Economic Development and Fiscal Impact Studies

Economic and Housing Opportunities Study (ECHO) for the Grand Boulevard Initiative

Client: San Mateo County Transit District
Location: El Camino Boulevard, CA

The Grand Boulevard Initiative is a multi-jurisdictional collaboration involving 19 cities and San Mateo and Northern Santa Clara counties, with the goal of transforming the El Camino Real, a 43-mile auto-oriented commercial corridor, into a multimodal, mixed-use street (the Grand Boulevard). Strategic Economics partnered with Freeman Tung Sasaki to assess the corridor’s development potential, and to demonstrate to local governments and stakeholders how fundamental changes in land uses on the corridor could result in positive benefits – including  more jobs and housing,   an enhanced tax base, and and increased potential to accommodate new growth in a sustainable manner.  Strategic Economics’ analysis included extensive mapping of the region’s job centers; profiling the economic and regulatory issues affecting infill development along the corridor; and calculating the fiscal and economic benefits of intensification. Strategic Economics also assisted the Grand Boulevard Initiative with grant applications, which ultimately led to the initiative receiving a $1.7 million TIGER II grant award from the Federal Transit Administration. That funding enabled Phase II of the project, an innovative implementation and financing strategy for the corridor.  In July 2011, Strategic Economics began work on ECHO Phase II by exploring implementation strategies that cities along the corridor can employ to revitalize their segments, including tailored land use controls, disposition of publicly owned properties, and provision of incentives to facilitate market-rate development. Read the full ECHO I report here.

East Bay Economic Development Alliance Business Climate and Jobs Analysis

Client: East Bay Economic Development Alliance, Contra Costa County, and the East Bay Community Foundation
Location: Alameda and Contra Costa Counties, San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Strategic Economics was part of a consultant team hired by the East Bay Economic Development Alliance (EBEDA) to conduct an in-depth assessment of the East Bay’s economy to inform economic and work force development activities for the EBEDA and its partner organizations. Strategic Economics developed a comprehensive employment and land use analysis, conducted interviews with local business leaders, and produced maps that examined how industry and land use changes were occurring across regional sub-areas. The team’s work demonstrated how transportation infrastructure affects the location decisions – and future viability – of East Bay employment and how the region’s unique innovation assets affect its economies. Read the full report here.

West Hollywood General Plan Update

Client: City of West Hollywood
Location: West Hollywood, CA
Strategic Economics was part of a consultant team retained by the City of West Hollywood to update the city’s General Plan. The main focus of Strategic Economics’ work was to demonstrate which land uses contribute to the city’s fiscal health and should be better supported through General Plan policies, including an economic development strategy. Work for this project included GIS mapping, a retail leakage study and an assessment of the impact of retail “gentrification” on small and neighborhood-serving businesses.

Economic Base Analysis, Market Analysis, and Economic Development Element for the General Plan

Client: City of Redwood City, CA
Location: Redwood City, CARedwood City LEHD_residents_place_of_work
Strategic Economics prepared an economic base analysis for Redwood City, which included a profile of current and historic employment growth trends and market analyses for housing, commercial, and industrial land uses.  Based on the employment analysis and the market study findings, Strategic Economics identified the city’s economic opportunities and challenges. These results informed the land use strategies included in the Land Use section of the General Plan and provided the basis of the General Plan’s Economic Development Element. This dual approach to combine land use policies and economic development strategies was designed to maximize the city’s ability to maintain a diverse and resilient local economy. In 2012, the APA Northern Chapter awarded the Redwood City General Plan the Outstanding Comprehensive Plan, Small Jurisdiction Award.

Vision California Fiscal Analysis

Client: High Speed Rail Authority in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council
Location: California
The High Speed Rail Authority in partnership with the Strategic Growth Council funded the development of the Rapid Fire Model as part of the Vision California Initiative. Working closely with project lead Calthorpe Associates, Strategic Economics calculated the fiscal impacts of various land use scenarios throughout the state for inclusion in the Rapid Fire Model. The project provides public officials and decision-makers with concrete data about the fiscal benefits of compact versus low density development patterns in the California context that will inform more sustainable land use planning in accordance with state legislation SB375 and AB32.  A key finding showed that compact and location-efficient places can generate much higher tax revenues per acre than conventional low-density suburban development.

Downtown Menlo Park and El Camino Real Specific Plan

Client: City of Menlo Park
Location: Menlo Park, CA
As part of a consultant team led by Perkins + Will, Strategic Economics helped prepare a new specific plan for the “Priority Development Area” that encompasses Downtown Menlo Park and a portion of the El Camino Real corridor. To begin the assignment, Strategic Economics assessed market strength and demand for retail, residential, office, hotel, and conference uses within the study area. Based on that analysis, Strategic Economics conducted an in-depth examination of the development feasibility of various building types and land uses, based on potential configurations on prototypical sites in the study area. The resulting fine-grained understanding of supportable building types and land uses informed the plan’s development standards, and also indicated which public investments and regulatory aspects of the plan were most critical to improving feasibility for desired development types. Strategic Economics also conducted a fiscal impact analysis assessing the proposed plan’s influence on the city’s General Fund. In June 2012, the City Council unanimously approved the Menlo Park Specific Plan.

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