Real Estate Journal — Shopping Centers — April 25 - May 15, 2014 — 7C


M id A tlantic

S hopping C enters

revitalize their neighborhood economies and improve their quality of life. This approach also creates a collaborative dynamic instead of an adver- sarial relationship, enabling developers to secure planning and development input from those who know the area best. Increasing transparency – Policies and development decisions must be as straight- forward and predictable as possible. Public and private offi- cials must make their decision- making process transparent and value positive community outcomes. Facilitating abandoned prop- erty development – A greenfill approach means reforming policies that hamper the ability to put underutilized properties back onto the market. Because the process for acquiring a property that has not paid tax-

es or has been abandoned can be cumbersome, municipalities should consider streamlining regulations to facilitate acquisi- tion and disposal of abandoned properties. Creating effective develop- ment incentives – Because the costs of developing in an urban environment can be much higher than in a subur- ban site, greenfill development may require some public as- sistance. Municipalities can create sources of capital and subsidize development through tax increment financing, tax incentive programs, business improvement district, and mu- nicipal bonds. Introducing historic tax cred- its – Using tax benefits and incentives to stimulate revital- ization of historic buildings and areas creates enormous value. Maryland’s Historic Tax Credit

program, for example, provides income tax credits based on a percentage of the qualified capital costs expended in the rehabilitation of a structure. Any sustainable development plan should include the conser- vation, improvement, and reuse of existing built resources, and additional reinvestment in older and historic communities. Reforming the tax system – Civic leaders should develop tax systems that discourage speculation and boost infill re- development. Land value taxa- tion taxes the land more than the improvements on the land, ensuring that landowners and developers are not penalized for making improvements. It Takes a Village Coordination between dispa- rate groups can be challenging. The recognition that everyone benefits from vibrant, dynamic

urban spaces is changing the way people think about urban development and redevelop- ment. If civic leaders and de- sign and development profes- sionals can articulate a com- mon goal and consistently focus their energies toward that goal, greenfill development will have a transformative impact on the next generation of urban landscapes. Dustin Watson serves as partner and director of sustainability with Balti- more-based DDG, an inno- vative architecture, design, planning and graphics firm with a history of creating high-profile, high-quality interior and exterior envi- ronments around the world. Watson is a LEED-Accredit- ed Professional, and DDG is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council. n

expansion. The development of vacant sites is connected to community economic rede- velopment and job creation, neighborhood revitalization, and the reuse of urban space. By better managing growth and slowing sprawl, cities can use land more efficiently and allow communities to grow and evolve over time. Among greenfill’s central principles is a commitment to making and preserving opera- tional connections between the organizations involved and lit- eral connections between plots of land. The Corners in Brook- field, Wisconsin, 15 minutes outside of Milwaukee, offers a case in point. Previously known as Goerkes Corners, the revitalized desti- nation sits on what was a tragi- cally underutilized property, with vacant retail space and flagging pedestrian and vehicu- lar traffic. The 650,000-sqare- foot mixed-use development establishes pedestrian con- nections to public transport and connects the project to a large existing network of public parks and trails. It will also create activate public space and draw subtle connections to existing resources, community, and infrastructure. Taking advantage of unique site topography, The Corners features one full level of semi below-grade parking. This dra- matically reduces runoff and reduces the urban heat island effect and other environmental stresses that accompany above- ground parking. It also pro- vides an aesthetic benefit and a warm covered parking facility for residents and visitors. Beyond Blueprints While a greenfill perspective can lead to creative design solu- tions like The Corners, the big- gest challenges of implement- ing a greenfill approach are not related to design. They are matters of policy and process. A strong push for coordinated greenfill development must include top-down coordination, procedural streamlining, and regulatory reform. Priorities include: Assembling a development plan – Municipalities should develop both a regional plan and a more detailed neighbor- hood analysis. Big-picture plan- ning helps with coordination and accountability. An inven- tory mechanism for monitoring vacant and abandoned proper- ties can also be a real asset. Engaging community stake- holders –Residents have the most to gain by encouraging the reuse of vacant and under- utilized properties. Educating and engaging with stakehold- ers can help them understand how greenfill development can continued from page 6C

• Project Management

• Development Due Diligence & Feasibility Studies

• Agency Permitting

• Land Development Design

• Construction Phase Services

• Graphic Services

PHILADELPHIA METRO OFFICE: 8614 Montgomery Avenue Wyndmoor, PA 19038 215-836-2510 LANCASTER OFFICE: 1853 William Penn Way, P.O. Box 10368 Lancaster, PA 17605-0368 717-672-0614

PITTSBURGH OFFICE: 201 Penn Center Boulevard, Suite 400 Pittsburgh, PA 15235 412-253-6569

NEW JERSEY OFFICE: 100 Overlook Center, Suite 200 Princeton, NJ 08540 609-920-0268


Made with FlippingBook - Online catalogs