How Housing Wealth Transferred From Families to Corporations
A large and growing component of the shift, or reset, from homeownership to rental housing is made up of single-family homes that were once owned but are now rented. The NBER study estimates that the 4 percent decline in America’s homeownership rate, from 67 percent before the crash in 2007 to 63 percent in 2014, means that roughly 1.5 million American households have shifted from owners to renters.
The changing face of rentals: single-family
Second quarter data for 2019 reveal that approximately 42,000 homes were constructed as single-family built-for-rent homes over the last year—equal to the prior four quarter starts total—representing about 5 percent of single-family construction. Although the share of built-for-rent single-family homes remains a small percentage of the overall market, the number of units built continues to trend modestly higher as affordability headwinds generate demand for rental housing.
LIHTC Properties After Year 15
Since its inception in 1986, the LIHTC program has helped create more than 3.1 million units of affordable housing, including nearly 2.6 million units affordable to low-income households. But what happens to these properties when their compliance periods end at year 15? It turns out that most property owners—especially non-profits—continue to operate their properties as affordable housing beyond the term of IRS regulatory requirements. This is mostly due to the extended-use agreements that run with the land, but also fits with ownership’s approach to affordable housing preservation. There is also now a wide variety of sophisticated financial tools to secure the capital needed to preserve affordability.
Transportation Solutions reports that RTD has begun a two-year effort to explore how it’s services can be optimized and delivered in the most efficient way possible. With the recognition that our region is evolving, RTD knows that our mobility needs are shifting, and connecting more people to places by transit is more important than ever. RTD says, tTransportation is changing, and we have to evolve with it. People across the Denver metro area are redefining how they want to get around. Fueled by innovation, technology, and our collective vision, RTD is addressing these growing transportation demands head on so that we can create better options for a region on the go.
Transportation Solutions also asks have you heard about the Platte Valley FlexRide? This is RTD’s first FlexRide service operating on a scheduled route to better help southwest Denver residents connect to Auraria, Downtown, and the Light Rail. The shuttle currently operates every 45-minutes during peak periods and is available to everyone! RTD FlexRide is a shared ride bus service that travels within select RTD service areas. FlexRide can be used to connect to other RTD bus or train services at stations and Park-n-Rides, or get direct access to shopping malls, schools, businesses, recreational centers, libraries and more by booking a trip online.
Could Free Service Solve Denver’s Transit Problems?
In many ways, fare-free public transit would mean treating the 5 percent of Denverites who take the bus or train to work every day like the other 95 percent. With the occasional exception of toll roads, drivers don’t pay a fee each time they drive on a street or highway — instead, roads are public goods fully funded by tax revenue, and free for everyone to use. Ditto the sidewalks and bike lanes used by other commuters. Why should a public service like a bus be any different?
Are We Entering the Golden Era of the Bus?
You really can’t separate the awful status quo of transit and buses from systemic racism in America. It’s obvious when you look at the whole 20th century [in terms of] infrastructure and the built environment, with governments building highways through black and brown neighborhoods. You can’t separate any of that from the fact that in so many regions, public transit—and buses especially—are thought of as a social service. And that’s sort of the reality it creates. One of the statistics that is telling in the book is that when you look at bus ridership in a place like Germany, the people who ride the bus have the same median income as the average German. In the U.S., they’re much poorer. At the same time, it’s not a service that actually serves low-income people well at all. So is it really for them? It’s really a system for people who don’t have alternatives.
Defending the Electric Car
This is how an early electric car enthusiast Mr Dumont starts his letter, dated 1904, in which he describes his experience of touring in an electric car. The aim was to prove wrong all the skeptics who doubted that an electric could take you on a 300-mile journey, climb hills, and stay in one piece while venturing through the country-side…Just like us, Mr Dumont lived in exciting times for electric cars. Back in 1904, the internal-combustion engine wasn’t crowned, yet, and the electric car was on the ascent to its golden years. Eight years after Mr Dumont’s letter was published, there would be 30,000 electrics on the US roads, with two thirds accounting for private vehicles.
To See How Autonomous Vehicles May Take Over, Dean Kamen Says Look What Happened In Airplanes
In that regard, Kamen said, he’s “shocked that no one is looking at the model of flying airplanes. They started with pretty simple autopilots, which then got better and had to be made redundant.” Over time, planes and pilots became more and more dependent on autopilots, he pointed out, until nowadays, “when you get a license check, most of the questions are about whether you know how to use the autopilots,” said Kamen, a pilot himself. “Over 40 years, we’ve gradually started integrating systems and sensors and controls in aircraft so they work along with the pilot and gradually started taking over some controls,” Kamen said. In the same way now, for at least a decade, triply redundant autopilots are on every big airplane, but we haven’t said to let those planes fly without a crew.
Can Congestion Pricing Help Americans Break Up With Their Cars?
In New York City, the first US city to adopt the policy, it took over 10 years of lobbying and a lot of frustration about the lack of funding for the crumbling subway system to get congestion pricing across the finish line. The summer of 2017—not so affectionately dubbed “the summer of hell”—was a tipping point. Subway delays were so paralyzing that Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency. The New Yorker described people sobbing on trains, scared of losing their jobs because of the delays. Policymakers urgently needed more funding for mass transit—and congestion pricing generates a lot of revenue.
Denver City Council Member Paul Kashmann reports that Kentro Group, owners of the 13+-acre former CDOT property at Arkansas Ave. and Birch St., are moving forward with a request for a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package that would allow the company to retain $23-million in taxes that would be generated by their redevelopment over a set period (usually 20-25 years), to assist in financing a variety of on and off-site improvements related to their development. At the end of the TIF period, all taxes generated on site would go to the applicable taxing entities. Kentro is proposing some 800 housing units, including senior housing, market-rate housing, assisted living and affordable housing. Most are envisioned as rentals, while some for-sale product is being discussed as well. The current plan also includes a 130-room hotel and about 150,000 sq.ft. of retail/commercial uses, with a grocery store expected to be the centerpiece of the retail effort. Kentro is also planning a 1-acre-plus park on the northeast corner of the site that would be accessible to the public, in addition to the 10% of “open space” that is required by their development agreement. When a developer accepts TIF funding it adds an additional level of oversight increasing the likelihood that what has been promised to the community actually gets built. Denver Urban Renewal Authority (DURA), the agency that oversees the program, will not release the funding increments unless the project gets built as approved in the TIF plan. The developer cannot sell the property without the approval of DURA, who will ensure that any new ownership understands the landscape and is able to meet the requirements of the plan. Kentro’s request will need to be approved by Council. The matter is scheduled for public hearing before the city council set for Monday December 2nd at 5:30pm.
Denver City Council Member Kendra Black reports that Pete Marczyk signed a lease for a new Marczyk Fine Foods in the Happy Canyon Shopping Center. Marczyk’s will occupy the southwest corner of the now empty Safeway building. Other retailers will fill in the rest of the space. Although Marczyk’s is known for its urban full-service neighborhood markets, this opportunity to stretch south to the edge of Denver was one they could not pass up. Marczyk’s scouted this project for a while, but the development had some ups and downs. “Lots of our customers have been asking us to come south, but nothing made sense until this property became an option. When we wrote the 10-year vision for the company, more stores and an expanded bakery were part of it. We’re stoked to be able to check these boxes in 2019,” explains CEO Pete Marczyk. Marczyk’s is known for their meat department, deli, fresh local produce, hard-to-find panty items, and scratch-baked market breads and market made ice cream.
Council Member Black also reports that Denver International Airport aka DEN has selected Stantec as the preferred lead design firm for the Great Hall Project and Hensel Phelps as the preferred construction manager/general contractor for Phase I of the Great Hall Project. Both companies have a strong local presence, are familiar with the Denver community and state and have existing contracts with DEN enabling them to mobilize quickly. The selection is pending consideration by Denver City Council. As previously stated, DEN is committed to keeping the design and construction cost of the Great Hall Project at the original $770 million including contingency. Phase I will resume construction in Q1 2020, which primarily includes construction of the airline ticketing pods in the center of the Terminal on Level 6. DEN recently marked a major milestone on the Gate Expansion Project as the final beam of the building on Concourse B-West was put into place. This “topping out” signifies the completion of the frame of the building for the additional gates to the west side of Concourse B. The project includes adding 39 new gates, an increase in gate capacity of 30 percent. New gates will be added on all three concourses to allow DEN’s airlines to grow. When complete, all concourses will feature outdoor patios, which will feature a pet relief area, outdoor seating and fire pits. The Gate Expansion Project is on track to be completed on time in 2021 and within the set $1.5 billion budget
Denver City Council Member Amanda Sawyer reports that Art Gym member and muralist Katerina Vuletich transformed a plain, concrete bus stop partition into a vibrant mural that represents the past and future of East Colfax Avenue and its community. The mural draws inspiration from the unique signs that have lined Colfax over the years and the tree named streets in the surrounding community. This project was initiated by concerned neighbors who live adjacent to the stop. “From their idea – and with their help – we have transformed the RTD Transit Stop at the Southwest Corner of East Colfax Ave. & S. Monaco Pkwy. into a piece of art that our community can be proud of.
MOBILITY AND REAL ESTATE
3 reasons why Singapore is the smartest city in the world
Transportation determines much of the quality of life for residents in a smart city. In late October, the city’s Land Transit Authority (LTA) expanded a pilot area for autonomous vehicles (AVs) to cover the whole of western Singapore. The city’s leaders have realized that in order to build a resilient workforce and citizenry, mobility must be designed in a way that not only covers the last mile of a journey but also that allows everyone to participate in what the city has to offer.
Why Paris will be the ﬁrst post-car metropolis
But that’s largely because Paris was built pre-car, and never had the space for the 20th-century technology. Now, as private cars start fading out, pre-car cities will come into their own. Paris, capital of the 19th century, could be the capital of the 21st. The city is already unrolling the future: raising the price of parking, adding bike lanes and planning to ban diesel cars by 2020. Paris has all the qualities to become the world’s first post-car metropolis.
NYC’s congestion pricing program leads lawmakers to explore parking permits
Brewer’s report analyzed similar plans in seven other cities—London, Stockholm, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C.—and found the permit programs had mixed results. For instance, in London and Stockholm, neighbors’ fears that there would be a “parking crunch” near the congestion area were unfounded, as those areas experienced reductions in vehicular traffic instead.
Central Madrid: the naysayers were wrong about the impact of traffic restrictions in the Spanish capital
The traffic restrictions have seen a 9.5% increase in trade in the area, reflected by the most accurate indicator: BBVA payment terminals. A significant, unbiased and verifiable sample of transactions in the area that silences the naysayers who, in contradiction of all previous experiences in other cities, predicted a major economic downturn. The evidence once again shows that restricting traffic in a certain urban area significantly improves local commerce.
We ranked every RTD Denver rail station and Southmoor was only second-worst
A big reason is that we built most of our rail lines where it was easy, along I-25 and I-70 (as opposed to where people and things … are). So not only was most of the system built for driving — you can tell because of the exits right off of the highway and giant, free parking lots — but the highways slash through the land and sap walkability.
This is all to say that Denver is playing catch-up when it comes to TOD. Urban planners hope to build population centers around rail because RTD did not build rail around population centers. As you’ll see from this list — and a quick look out the window on the A Line — Denver can only do so much to lure development. While the city can provide plans, incentives, and infrastructure, the private sector has to deliver to make these stations walkable.
Everybody Wants EV Charging Stations. Almost Nobody Wants to Build Them. (VIDEO)
Numerous studies have shown that consumers steer clear of EVs because they worry about the lack of charging stations. Studies also show that consumers are more likely to buy an electric car when they see stations around town. While fears about range anxiety are largely unfounded — even the cheapest EVs sport enough range to serve nearly all of a driver’s needs — the paucity of charging stations is a real concern on longer trips, and it is deterring consumers from going all-electric.
Affordable housing is disappearing. So cities are designating parking lots to sleep in.
On any given night in Santa Barbara or its neighboring city of Goleta, around 150 people who are living in their cars post up in otherwise undistinguished parking lots for the night. The biggest of the 24 lots has 15 spots for people, while most have only around six. They aren’t allowed to place any belongings or tents outside their cars. “It’s a safe place to be at night,” said Roach, whose homelessness organization has a contract from the city of Santa Barbara to run the Safe Parking program. The lots’ locations are not publicized, Roach said, so “we don’t invite neighbor scrutiny or NIMBYism; we don’t want to attract people who have ill will towards people with homelessness.”
What is the Future of the Gas Station?
The gas station typology is already in decline. In 2016, there were an estimated 116,000 gas stations in operation across Europe. By the end of 2017, this had fallen to 77,000. In the UK alone, the number of gas stations has fallen by 80% since 1970, despite the usage of petrol and diesel rising by 75%. A July 2019 study by the BCG concluded that “up to 80% of the fuel-retail network as currently constituted may be unprofitable in about 15 years.”
In 2018, the global electric car fleet surpassed the 5 million mark, a staggering increase of 2 million from 2017. While the electric car as it exists today still relies on a public network of electric charging points, many located at gas stations, the current 200-300 mile range of cars such as Tesla are only set to rise. As Elon Musk demonstrated with his Solar City venture, a future scenario where electric cars drive by day, and charge at home by night, will all but eliminate the need for roadside gas stations.