Metro in Minneapolis-St. Paul looks for new ways to attract riders (top left); a complex to house and support the homeless in Jersey City (top center); TOD planned in conjunction with a transit expansion in the Philippines (top right); development planned near the Hudson Bergen Light Rail in Jersey City (bottom right)
Article of the Week
NEWARK—Equitable Housing Initiatives Contribute to Newark’s Growth
Vince Baglivo, New Jersey Business, September 13, 2021
In Newark, where 59 percent of families are rent-burdened, development initiatives by the City have made considerable progress towards building equity. The $20 million Affordable Newark program targets families making $32,000 or less and focuses its efforts upon developers who are women and/or people of color and smaller developments, those with fewer than 30 units. The City’s economic development agency, Invest Newark, helped three families in July through its Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program. Additionally, the $100 million New Jersey Forty Acres and a Mule Fund is investing in Black and Latino businesses in Newark. Finally, a wave of private development includes a former office building converted to residential use, a large residential expansion of NJPAC’s campus that added 66 affordable units, and a brewery redevelopment in the Ironbound that is committed to hiring and retaining local labor.
MINNESOTA—Without Commuters, Metro Transit Gets Creative About Getting Riders on Board
September 17, 2021
Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Metro Transit has seen a 31 percent reduction in ridership from 2020, due to a change in travel habits brought on by the pandemic. Now, the agency is looking for innovative ways to build back ridership. For example, for the next two months, Metro has reduced fares to $1, which the agency hopes will reintroduce riders to the service. Another program, shared in this newsletter last week, involved a program offering discounted transit passes to apartment residents. A lack of school bus drivers has also led St. Paul Public Schools to shift some students onto Metro buses. Students will enjoy the benefit of transit passes that allow mobility outside of school hours.
MASSACHUSETTS—Report: MBTA on Course Toward ‘Fiscal Calamity’
Matt Murphy, WBUR, September 16, 2021
A new report from the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation found that, by 2023, the agency would begin seeing an operations gap of $200 to $400 million in its fiscal budget, growing to $500 million by 2025. Though COVID-19 emergency funds have helped the MBTA’s finances thus far, the transit authority will be forced to find new sources of revenue or cut costs, which could include layoffs and service reductions.
JERSEY CITY—Another Development near Liberty State Park Heads to Jersey City’s Planning Board
Chris Fry, Jersey Digs, September 14, 2021
Developer Whiton Property LLC applied to construct a 6-story, 35-unit building on a site in the Bergen-Lafayette neighborhood currently occupied by a garage and vacant lot. The developer said that five of the units would be allocated as affordable housing. The complex site is located several blocks from the Liberty State Park Station on the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
NEWARK—City Planning Board Approves 165-Unit Project in Central Ward
Tom Wiedmann, Tap Into Newark, September 14, 2021
The Newark City Planning Board approved a proposal from Gomes Group LLC to redevelop two blighted properties into a 165-unit structure. The building would be close to Newark Broad Street Station, with connections to NJ TRANSIT commuter rail and light rail service. Such a project is in keeping with the City’s Broad Street Station Redevelopment Plan, which looks to create a “living downtown” around the transit hub.
JERSEY CITY—Mayor Fulop Joins the Archdiocese of Newark to Break Ground on New St. Lucy’s Homeless Housing & Support Services Site
City of Jersey City, September 10, 2021
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark, working in partnership with the City of Jersey City and a private developer, announced the St. Lucy’s campus, a mixed-housing site targeted toward supporting the homeless community. In addition to 165 beds for the homeless, the project will include 14 units of transitional housing for individuals with HIV, and 15 permanently affordable studio apartments. The development will be located at 15th & Grove St., within walking distance of a planned infill station on the NJ TRANSIT Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
COLLINGSWOOD—Collingswood Developer Ingerman Proposes 184-Unit Apartment Complex for Haddon Avenue
Matt Skoufalos, NJ PEN, August 19, 2021
Developer Ingerman presented a plan to construct a mixed-use apartment building on a block adjacent to a similar project, The Collings at the Lumberyard. The new project would comprise 184 units, with 15 percent reserved as affordable. The development would be located within walking distance of the Collingswood PATCO station, with service to Center City Philadelphia.
ILLINOIS—Pilsen Nonprofit Breaks Ground On Long-Awaited Affordable Housing Project: ‘We Believe In Development Without Displacement’
Mauricio Peña, Block Club Chicago, September 16, 2021
Work began in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago on Casa Durango, a 37-unit affordable housing project set at 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI). The developer, the Resurrection Project, is also constructing a 16-unit building nearby. With the passage of an anti-deconversion measure, the City has worked to reverse the loss of 14,000 Latino residents from the Pilsen neighborhood over the last decade. The measure prohibits turning multifamily buildings into single-family homes, and imposes a $15,000 fee on developers who tear down single-family homes for multi-unit construction.
COLORADO—Summit County Officials Receive Recommendations from Transit Equity and Access Study
Sawyer D’Argonne, Summit Daily, September 14, 2021
In Summit County, a principality in western Colorado, the Summit Stage transit operator recently concluded a study looking at ways to increase equity in the service. The most robust recommendations call for expanding the number of bus stops, bus drivers, and first and last-mile connectivity (such as pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure) to the stops. The study also called for expanding paratransit service to accept same-day reservations and transport residents beyond a three-quarter mile radius of an existing transit stop.
MICHIGAN—Two-Tower Development on Former Ann Arbor YMCA Property Awaits City’s OK
Ryan Stanton, M Live, September 17, 2021
The Ann Arbor Housing Commission hopes to transform a disused parking lot into two residential towers, one 14 stories and the other 20 stories tall. About 40 percent of the 370 housing units would be earmarked for residents making 60 percent Area Median Income (AMI). The project would be close to the Blake Transit Center, where a new bus lane is planned.
MASSACHUSETTS—The Business of Building Everett’s Future With Smart Growth
Stephen Quigley, Everett Independent, September 15, 2021
Everett, a traditionally working-class, industrial community close to Boston has seen considerable development interest. Progress is being made on both a 77-unit affordable development and an 85-unit market rate project on the Broadway corridor, where the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) opened a designated bus-only lane in 2020. In another response to Everett’s growth, the MBTA is currently studying extension of its Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) service to the city.
NEW: Sen. @ossoff today introduced historic transit expansion legislation with @SenatorWarnock & @SenCortezMasto that would — for the first time — fund construction of public transit specifically connecting affordable housing with public transit networks.https://t.co/zl9rNHmRqY
— Ossoff’s Office (@SenOssoff) September 10, 2021
GEORGIA—Ossoff, Warnock Want Public Transit to Connect to Low-Income Communities, Affordable Housing
Jessica Szilagyi, The Georgia Virtue, September 13, 2021
The Public Transportation Expansion Act, introduced in the United States Senate by Georgia Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, would tie federal funding for transit with affordable housing. Additionally, the bill would enable transit agencies to use federal funding for operating costs.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA—New Mixed-Use Projects In Office-Heavy Tysons Could Help Soften Impact Of Remote Work
Jon Banister, Bisnow Washington, D.C., September 13, 2021
Hoping to attract a younger generation to the traditionally car-centric Tysons Corner suburban office center, local business leaders cited mixed-use development as a solution. In 2014, four Silver Line stations opened in Tysons, spurring significant growth of transit-adjacent housing and retail in the area over the past decade. Business leaders attributed the shift from office space to a mixture of retail and residential as a diversification strategy that built resilience in the Tysons area. Note: Free registration is required to access article.
CALIFORNIA—Why Some Say San Jose’s Urban Village Strategy for Growth is ‘Driving Development Away’
Maggie Angst, SiliconValley.com, September 13, 2021
A 2020 study by professors at Santa Clara University found that San Jose’s urban village policy had done little to advance development in designated areas. Though 60 locations were identified a decade ago, plans for development have only been approved in 13 areas. The study attributed the slow pace of development to an onerous community engagement process, high development costs, and limited staffing capacity by the City.
CALIFORNIA—Transit Villages Specific Plan Moves into Next Phase
Dina Colunga, Redlands Community News, September 9, 2021
The Transit Villages Specific Plan looks to create a framework for mixed-use growth in the City of Redlands, addressing development in a 947-acre area with three villages. The New York/Esri Village plan would promote low-rise infill development and active transportation improvements, while the Downtown Transit Village plan calls for taller redevelopment and a restored, more permeable street pattern. Regarding the third village, the University of Redlands has announced plans for a 30-acre transit-integrated neighborhood serving both students and the community. The City is currently preparing an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the plan. The planning effort comes as Redlands “Arrow” passenger rail project is under construction.
PHILIPPINES—DMCI Homes Launching Another QC Project
James A. Loyola, Manila Bulletin, September 17, 2021
Developer DMCI Homes announced plans to construct a residential tower in Quezon City, which lies directly to the northeast of Manila. DMCI Homes cited the proximity to Tandang Sora Station, currently under construction as part of the Metro Rail Transit System Line 7 project, as a motivating factor.
INDIA—Two Multistoried Towers to Come Up in Dhantoli
Rajat Khanna, Metro Rail News, September 17, 2021
The Maha Metro opened for solicitations a TOD project adjacent to a transit station and stadium. The agency is calling for two buildings, each of which could be nearly 300 feet tall and oriented toward commercial development. The winning bidder will be required to pay Maha Metro both upfront and yearly fees over the duration of the 60-year lease.