Public/Private Financing and Infrastructure

Pittsburg Bay Point Master Plan – TOD Market Study and Implementation Strategy

Client: City of Pittsburg
Location: Pittsburg, CA
As part of a team led by PMC, Strategic Economics conducted a market andPittsburg Master Plan PMC Map feasibility analysis to inform a master plan for the 50-acre Pittsburg/Bay Point BART station area. Strategic Economics studied the development potential for residential, office, and retail uses in the area, and tested the financial feasibility of various residential and mixed-use building types to determine whether higher densities were viable given local market conditions. Building off these analyses, the team developed a phasing strategy for the plan that encouraged affordable housing in the short-term and higher density market-rate housing in the longer-term. Strategic Economics also developed a financing strategy for the infrastructure improvements detailed in the Master Plan. In August 2011, the final plan was successfully adopted by the Pittsburg City Council.

Downtown San Rafael Station Area Plan

Client:   City of San Rafael
Location: San Rafael, CA
In anticipation of new Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit (SMART) service to downtown San Rafael, the city used grant funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) to prepare a station area plan, with the assistance of a team led by Community Design + Architecture. The plan focused on ways to facilitate new mixed-use development while also accommodating new and expanded transit service at an existing transit center. Strategic Economics worked closely with a multi-jurisdictional working group that included representatives from the city and local transit agencies, to find funding sources for the improvements identified during the planning process, and to clarify how the multiple agencies involved would work together to implement projects included in the plan.

Pasadena Streetcar Feasibility Study

Client: City of Pasadena
Location: Pasadena, CA
The City of Pasadena and multiple downtown stakeholder organizations commissioned a consultant team led by Strategic Economics to evaluate the feasibility of constructing and operating a streetcar linking the city’s disconnected downtown sub-districts. At the time, downtown interests were becoming increasingly concerned about competition from newer shopping centers opening in close proximity to Pasadena. Strategic Economics, assisted by Shiels Obletz, Johnsen, ItPasadenaeris, Moule & Polyzoides, and Reconnecting America, selected a conceptual route alignment for the proposed streetcar; evaluated existing conditions and future economic benefits that could accrue from the streetcar; and, proposed multiple funding and financing options. The team’s research included a national survey of the various tools and techniques used to pay for streetcars.  Our focus on funding sources from existing development was a unique approach to streetcar funding; it required a more in-depth analysis to understand likely revenue projections than is typical for streetcar feasibility studies where the primary funding source will come from new development and value capture mechanisms. In October 2011, the Pasadena City Council approved the construction of a $100 million streetcar system in the city’s Central District.

Fullerton Smart Growth 2030

Client: Southern California Association of Governments & City of Fullerton
Location: Fullerton, CA
The Fullerton Smart Growth 2030 project was funded by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) to achieve two objectives: 1) create a funding and financing strategy for public improvements identified in the Fullerton Transportation Center Specific Plan Area; and 2) use the information gathered and lessons learned in preparing the Fullerton strategy to create a smart growth implementation website that assists other southern California communities in implementing their own plans. In addition to indentifying specific tools for funding and financing smart growth, Strategic Economics prepared numerous case studies that illustrated both how to use these tools, and how to layer or combine them to achieve a greater impact.  Design, Community, and Environment/The Planning Center led this effort by facilitating meetings with city and SCAG staff and preparing the website.

Bay Area TOD Acquisition Fund Feasibility Study

Client: Great Communities Collaborative
Location: San Francisco Bay Area, CA
The Great Communities Collaborative retained Strategic Economics and the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD) to make the case for why a property acquisition fund should be established in the Bay Area, and to provide recommendations for fund organization.  Strategic Economics prepared a report that detailed the need for a property acquisition fund in the San Francisco Bay Area, described the different types of mission-driven property acquisition financial tools that exist around the country, and provided recommendations for the creation, organization, and advancement of such a fund in the Bay Area.  Based in part on this study, the Bay Area Metropolitan Transportation Commission committed ten million dollars in grant funds to the creation of acquisition loan fund.  A consortium of community development financial institutions used this investment as the “top loss” capital to leverage an additional $40 million dollars in foundation, CDFI, and commercial debt. In the spring of 2011, the Bay Area Transit Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH) began making loans. In December 2012, the TOAH was an honorable mention recipient of the EPA’s 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Programs and Policies. Read the report here.

Capturing the Value of Transit

Client: United States Federal Transportation Administration
Location: National

Working with the Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), Strategic Economics prepared this research paper exploring value capture as a source of funding for new transit service. The report summarizes the literature related to the impact of fixed-guideway transit on nearby property values; explores the role of property owners and developers in value capture strategies; and, offers examples of successful value capture efforts.  Key conclusions regarding the opportunities and limitations of value capture strategies for funding transit are also presented. The report is a useful resource for policy makers, transit planners and elected officials who are increasingly interested in finding ways to capture value to fund local infrastructure costs in the face of constrained budgets, rising costs, and widespread demand for new and expanded transit systems. You can read the paper here.

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