FROM THE LinkedIn GROUP – REAL ESTATE AND MOBILITY
Driving Hard to Secure Last-Mile Logistics
The need for last-mile logistics has led some developers to scrape sites that once held shopping malls or other physical retail, or to convert low-grade office space into warehouses. But in Chicago, real estate services firm JLL has come up with an innovative play for investors who hold a lease to a city-owned parking garage—repurposing a portion of it as a last-mile warehouse. JLL says it is the first such conversion in the United States. The Millennium Chicago last-mile facility, located at Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street in the city’s central business district (CBD), will be within 15 minutes of nearly 230,000 city residents, according to the project’s website. Keith Stauber, a JLL managing director, said that the existing building is well suited for such a makeover. “It’s one big, wide horizontal underground garage,” he explained. “We don’t have significantly pitched floors like traditional urban garages.”
Driverless future could change real estate
“It may take a while: The earliest examples of driverless services — buses, taxis and delivery vans — have already arrived, but widespread consumer adoption might not be here for a decade. And almost half a century passed from Henry Ford’s 1908 Model T, the first car for the masses, before suburbs designed for drivers took hold. And that’s why investors like Ric Clark, chairman of Brookfield Property Partners LP, the world’s largest real estate investment company, admit they’re involved in little more than guesswork.”
Why the corner of Colfax and Broadway is vacant after a $31 million RTD bus station renovation
“Redevelopment has its catches. RTD leases the land from a family trust and has the right to develop under the agreement, which is good for the next 57 years. The land lease limits what might be built there to about 100,000 square feet.”
Southmoor has one of Denver’s best NIMBY records, but they’re bracing for more change
“The rail resistance near Southmoor was “extreme, but it was par for the course,” Foster recalled. “It was wild. Nobody wanted (transit) until everybody wanted it.” Some 15 years later, Southmoor has seen less development than some of its neighbors on the line. The commercial area next to the station is a low-key strip mall with acres of parking, a grocery store, a movie theater and a Chili’s. Now, the city is once again asking how this valuable piece of land might change. Councilwoman Black has made it a focus of her mission to revamp southeast Denver, with a “visioning” meeting coming up on Feb. 20. And, to add a little intrigue, the seven-acre movie theater site sold in 2014 for $15 million.”
There Are Changes Bigger Than Self-Driving Cars Coming
“Cities are ultimately engines of commerce. They exist primarily because there is economic efficiency in proximity. But as work is automated and transactions move online, the nature of that economic efficiency will be transformed. The shift to online shopping, for example, holds the potential to be just as revolutionary for cities as the shift to self-driving cars. ”
Uber CEO expects self-driving cars to start picking up passengers in 18 months. Flying cars? 5-7 years
“Uber has already started sending some self-driving cars to users who request them through the app in Tempe, Ariz. But those vehicles come with two Uber engineers in the front seats in case of emergency. Uber is also testing self-driving cars in Phoenix and Pittsburgh, home of the company’s Advanced Technologies Group…“For five percent of cases, everything is going to fall into place and we will send an autonomous car,” Khosrowshahi said, noting that the rider will have the option to choose, human or self-driving car…Over time, that five percent will grow and autonomous vehicles will learn the city where they drive. That learning period — Khosrowshahi anticipates it will take about five years — will have to be replicated in each city where Uber deploys self-driving cars.”
MobilityScore: an Improvement over TransitScore?
Recently, the beta version of a new tool, MobilityScore, was released. It offers a similarly simple two-digit score, but with a broader scope than TransitScore. Created by TransitScreen, a company specializing in real-time transit information displays, MobilityScore is described as an “easy-to-understand measure of your transportation access.”
The Denver Moves: Transit team is sharing which corridors are right for high capacity transit (like bus rapid transit or rail) and which are ready for features to improve speed and reliability. Check out the summary video below, and visit the online open house for details, resources and to provide your feedback on the draft recommendations
Denver City Council Member Robin Kniech reports that Denver Moves: Transit is on a mission to develop a 20-year vision with more transportation choices to move more people efficiently and safely throughout our city. Council Members Kashmann, New, Susman and Black also ask you to provide input at the online survey, which closes on February 16.
Council Member Kashmann also reports frustration at our over-stressed roadways and under-developed mass transit network which continue to top the list of constituent calls. The Denveright planning initiative identifies high-use corridors and lays out a menu of possible options to get as many people as possible out of their cars and onto mass transit.
Council Member Black also reports that from early February until fall CDOT will work on a lighted and raised center median installation project along Colorado Highway 83/Parker Road between East Mississippi and East Harvard Avenues. The project will prevent median crossover crashes and improve the safety of both motorists and pedestrians. Crews will install 18 raised concrete median islands and 35-foot light poles along this stretch of Parker Road.
Transportation Solutions is pleased to move forward with an aggressive array of programs and services that support a multi-modal travel environment in Southeast Denver and Glendale. Our five initiatives for 2018 include:
- DRCOG Way to Go Partnership
- Station-Area Access Initiative / Neighborhood Mobility Hubs
- Station-Area Infrastructure Improvements and Funding
- Cherry Creek Dart
- Station-Area Study for Yale, Southmoor and Belleview Stations
The theme of The Road Ahead 2018 event on 2/22 is centered around our second initiative and speaks to the need to for better connections from rail stations to the surrounding community. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if all transit station areas were true mobility hubs, serving as cultural gathering places for their communities? Are you a student or resident interested in how technology can be better applied to improve the first-mile/last-mile problem? Are you a professional who wants the Denver Area to make the most of its investment in transit? Join us to explore how opportunities to improve mobility and station connectivity are arising with the advent of new technology and a more integrated transportation system! We are thrilled to be joined by Pauletta Tonilas of LA Metro, as well as a panel of local experts from DRCOG, the City and County of Denver, and the University of Denver.
Colorado House Bill 1072 would make the use of automated enforcement, such as red light cameras and photo radar, illegal. When implemented correctly, automated enforcement has been proven to reduce crash severity and create a less dangerous environment for people walking and biking. Walk Denver & the Vision Zero Coalition are organizing to oppose the bill. Contact your representative to ensure Colorado and Denver continue to have this tool to slow traffic and increase safety for all road users.
Are you following the progress on the Colfax Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project? Attend the pop-up meeting at Carla Madison Recreation Center at Colfax / Josephine on February 21st from 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM to get the latest!
The Colfax Corridor Connections project is focused on finding long-term solutions for transit, pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles on East Colfax Avenue. The preliminary recommendation for center-running BRT would dedicate one existing travel lane in each direction for transit use along Colfax between Broadway and Yosemite. Why BRT? Over the next 20 years, Denver expects 25% more people to travel and live along Colfax Avenue. However, bus service in the corridor is at capacity and already includes some of RTD’s busiest routes. The center-running BRT concept would dedicate one travel lane in each direction for transit along Colfax between Broadway and Yosemite. In 2035, the project is expected to:
- More than double bus ridership: From 22,000 to 50,000 daily riders
- Significantly improve travel times for buses: Up to 15 minutes faster with the project than without it
- Shift trips from vehicles to transit: Due to faster travel times, comfort and convenience of BRT service
- Slightly increase travel times for cars: Just a few minutes slower with the project than without it
- Improve safety for all modes of transportation: Safer pedestrian crossings, enhanced bicycle connections, signalized/protected vehicle turns and streetscape improvements.
In 2012, the City of Denver in partnership with RTD, and in coordination with the City of Aurora, began discussing solutions with the public for improving mobility along Colfax. After years of analysis and a robust outreach process, Denver identified East Colfax as an ideal candidate for BRT. The community then helped shape the center-running concept in 2017. The Denver bond package voters passed last fall includes $55 million for additional design and initial implementation of BRT on Colfax, as well as more than $20 million for streetscaping improvements. The bond package also included other funds for pedestrian and bike safety enhancements along the corridor. Construction could begin as early as 2021. Your feedback at the pop-up will help inform the next phase of the project, as more detailed design is developed for the preliminary BRT concept or take the Center-Running Bus Rapid Transit Survey:
It’s been a few months since RTD launched its mobile ticket app for Android and Apple devices. Users are raving about how easy it is to use! Here’s how it works:
- Download the app from Google Play or the App Store
- Open the app and select your choice of a Regional or Local Day Pass
- Activate your ticket before boarding an RTD bus or train
- Present your fare for inspection when instructed by an RTD security officer
- Note: Mobile tickets are not yet available for a single-ride, one-way fare.
Treasury, IRS Issue Guidance On Opportunity Zones To Spur Private Investment In Distressed Communities
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act established Opportunity Zones to spur private investment in distressed communities throughout the country. Opportunity Zones advance President Trump’s goal that the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act reach across the entire country and boost economic development and job opportunities. On February 8th, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provided guidance to states, the District of Columbia, and any possession of the United States, on designating Opportunity Zones.
The Denver Post reports that the deficit of homes and apartments in the region is expected to peak this year at about 32,000 units. That will put upward pressure on home prices for years to come even as supply rises to levels not seen since the early 2000s, warned Phyllis Resnick, lead economist for the Colorado Futures Center at Colorado State University. Resnick acknowledges several things could derail her forecast of a chronic housing deficit. An economic recession could derail growth. Metro Denver could develop a reputation for unaffordability that keeps people away. The Resnick housing affordability study points to a variety of policy and market-oriented changes that could bring the market into balance faster. Those range from advocating for immigration policy that makes more skilled workers available, unlikely in the current political environment, and employing crews from the correctional system, to adding more factory-built modular housing and changing Colorado tax policy that discourages seniors from selling their homes.
Denver is updating its 17-year-old Comprehensive Plan 2000 with a new, plan that is intended to reflect the voice of Denver today, and chart its course for the next two decades. Denver Community Planning and Development reports that Denverite’s have called for a more inclusive city with strong and authentic neighborhoods. To achieve that, we must move beyond Denver’s “areas of change” and “areas of stability” model, established in 2002. Based on input in the Denveright Blueprint Denver planning effort, city planners are working on a new approach to managing land use in our city. The new concept acknowledges that all places in our city are constantly evolving in pursuit of becoming complete in their own way — not just through enabling or limiting development, but through quality-of-life infrastructure like safe sidewalks, housing options, transit access, parks and open space. Diversity, affordability and good urban design/architecture are key to complete neighborhoods as well. Denver will continue to grow and change. Through Denveright citywide planning, we have the opportunity to make sure these changes benefit everyone. Regional centers and corridors would take on the most growth, while the remainder of Denver’s places would evolve in smaller ways. Ensuring the proper scale and intensity for all places — and appropriate transitions between residential areas and other places — are key to livability. Twelve Blueprint workshops in February and March will develop potential strategies for land use and transportation in neighborhoods and citywide.
The Cherry Creek North Business Improvement District reports that six of seven major building projects in Cherry Creek North are projected for completion this year. With a walk score of 95, the most walkable district in Denver has even more reasons to visit as construction activity wraps up and new retail, restaurants, office and residences begin to open their doors. “In 2017, two of the major building projects in Cherry Creek North were completed and in 2018, six more are projected to be done,” said Julie Underdahl, president & CEO of the Cherry Creek North BID. “It’s exciting to see these state-of-the-art projects finish! Cherry Creek North is one of the premier shopping, dining, and lifestyle destinations in the country and the new buildings bring retail and dining along with additional parking which gives even more reasons to visit.” In 2017, two major building projects were completed and MOXY Denver Cherry Creek (240 Josephine St.) and the newly redeveloped Cherry Creek Square (3000 E. 3rd Ave.) were welcomed to the District. When completed, uses added to Cherry Creek North will include new retail, parking, hotel, offices and residential.
Council Member Kashmann also reports that more than 125 residents gathered at Ellis Elementary School to exchange ideas, hopes and concerns about the planned redevelopment of the 12-plus acre Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) property at East Arkansas Avenue and South Birch Street in the Virginia Village neighborhood. CDOT will relocate its operation to a new facility being built near Mile High Stadium this spring/summer.
Kentro Group, the developer under contract to purchase the site included experts on land-use, design and traffic planning. The initial concept calls for a main street extending the city grid north and south through the middle of the property, with residential envisioned as the primary use to the east and commercial/retail to the west. The city’s contract with Kentro requires the firm to rezone the property – calling for robust public input and approval by City Council – and to build 150 housing units affordable for those earning 60% or less of Area Median Income. Should those units not be built within seven years, there is a provision for a cash-in-lieu payment. Public meetings will be held for the next six months or so. A separate series will be announced soon to discuss plans for a townhome development Kentro envisions for a second CDOT property it has under contract at 2000 South Holly Street. That site does not require a public process as the land is currently zoned for the townhome use, but Kentro principal, Jimmy Balafas, has agreed to engage with the community regardless.
Council Member Black also announced the Southmoor Visioning & Blueprint Denver Community Meeting on Tuesday, February 20th at the Thomas Jefferson High School cafeteria, 3950 South. Holly Street. Help guide planning efforts and future development. Residents have asked for better walkability, restaurants and fun gathering places for people.
5:30-6 PM: Doors open, pizza & check-in
6-7:30 PM: Presentation & visit stations
On Tuesday, April 3, a follow-up meeting will report back and discuss strategies for moving forward.
Council Member Black also reports that the High Line Canal Conservancy (HLCC) launched the second phase of significant planning inspired by the Community Vision Plan, and will focus on developing a Framework Plan to be completed in fall 2018. It will include complete plans for signage & wayfinding and landscape guidelines.
The south bridge at Bible Park was removed in January and a new bridge will be open in March – April. Design of the east and west bridges is underway with construction late summer / fall.
Council Member Susman also reports that the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has begun a formal stakeholder engagement and public input process to review and possibly modify the Green Roof’s ordinance approved by voters last fall. DDPHE has formed a Green Roofs Review Task Force of stakeholders to develop recommended modifications, clarifications, and improvements to the initiative. The Green Roofs Review Task Force meetings are open to the public.
The City and County of Denver and RTD are recommending a design for reconstruction of the 16th Street Mall that would expand sidewalks for walking, café seating, and other activities, and move transit lanes to the center or offset-center of each block. These updates are designed to enhance the Mall experience for visitors while improving pedestrian safety and mobility on the city’s most transit-rich street. The proposed design would update and modernize the Mall’s deteriorating infrastructure, while honoring its iconic look. It is a modified version of one of the options released in October 2017, refined this winter based on input from downtown workers, Mall businesses, and the broader community. Two Open House Public Meetings are on March 8th at 12-1 PM and 5-6 PM at the RTD Board Room at 1660 Blake St.
Council Member New also reports that the City and County of Denver is receiving a growing number of requests from wireless providers and wireless infrastructure companies to construct small cell facilities or poles in the public right of way. This increase in local installations is required due to the large increases in 4G voice and data demands from homes and businesses. The use of the public right of way for these installations is allowed by federal and state law. Council Member New has been working with Xcel Energy, city attorneys and Public Works staff to mitigate the effects of these installations. The following actions have been taken or are under consideration:
- Facilitate co-location of small cell equipment on existing Xcel power poles
- Locate poles at alley entrances or in alleys when possible
- Regulate distance between small cell poles, reducing visual impact
- Request pole installations at intersection or away from the front of properties
Although this program initially focuses on higher density Capitol Hill and Cheeseman Park, they will affect all neighborhoods.
While maintenance of sidewalks is a responsibility of property owners, the City will start a sidewalk repair program for improvements to existing sidewalks and a gap program to add sidewalks that are missing, funded by $4 million from the general fund. The program will assist lower income property owners with extended repayment and discounts thorough a revolving loan fund. The City will be divided into eleven (11) areas with one area evaluated for repairs each year. The property owner may either use a City contracted service or arrange for a construction company of their choice. The gap construction will be funded by $47.7 million from the GO Bond program with $17 million allocated to the Globeville and Elyria-Swansea neighborhoods. Some 335 miles of Denver streets have no sidewalks. Construction is anticipated to cost approximately $100 million.
Denver Parks and Recreation is excited to announce the opening of the $44 million Carla Madison Recreation Center, at the corner of Colfax / Josephine Street with two swimming pools, a basketball gym, workout classrooms, cardio floor and more in a 67,000 SF building. An outdoor climbing wall complements rooftop event space with breathtaking views of downtown and the mountains.
The Game Plan is looking at strategies that will help meet the guiding principles and goals established in October 2017 for Denver’s parks and recreation system based on citizen feedback gathered during public meetings in November. Review the presentation and take a survey on how draft strategies measure up to the unique challenges the parks and recreation system face at: