Welcome to Cherry Creek Perspective – monthly news of mobility-related and affordable housing real estate throughout the Denver-metro area, and news of real estate, public sector and economic developments in the southeast Denver – Glendale area, relying in part on articles published in Real Estate Perspective. To read the newsletter easily on a mobile device go to:
Research a property or a market in our searchable on-line library of Real Estate Perspective articles compiled since 2001 at:
Each business day for Real Estate Perspective, the JRES staff reviews all Denver metro area wide and local newspapers, trade journals, government websites, blogs and other sources for commercial and residential real estate and economic news. News items are condensed into easily readable summaries providing all of the essential facts for the Real Estate Perspective newsletter. And Apartment Perspective, provides a detailed update of Denver metro area apartment rental, vacancy and development/construction activity including proposed projects.
The latest on Real Estate and Mobility is also available at a Group in LinkedIn with that name and moderated by Bill James at:
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Denverright: Game Plan for a Healthy City
Denver’s two-year Denveright outreach and planning effort, has obtained input from thousands of Denverites and resulted in plans for a more inclusive, connected and healthy city. The plans will guide the city’s growth, development, parks, mobility options and more over the next 20 years. The plan drafts are available for review, comment and a detailed survey through October 31. The city also will host a Denveright community night on August 28, 2018 at City Park Pavilion where anyone may learn more about the plans. City planners will also host office hours in several locations beginning in September. The draft plans will be revised based on input received, and in early 2019, Denver City Council will review plans that require council adoption. Draft plans include:
- Comprehensive Plan 2040 – An overall 20-year vision and goals
- Blueprint Denver – An integrated land use and transportation plan
- Game Plan for a Healthy City – A parks and recreation plan
- Denver Moves: Transit – A first-ever local transit plan
- Denver Moves: Pedestrians & Trails – A sidewalks, street crossings and trails plan
Denver City Park Golf Course Community Open House
Thursday, August 16, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Carla Madison Recreation Center
Updates on the redesign project will include:
- Clubhouse final design
- Interpretive/historical exhibits design concepts
- 23rd Avenue intersection design concept
- Stormwater irrigation
- Golf course routing and design
- Construction progress update
Mobility Choice Blueprint – Denver Metro Area – Take the Quiz
The Mobility Choice Blueprint is a collaborative strategy to help the Denver metro region identify how to best prepare for and invest in the rapidly changing technology that is revolutionizing transportation mobility. A unique planning and funding partnership of CDOT, DRCOG, RTD and the Denver Metro Chamber is creating the Mobility Choice Blueprint – a coordinated strategic direction for the evolving mobility of the region related to walking, bicycling, driving and transit. The 2030 Blueprint will analyze travel trends and technologies in the region, explore and evaluate various technologies and their implications for mobility, align transportation investments of multiple public agencies and create new planning and implementation partnerships.
5 minutes of your time will help shape the future of mobility in the Denver metro area! Take this unique quiz:
Applications for DRCOG’s fall 2018 Citizens’ Academy are now open.
DRCOG now operates the Citizens’ Academy, formerly a program of Transit Alliance. Through the nationally recognized academy, participants learn about mobility and land use from local experts and leaders, network with other residents and act on what they’ve learned. Since 2007, more than 800 from around the region have completed the academy, increasing their knowledge of regional issues and enhancing their leadership capacity. The academy is also a great opportunity for prospective or current local government leaders. DRCOG is now accepting applications for the fall 2018 session at:
The application period will close on Sept. 5. The seven-week academy begins Sept. 27. If you have any questions about DRCOG’s Citizens’ Academy, please contact:
Director, Regional Planning and Development
FROM THE LinkedIn GROUP – REAL ESTATE AND MOBILITY
Putin’s Moscow Is a New Kind of Potemkin Village
“Suddenly, Moscow works. The transportation system puts plenty of other cities to shame: Since 2011, the city has added 30 subway stations, a new light rail ring and kilometers of bike paths. Traffic cameras have tamed the cars, which actually stop at crosswalks. Public spaces draw people outside, offering playgrounds, benches, green areas and architectural marvels such as the Diller Scofidio + Renfro designed Park Zaryadye, with its observation bridge soaring over the Moscow River. Smartphone apps and one-stop shops have made navigating the bureaucracy easier.”
Design parking garages so they can easily become housing
“Denver has earned a reputation as a pioneering city for future-proof parking, specifically with its World Trade Center, which is set to open next year. The project’s first phase included more than 700 above-ground parking spaces, all of which were designed to convert into office, residential or retail space as needed. And as interest in autonomous ride-sharing increases, that need could come sooner rather than later.”
Superblocks: how Barcelona is taking city streets back from cars
“The idea is pretty simple. Take nine square blocks of city. (It doesn’t have to be nine, but that’s the ideal.) Rather than all traffic being permitted on all the streets between and among those blocks, cordon off a perimeter and keep through traffic, freight, and city buses on that.
In the interior, allow only local vehicles, traveling at very low speeds, under 10 mph. And make all the interior streets one-way loops (see the arrows on the green streets below), so none of them serve through streets.”
Left Hand Robotics raises $3.7M for snow-clearing robot
“Left Hand says that a single SnowBot Pro can complete the work of 14 shovelers in the same amount of time. Commercial snow-management companies and municipalities can reduce their labor costs by up to 80 percent, the company says…SnowBot Pro is GPS-conrolled and connected to the cloud and follows a pre-programmed path unassisted to clear sidewalks and bike paths. ”
Hamilton gets one of the country’s first urban, shipping-container homes
It’s believed to be the second urban shipping container home in Canada; the first was recently built in Toronto’s College and Lansdowne Sts. neighbourhood. The Hamilton house is more than twice as large…“We’ve seen a constant interest in container houses and are working on buildings all over Ontario, and have been since 2010,” says Halter. “We’re happy to see the evolving landscape in that regard.”
A New Dream Rises in Portland: A Housing Development Where Everyone Rides the Bus for Free
“Portland used to have a section of town where people could ride buses and trains for free. Fareless Square operated from 1975 until 2012, when TriMet required paid fares throughout downtown again. Advocates for low-income riders have been looking for a replacement ever since.”
This Autonomous Testing Ground Is Laying the Groundwork for the Future of Transportation
“Since Mcity’s launch, the conversation around self-driving vehicles has changed in North America: Most accept that the revolution is coming, but a chorus of voices continues to call for increased testing and safety measures. Despite that fact that a few hundred autonomous vehicles have driven millions of miles with comparatively fewer accidents (3.2 accidents per million miles, vs. 4.2 per million miles for regular cars) policy makers and the general public have yet to be fully convinced.”
As scooters, bikes, and transit startups flood the streets, cities need to control the curb
“With more options that ever for getting around cities, and finite space, the question of how we use this infrastructure, and who controls it, is more important than ever. By regulating how these new transportation options evolve, cities can potentially bring about a more sustainable, multimodal, and less car-centric transit future. “The curb is an increasingly contested piece of urban real estate,” according to “The Shared-Use City: Managing the Curb,” a new report by the International Transport Forum. It’s where companies, citizens, and the government are jockeying for space for transportation, commerce, and delivery. Cities built and maintain the curb, and need to reassert ownership.”
How Helsinki Arrived at the Future of Urban Travel First
“The cost of cars accounts for as much as 85 percent of personal transportation spending, according to Hietanen, even though the average car is used only 4 percent of the time. That implies a great potential for more efficient allocation: fewer cars shared by a larger group of part-time users…The Finnish city, home to the world’s first three-dimensional zoning plan that extends underground, has a habit of thinking outside the box. It’s where the idea of mobility-as-a-service was born, a place where life without a privately owned car is conceivable with help from a well-functioning public transport network spanning the wider metropolitan area.”
Designing for the Driverless Age
“Looking further into the future, there is the possibility of integrating autonomous vehicle fleets on the ground with flying vehicles of the sort that Uber is trying to develop, which initially would be operated by human pilots. As part of a design competition staged by Uber Elevate, Dallas-based design firm Corgan envisioned modular sky ports that could be placed in various locations around a city. The basic structure, which could be built atop an existing parking garage or building rooftop, would be able to handle as many as 90 vertical landings and the same number of takeoffs per hour. From street level, passengers would arrive via autonomous vehicles, bicycles, or other means of ground transportation, and go up to a station level where the flights would take off.”
Finding the Untapped Potential of Alleys
Both Toole and Hoffman hope their high-end projects inspire other American cities to reconsider even their humbler back alleys. “Alleys tell a story. Even if there’s an edge of danger, there’s something romantic about them,” Toole says. “They’re a uniquely American space, and part of our culture here, even though they’re related to other types of city spaces around the world. I imagine arriving in Seattle or Chicago or Denver and finding a different brand of alley. In Melbourne you’re much better served to go from Point A to Point B through as many laneways as you can, and to think of that happening in American cities is exciting.”
Parking Planning Paradigm Shift
“The new paradigm favors reduced parking supply more sharing of parking facilities, more efficient regulations and pricing, and incentives to use non-auto modes. It includes strategies such as improved user information, more convenient payment systems, and improved travel options. This does not assume that vehicle parking should be eliminated and everybody forego driving, but it does recognize that parking is costly and abundant parking encourages driving and sprawl, so virtually everybody benefits from more efficient parking management.”
Give the Curb Your Enthusiasm
“An astounding portion of traffic congestion comes from just two sources: cars cruising for parking, and those that have given up and double-parked. It’s been projected that eliminating double-parking in Athens, Greece, for example, could reduce traffic delays by 33 percent. More than 30 percent of vehicle-miles traveled in the urban core consists of cars looking for parking, according to Shoup. He estimates that New York’s free, on-street parking spaces together amount to 13 Central Parks. Nearly all of them are free. By charging just $5.50 a day for half those spaces, Shoup projected in a proposal published in the New York Times last month, the city could generate $3 billion a year. Higher rates would free up spaces, reducing the time drivers spend spot-hunting, reducing traffic, and shortening journeys.”
The Future, Now – Autonomous vehicles will force the adaptation of commercial real estate.
“Despite this measure of uncertainty, investors clearly realize the importance of developing flexible, innovative projects to accommodate the growth of autonomous vehicle technology. However, driverless cars are just the beginning. Advancements in the collection and analysis of data and the evolution of artificial intelligence represent the next chapter of technological progress. Some experts believe AI will impact commercial real estate long before consumers are even able to buy driverless cars.”
RIHA Study Examines Link Between Parking, Real Estate
“Today’s empty parking spaces can be seen as a land bank in some of the most convenient city locations, or, taken another way, a future is arriving where builders will be able to provide more of everything else and fewer parking spaces,” Scharnhorst said.
Denver best in the country for transit-accessible office space, says new report
“Denver’s high percentage of transit-accessible office buildings is important, Transwestern said, because “as workplace amenities have become increasingly important to companies in attracting and retaining talent, tenants are most certainly keeping accessibility to mass transit on their radar when surveying office product. Not surprisingly, vacancy for transit-accessible buildings is lower than overall vacancy, which makes these buildings extremely attractive to commercial real estate investors,” said Brian Landes, director of GIS/Location Intelligence for Transwestern, in a statement.”
Denver City Council Member Mary Beth Susman reports on Denver’s Dockless Mobility Permit Program – You may have noticed the recent appearance of dockless scooters on downtown streets. Without notice, two companies came into Denver with a fleet of dockless scooters. They were a big hit but unfortunately, the city was not prepared for them. Denver ordered the scooters off city streets while Denver Public Works (DPW) created a new Dockless Mobility Vehicle Pilot Permit Program.
DPW is utilizing its existing Transit Amenity Program (TAP) to permit the placement of dockless scooters at transit stops to encourage the use of public transportation. At the time of this writing five companies have received permits to deploy scooters and three have received permits to deploy dockless bicycles.
Vehicles are to be readily available at transit and bus stops in the public right of way. Denver Public Works expects the companies to “rebalance” vehicles to transit stops to ensure availability. This piece of the requirement concerns me. If we want to utilize this technology to increase transit ridership, how are our transit riders supposed to get to the stations from their homes if the scooters can only be deployed at a station? Additionally, if one wants to use a scooter instead of a bus, they have the same issue, with the scooter not usefully accessible.
Another issue is that according to City Ordinance and State Law, e-scooters are classified as “toy vehicles” and thus will be required to operate on the sidewalk. Per the law scooters will not be allowed on city streets, bike lanes, in parks or on trails, or on the 16th Street Mall. I also have concerns here. I worry about scooters not being able to use bike lanes. These scooters can reach speeds of 15 mph which seems too fast for a sidewalk where a typical pedestrian only goes 2-3 miles per hour. It would be better to allow them in bike lanes, and only when there are no lanes, to use the sidewalk. The issue highlights the need in our city for more and wider lanes for all manner of non-auto vehicles. We could call them ABC lanes, Anything But Cars lanes, and reserve them for non-car traffic of all sorts; perhaps with new kinds of laneage and traffic control signs.
While I applaud the speed with which Public Works was able to develop a pilot program I believe the city should be much more proactive in preparing for disruptive and new technology such as scooters, autonomous vehicles, drones, etc. Having asked for a Mobility Department separate from Public Works, that concentrates on how people move on top of and through our infrastructure, this is another good example of how that department could be concentrating on future technologies and prepare Denver for them.
Denver City Council Member Kendra Black reports in July, Denver International Airport kicked off the construction of a 3.5 year renovation project of the Great Hall. The project will make substantial improvements to Levels 5 and 6, enhance security, provide a more flexible and open airline check-in space, and add new dining and shopping options.
RTD’s first light rail line, opened on October 7, 1994. At the time, the D Line provided service from the 30th & Downing Station through Five Points Business District and downtown to the I-25 & Broadway Station. The 5.3-mile line was funded with a use tax, RTD’s capital reserve, and bonds issued by the District. In its last full year as a stand-alone route, the line carried an average of 16,000 weekday passengers. Today, the operation of D Line has been separated into two lines, the D Line and the L Line to provide better service for our customers
Denver City Council Member Wayne New reports that the City’s sidewalk repair program will address damaged, sloping, and uneven sidewalks in support of the goal to have a better network of safe, accessible infrastructure citywide. Denver Public Works has identified 11 sidewalk regions by grouping neighborhoods into roughly comparable areas, and will begin by addressing one region per year. Region 1 has been selected to initiate the program and has been identified for the neighborhoods of: North Capitol Hill, City Park, Capitol Hill, Cheesman Park, Speer, Alamo Placita, Country Club, and Cherry Creek.
The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority announced the launch of the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF), a new source of gap financing to help fill out project funding needs. CMF helps deepen affordability by providing up to $750,000 in secondary debt to a project. It complements CHFA’s senior debt by streamlining the approval, underwriting, and compliance processes through CHFA while allowing for sufficient project cash flow. We estimate that these resources will help provide housing for approximately 725 Colorado households. Any project that has received 9% or 4% Low Income Federal Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) can use this for acquisition, new construction, and rehabilitation. Benefits include:
- Below-market, flexible financing
- Up to 20% of loan amount can be in the form of a grant when combined with CHFA first mortgage
- 17-year loan term with a 35-year amortization
Denver City Council Member Wayne New reports the Green Roof Initiative, which was passed by voters last November, has a task force that is proposing Initiative implementation of regulations and procedures. The task force is led by Councilman Jolon Clark, Councilwoman Mary Beth Susman, and Public Health and Environment and has representation from Initiative sponsors, construction companies, roofing firms, residents, and other interested parties.
1. Benefit – Green roofs clean our air, reduce a buildings energy consumption, and are the best practice to manage storm water and biodiversity. Heat islands are common in commercial areas with a large degree of impervious or other surfaces that attract heat and increase energy consumption.
2. Buildings Affected – Only buildings that exceed 25,000 square feet and residential buildings over 5 stories and greater than 25,000 square feet must comply.
3. Roof Coverage – Only a percentage of roof coverage is required. Developers are also permitted to do a combination of green space and solar energy in this percentage.
Gross Floor Area (Size of Building) – Coverage of Available Roof Space (Size of Green Roof)
- 25,000 – 49,999 sf – 20% of area
- 50,000 – 99,999 sf – 30% of area
- 100,000 – 149,999 sf – 40% of area
- 150,000 – 199,999 sf – 0% of area
- 200,000 sf or greater – 0% of area
4. Implementation Alternatives – In addition to roof landscaping, there are other alternatives to meet Initiative goals. Solar panels, cool white roofing tiles, and a combination of the three applications. Historic buildings that have unique architectural features may be exempted. Since the analysis, technical requirements and costs are complex and are still being defined by the task force.
Denver City Council Member Paul Kashman reports the University of Denver (DU) recently launched its Campus Master Plan process—a planning effort that will create a blueprint to guide the evolution of the physical and built environment on and around the campus. This is a unique planning effort in that it will not only examine the campus, but also its edges. The goal is to promote greater interactions with neighboring communities, commercial areas and parks, as well as to improve transportation, pedestrian, and bicycling systems for the entire area. Kick-off open forums were hosted at DU attended by community members, students, faculty and staff. Throughout the planning process, DU will continue to work with the community to gather your ideas and vision for the future of the area. DU released a survey to gather feedback on priorities for the kinds of spaces and places the community would like on and around campus, as well as ideas to support mobility and sustainability.