

Memphis: Phil Woodard, Tom Fox, Erin Hanafin Berg, Judith Johnson, Natalie Bock, Jeff Sanford, Leanne Simmons

St. Louis: Richard Baron, Tina Votaw, Tom Shrout, Les Sterman

South Orange: Cary Heller, Mayor William Calabrese, Nancy Adams-Shippy, Mark Gordon, Josh Bloom, John Gross, Edwin Matthews

Washington: Ellen McCarthy, David Maloney, Robert Edwards, Alex Eckmann, John Fondersmith, Douglass Jemal, Alvin McNeal

Design: FUSZION Collaborative
http://www.fuszion.com

National Trust for Historic Preservation
1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036-2117
http://www.nationaltrust.org