I recently produced a series of videos for Greater Ohio Policy Center about city revitalization and to give you a teaser, here is the first video of the series:
I recently produced a series of videos for Greater Ohio Policy Center about city revitalization and to give you a teaser, here is the first video of the series:
For those of you who weren’t able to make it for the webinar series this summer on how to redevelop commercial vacant properties and business districts in legacy cities, I’ve included the links to the archived webinars for your viewing pleasure!
PLANNING FOR COMMERCIAL VACANT PROPERTY REUSE
This first webinar provides an overview of the first steps of any commercial revitalization process. These steps involve gaining an understanding the targeted property type and the specifics of its context, developing a plan for commercial revitalization that leverages the advantages of commercial vacant properties, and coordinating cross-sector partnerships around a framework for action. We also provide guidance on how to select an appropriate commercial vacant property reuse, maximizing the “match” between the property and its reuse.
TOOLS & STRATEGIES FOR COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE REDEVELOPMENT
The second webinar supplies tools and strategies that can be used to address the unique challenges of commercial real estate redevelopment. Additionally, strategies for motivating property owners to reuse commercial vacant properties and for gaining site control are covered. The webinar provides tools and strategies that, together, can help practitioners in a variety of contexts return commercial vacant properties to productive use.
TOOLS & STRATEGIES FOR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND DISTRICT MANAGEMENT
Commercial revitalization requires the productive reuse of redeveloped spaces. This webinar lays out strategies and models for managing commercial districts in addition to specific methods for developing and attracting business tenants. Methods for developing existing businesses and attracting desirable new economic uses are described as part of implementing an overall business district management approach. The combination of commercial property redevelopment and long-term business support programs may increase the potential for successful commercial revitalization.
TOOLS FOR OVERCOMING FINANCIAL GAPS
Since the costs of commercial vacant property demolition, clean-up and redevelopment can be prohibitively high, established and creative financing sources will be necessary to undertake each of these activities in the future-especially in weaker markets and legacy cities. Various sources of capital from the private, public, and non-profit sectors, as well as how they can be used, will be described in this webinar.
I presented these webinars in partnership with Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) and the Ohio CDC Association during the Summer of 2015. In 2014, GOPC, in partnership with the German Marshall Fund of the U.S. and the Center for Community Progress, released the publication Redeveloping Commercial Vacant Properties in Legacy Cities: A Guidebook to Linking Property Reuse and Economic Revitalization. Utilizing the guidebook as the basis for these webinars, each webinar featured expert panelists with on-the-ground experience in webinar subject matter.
As reported by the Columbus Dispatch, Mayor Coleman of Columbus gave the following remarks at the Restoring Neighborhoods, Strengthening Economies Summit on June 9th:
“We need a state legislature that understands cities are economic engines, not economic drains,” Coleman said during his keynote speech at the Greater Ohio Policy Center’s summit on urban innovation and sustainable growth.
Coleman wants to see better public transit — both within cities and connecting Ohio’s urban areas. He wants the state help to create more-walkable neighborhoods and fight blight, and he wants the legislature to renew a state fund to clean up polluted industrial sites so they can be redeveloped.
“We’ve come to the point where we need a statewide urban agenda,” he said at the Westin Columbus hotel Downtown.
The Summit also included a plenary panel of leading mayors from across the state: Mayor Nan Whaley of Dayton, Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson of Toledo, Mayor Randy Riley of Wilmington, and Mayor John McNally of Youngstown. Highlighting recent successes in their cities, the mayors struck an optimistic tone on the future of cities in Ohio and each noted the unique relationship their city had with its surrounding region and the state. Discussing challenges facing their cities—including the difficulty of blight and connecting workers to jobs and opportunity—the mayors cautioned that the state of Ohio could do more to support cities.
An urban agenda would support the revitalization of neighborhoods and cities throughout the state, help connect workers to employment centers, create vibrant communities of choice, and strengthen Ohio’s economy.
In Ohio and around the country, real estate developers and investors are recognizing pent-up demand for and a market shift toward sustainable, walkable urban places. Despite this paradigm shift and change in market momentum, many local, state and federal policies currently in place distort development incentives and hamper efforts to create the development consumers want and that support strong local economies. Urban developers and real estate and land use experts can align to provide state and national policy makers with expert advice on current consumer demand and the many benefits of urban and metropolitan growth strategies.
At three forums hosted by the Urban Land Institute district councils in Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, Greater Ohio Policy Center and the national non-profit LOCUS connected with developers from urban centers across the state to discuss the demand for sustainable communities. Here is what we learned:
Ohio’s three largest cities—Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati—have devised strategic urban developments geared toward revamping their waterfronts, with aspirations of boosting local quality of life and economic growth.
Cleveland – Lakefront Development Plan
This past June, Cleveland City Council approved legislation for its long-anticipated lakefront development project. The primary objective is to enhance accessibility of the city’s waterfront.
Dick Pace of Cumberland TCC, LCC, the developer, is expected to build about 1,000 apartments, 80,000 square feet of commercial office space, and 40,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space on 21 acres of the lakefront. The construction will occur in phases so that each section of the new development complements construction taking place in the downtown.
The plan capitalizes on existing anchor institutions, such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Museum, and the Browns stadium, to attract visitors to the lake and leaves space for future development—such as hotels, restaurants, and shops—as the phases of the project advance over time. While the city is funding portions of the project with public funds, the hope is that private investors will be drawn to the area and develop along the lakefront once the infrastructure is in place.
To accommodate affordable housing, Pace said that local public servants, such as teachers and police officers, who wish to live in the neighborhood will be granted reduced rent. He also mentioned that the project will honor a Community Benefits Agreement that assures that Pace will employ local apprentices from Cleveland’s Max Hayes High School and give homegrown firms a chance to work on the project.
Cleveland’s lakefront development project is strategically devised to generate more revenue, attract businesses, promote exposure, boost local quality of life, and increase the volume of tourism in the city.
Columbus – Scioto Greenways Project
Planning for the redevelopment of Columbus’ downtown riverfront has been underway for the past two decades, with exciting progress taking place within the last several years. In April of 2012, the City of Columbus and Franklin County—which are major land owners on the Scioto Peninsula—asked the Columbus Downtown Development Corporation to develop a strategic land use plan for the peninsula. The idea of the Scioto Greenways project was first introduced during the public process leading up to the generation of the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan.
The Scioto Greenways project, which is estimated to cost $35.5 million and is being funded by numerous public and private partners, involves three primary components that will revamp the area around the river. Those three components are:
The Main Street Dam was removed in late 2013, restoring the natural flow of the river and improving the ecological systems and river habitat. The riverbanks and river channel are currently under construction, but once they are completed, they will provide new recreation options and the opportunity to build upon existing investments in the area through the creation of a stunning 33-acre greenway through downtown Columbus.
This project will better connect Downtown Columbus to the Scioto Peninsula and East Franklinton by expanding on recent park investment, creating links to the existing regional bikeway system, and catalyzing further private investment in the urban core.
Cincinnati – The Banks
Downtown Cincinnati’s riverfront between the Great American Ball Park and Paul Brown Stadium is in the midst of a transformation. The Banks development project is turning 18 acres of undeveloped riverfront land along the Ohio River into a dynamic mixed-use “Live, Work, Play” destination.
The Banks project is part of a riverfront strategic development plan that was originally unveiled in the ‘90s. The development will incorporate residential units, office space, as well as dining, leisure and entertainment venues and will connect Cincinnati’s downtown to the waterfront via a 45-acre Riverfront Park.
Atlanta-based companies Carter and The Dawson Company, along with their capital partner USAA Real Estate Company, have been leading the development as a joint venture since 2007. The City of Cincinnati partnered with Hamilton County to provide infrastructure for the site, including a multi-modal transit facility, parking garages, street grid improvements, and utilities.
In late 2009, Phase I construction began by adding luxury apartments and street-level restaurants that opened in 2011, and further street-level retail that opened throughout 2012 and 2013. Ongoing development, which will include more residential, retail, hotel and office sites, will be completed in phases throughout a ten to fifteen year time frame.
The project is expected to add around $600 million in investment and around 1,000 permanent jobs to the local economy, according to a recent study. Already, the development is attracting new national retailers and residents to Cincinnati, which demonstrates the power of waterfront redevelopment as an asset for local quality of life and economic growth.
The waterfront revitalization projects in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati are expected to increase property values, encourage private investment, and contribute to vibrant communities, while improving connectivity between these cities and their beautiful water assets.
Rust Belt cities—like Cleveland, Detroit, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Warren, Youngstown, and Buffalo—have some of the most pernicious challenges facing urban areas today. Concentrated poverty, aging infrastructure, population and industry loss, swaths of vacant properties, and decades of underinvestment are just some of the issues confronting these cities. And yet, now more than ever before, these cities have an opportunity to attract new populations who crave vibrant places with character.
The question is, how do these cities strategically invest in their assets and tackle their obstacles to benefit from this renewed interest in urban living? How can they become great again?
As a graduate student in the City and Regional Planning program at OSU’s Knowlton School of Architecture, I started a yearlong independent study to attempt to answer these questions and to innovate solutions to Rust Belt city challenges. Twelve other masters students in the City and Regional Planning program signed up for the course, and together we spent the 2011-2012 academic year researching, brainstorming, and writing about potential solutions for the Rust Belt. As part of our research, we visited Pittsburgh, Youngstown, Detroit, and Flint during our Spring Break and spent time talking to local leaders and learning from grassroots efforts. By the end of the year, we created a publication compiling our articles on our individual topics and solutions.
The publication that we created is titled 13 Strategies for Rust Belt Cities, and you can download it for free here:
Each article in the publication presents an innovative strategy to address a Rust Belt challenge, such as:
Together, these articles paint a vision for what the Rust Belt could be within our lifetimes. By promulgating these ideas, we hope to contribute to the conversation about how to implement strategies for addressing the region’s obstacles and providing avenues to revitalization.
In honor of my birthday today, I thought I would give myself (and all of you!) one of my very first and very favorite blog posts from 2009. Enjoy!
Kent architecture alum, Ted Ferringer M.Arch ’08, MUD ’08, took these photos while exploring the urban outskirts of Cleveland. His descriptions of place are coupled with the photography.
This photo is from the roof of the old Howard Johnson’s hotel at the north end of E. 55th Street, just off of I90. This photo was taken during the Labor Day weekend airshow, which some friends and I spent the afternoon watching from the roof. That roof probably has the best view in the city.
The building is currently being demo-ed, but the work has paused as the building’s owner has sued the city, who was demo-ing it through eminent domain.
A common collaborator of mine and good friend, Ryan DeBiase, embellished the day’s events in a blog post, here. It’s a work of creative non-fiction; some events are true, some are complete lies. Granted, he still re-caped the day’s events better then I ever could.
Its pretty ironic that the demo of the building started, then stopped, and now looks like it was bombed. It seems somehow appropriate, however, that the lies of that day eventually became a sort of fact.
6611 Euclid Ave. (1) and (2)
These photos were taken during another urban exploration with my common companion for such things, Mr. DeBiase. This building intrigued us the second we saw it after moving to Cleveland. It’s located along the Euclid Corridor, and its basic story is that it used to be light industrial/warehouse space (I believe it housed a garment factory for a number of years) before eventually being abandoned.
When the Euclid Corridor project started, the front bay of the building on the Euclid Ave. side was cut off to accommodate the wider street. For quite a while the building sat unsecured, with the entire front of the building sitting open–creating an amazing real-life building section.
Again, there seems to something inherently poetic about having to cut into the former soul of the city (a former manufacturing building)–creating a monumental scar–for progress to take place.
The RTA, which owns the building, has since covered the front of the building with giant metal panels, creating a new billboard/super graphic along the corridor, promising better times ahead. Like all things Cleveland, the potential is amazing, if perhaps forever unrealized.
I also happened to do a real estate case study for this property in a real estate class at CSU’s Levin College. This property would make an amazing technology/health care incubator site, as the shell of the building is in amazing shape, in an amazing location. It could make an incredible mixed use, TOD development.
Photos from this day’s real were just used in an article about this idea.
(Ted Ferringer lives in Ohio City and works for a local architecture firm.)
The recent upsurge in demand for rental properties in Columbus’ downtown neighborhoods has gained increasing exposure in news sources. The Columbus Dispatch article “Urban Renewal” notes that, “The urban-living renaissance is real” and that
“more and more people, especially young singles, have come to demand the benefits that only city life can bestow: restaurants, entertainment, parks and workplaces within walking distance; a lively atmosphere; and plenty of other young professionals as neighbors.”
These trends are also apparent in U.S. Census data: between 2000 and 2010, the City of Columbus grew in population by 10.6%.
National trends, cited by the likes of LOCUS President Chris Leinberger and the Urban Land Institute, have suggested that both Baby Boomers and Generation Y are moving back to inner cities to take advantage of the many available amenities and walkable communities. I have been interested in finding whether these trends held true for Ohio’s eight largest cities.
The graphs below present some findings:
Figure 1. The above chart compares the percentage of Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1965) and Generation Y (born between 1981 and 2000) in the City of Columbus and the surrounding metropolitan area between 1970 and 2010. There was a 6.04% growth of Generation Y in City of Columbus from 2000 to 2010. Data source: U.S. Census.
Figure 2. The above graph shows the general decline in the percentage of Baby Boomers in Ohio’s eight largest cities from 1970 to 2010.Data source: U.S. Census.
Figure 3. The above graph shows the change in percentage of Generation Y in Ohio’s eight largest cities between 2000 and 2010. Data source: U.S. Census.
What do these trends mean for Ohio’s major metropolises?
Columbus Dispatch article “Rush to rent, and build apartments,” Columbus Underground post “Neighborhood Launch to Break Ground on New Apartments and Condos,”and NPR piece “Rust Belt Reboot Has Downtown Cleveland Rocking” call attention to the developers who are struggling to keep up with the demand for rental residences in walkable urban communities in Columbus and Cleveland, respectively. This demand for walkable neighborhoods with nearby amenities may increase as Baby Boomers age and desire more convenient lifestyles as well as proximity to their children and grandchildren. As for retaining these populations, especially Generation Y, in urban areas—thereby helping to decrease our collective fossil fuel consumption, urban vacancy and blight, health issues related to inactivity, and greenfield consumption—our cities will have to compete to provide employment, quality schools, and world-class amenities.
Let’s start the discussion – what practice and policy drivers can be used to attract and retain our country’s two largest demographic groups, the Baby Boomers and their children, in our Rust Belt cities?
Click the above image to be re-directed to MSNBC’s video clip.
In this segment of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Details magazine’s Jesse Ashlock discusses ways in which young entrepreneurs are creating a “Rust Belt Renaissance.” In a clip from his article in Details, Ashlock states:
“The Motor City is just like the buckle on the Rust Belt, an entire region whose very name speaks of decline and decay but which is now determinedly–and definitively–finding its way forward. In fact, while the rest of America has staggered under the weight of the Great Recession, the innovators, entrepreneurs, thinkers and doers in cities like Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Buffalo and Youngstown have raced out ahead, leading a Heartland renaissance whose effects are being felt from coast to coast.”
A few of the organizations that they mention include A Piece of Cleveland, Slow’s BBQ in Detroit (just went there this past weekend!), and the LaunchHouse in Shaker Heights.
“If y’all wanna see the community transform, common, let’s get to work.”
Lemonade: Detroit is a project Erik Proulx created about two years ago to share the voices of the people who have chosen to stay and make a difference in Detroit. He allows people to become co-producers by purchasing frames in the film – helping with both production costs and community engagement. The film currently has over 2,344 producers. Want to become a producer too? Visit the Lemonade: Detroit website.