Sunday, May 19, 2024
TOD News Briefs

The Week in TOD News April 13-19, 2024

NJ to get share of congestion pricing funds (right); New Brunswick approves Bell Labs project; Nashville approves East Bank master developer agreement; Office to housing incentives; New rentals → free transit pilot (left top-to-bottom)

Article of the Week

DW labs Incorporated | Adobe Stock

NJ Will Get a Share of Congestion Pricing Money, MTA Chair Announces
Andrew Siff and Jennifer Millman, NBC New York, April 17 2024
On Wednesday, MTA Chairman and CEO Janno Lieber announced that New Jersey will receive a share of the funds generated by New York City’s congestion pricing plan, a significant development in the legal battle against the tolling initiative. This announcement comes amid New Jersey’s federal lawsuit seeking to block congestion pricing, where the lack of financial benefits for New Jersey was a pivotal issue. The allocation could result in millions of dollars for key counties and would follow the same formula to be used for other affected areas, such as the Bronx.


Rendering of the future Carteret Intermodal Transportation Building. Courtesy of the Borough of Carteret

CARTERET—Carteret Ferry Service to Manhattan Could Begin Next Spring
Suzanne Russel, My Central Jersey, April 17 2024
Carteret is set to launch a new ferry service to Manhattan, funded by a $5 million state grant for the Carteret Intermodal Transportation Building. As part of a larger $1.5 billion initiative to revitalize the borough’s waterfront, the project includes the construction of new commercial docks, a film studio, and additional retail and hotel spaces. Local officials aim to support local economic growth and access to the waterfront.

A “Metropolis of Tomorrow” vision of Newark from 1928. Courtesy of the Newark Public Library

NEWARK—The Newark that Could Have Been, Part I: A City Beautiful, Sky-High Ambitions, and Lost Focus
R. Ballantine, Jersey Digs, April 17 2024
This first of a two-part guest column explores Newark’s ambitious urban development aspirations and the challenges it faced, from grandiose visions of becoming a “Metropolis of Tomorrow” in the 1920s to the realities of economic crashes and self-sabotage. Despite plans for transformative projects like the Westinghouse Factory site’s redevelopment, the city’s history is marked by unfulfilled potential and missed opportunities due to factors like lack of funds and political will. Through examining the City Beautiful Movement and subsequent developments, the piece delves into Newark’s struggle to realize its architectural and urban dreams amidst changing
times and economic downturns.

Rendering of the future home of Nokia Bell Labs. Courtesy of Nokia

NEW BRUNSWICK—Future Home of Bell Labs Gets Approval for Construction
Jackie Roman,, April 17 2024
Last week, the New Brunswick Planning Board approved plans for phase two of the HELIX innovation center, set to become the future home of Bell Labs. Spearheaded by New Brunswick 2 Urban Renewal Associates, in collaboration with SJP Properties, the New Brunswick Development Corporation, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the City of New Brunswick, the project entails constructing an 11-story, 415,000 square foot research facility to house Nokia Bell Labs. This initiative is part of the larger $750 million HELIX research complex, strategically located near New Brunswick Station, aimed at revitalizing downtown and nurturing innovation.

Rendering of 307 Bergen Avenue. Courtesy of the Garden State Community Development Corporation

JERSEY CITY—Construction Begins at 307 Bergen Avenue in Greenville, Jersey City
Max Gillespie, New York YIMBY, April 12 2024
A new $6.3 million housing project recently broke ground in Jersey City’s Greenville neighborhood, near to the MLK Light Rail Station stop and several bus stops. Located at 307 Bergen Avenue, the development will comprise a 12-unit condominium complex and provide affordable one- and two-bedroom homes by early 2025. Funded primarily by a grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the project also offers stabilized HOA fees and tax assistance to encourage homeownership and wealth building. Led by the Garden State Community Development Corporation, the units will be available to families earning 70 percent
or less of the area median income.

Transit and Equity News

Rendering of the Blue Line Bridge, part of Project Connect. Courtesy of the Austin Transit Partnership

TEXAS—Council Wants More Housing Near Project Connect Stations
Austin Sanders, The Austin Chronicle, April 19 2024
This week, the Austin City Council announced a proposal to change its building rules to increase housing density around new Project Connect stations. The proposal would support the creation of transit-supportive streetscapes to promote walking, cycling, and transit. The City’s new Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD) overlay aims to encourage high-rise developments by offering density bonuses for incorporating affordable housing. City officials will further their efforts by implementing safeguards to prevent displacement from redevelopment of existing multifamily units.

Courtesy of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County, Tennessee

TENNESSEE—$147 Million East Bank Master Developer Agreement Approved, Includes Historic Commitments to Affordable Housing
Press Release, The Tennessee Tribune, April 16 2024
In Nashville, the Metro Council unanimously approved a Master Developer Agreement with The Fallon Company for 30 acres of Metro-owned land on the East Bank, in support of the Imagine East Bank Vision Plan, which emphasizes community engagement and sustainable development. This partnership places a significant focus on transit-oriented infrastructure, including dedicated transit lanes, wide sidewalks, and bike paths, and aims to create a multimodal neighborhood adjacent to downtown. With Fallon’s commitment to affordable housing and collaboration with entities like the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Nashville anticipates development that aligns with the community’s vision for equitable and accessible urban living.

Rendering of 1000 NE 45th Street project. Courtesy of Hewitt and LIHI

WASHINGTON—LIHI Selected to Develop 160-Unit Affordable Residential Community in Seattle’s U District
Press Release, The Registry, April 16 2024
Sound Transit and the Seattle Office of Housing have chosen the Low Income Housing Institute (LIHI) to develop affordable housing at 1000 NE 45th Street in Seattle’s University District, two blocks from the U District light rail station. LIHI plans to construct a 12-story building offering 160 apartments for a mix of incomes, along with street-level retail, a public restroom, and an Urban Rest Stop providing showers, laundry, and hygiene services for homeless individuals. This project, facilitated through innovative partnerships, aims to address the region’s housing crisis and foster a more inclusive community in the U District.

Jan | Adobe Stock

ILLINOIS—In Chicago, One Neighborhood Is Fighting Gentrification and Climate Change at the Same Time
Juanpablo Ramirez-Franco, Grist, April 5 2024
In Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, the fight against gentrification and climate change intertwines as advocates push for affordable housing near transit stations. While Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) initially favored luxury housing, recent efforts aim to make TOD more inclusive, combating displacement and promoting sustainable urban living. Through initiatives like La Placita and affordable housing developments like the Lucy Gonzalez Parsons building, the community is reclaiming its identity and striving for a future where
accessibility and sustainability go hand in hand.

Regional and National TOD News

Courtesy of Aya Tower | Wingate Companies

GEORGIA—Vacant Tower’s Conversion to Transit-Friendly Rentals Has Finished
Josh Green, Urbanize Atlanta, April 18 2024
After two years of construction, The Vecino Group and the East Point Housing Authority has unveiled the $24 million Aya Tower renovation in East Point, offering affordable housing options near the transit station. Formerly known as the Nelms House building, the 88-unit project includes one and two-bedroom rentals capped at 40 to 60 percent of the area’s average median income and will provide access to support services offered by Grady Health and Goodwill Industries as well as fitness and business centers. Travel from the East Point MARTA station to Five
Points Station in downtown Atlanta takes about 12 minutes.

Angelov | Adobe Stock

Too Many Cubicles, Too Few Homes Spur Incentives to Convert Offices to Housing
Tim Henderson, New Jersey Monitor, April 17 2024
In suburbs and urban centers across the nation, vacant office spaces are being repurposed into residential buildings amid the rise of remote work. States are facilitating this transition through tax breaks and zoning changes, as they seek to address housing shortages and support community revitalization. However, developers continue to face challenges such as high costs and regulatory hurdles, underscoring the need for streamlined processes and incentives to encourage more conversions.

Rendering courtesy of the Salt Lake City Redevelopment Agency

UTAH—SLC unveils its latest grand plan for remaking the Rio Grande District
Tony Semerad, The Salt Lake Tribune, April 17 2024
Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency (RDA) has unveiled a new vision for the Rio Grande District, intending to transform 11 acres near downtown into a high-density, green, and car-free neighborhood. This plan, adjacent to the Utah Transit Authority’s hub, includes open spaces and high-rise developments to extend the downtown area into the Granary District. Despite its potential, the plan has faced scrutiny from City Council members concerned about governance and the impact on local policies. For more information, also see RDA’s recent press release.

International TOD News

The Yarrow. Courtesy of PCI Developments

CANADA—Free Transit Pilot Project for New East Vancouver Rental Housing Building
Kenneth Chan, Urbanized, April 16 2024
Residents of a new rental project in Vancouver’s Hastings-Sunrise neighborhood will soon enjoy pre-loaded $150 Compass Cards for public transit, funded by PCI Developments and TransLink. This three-month pilot aims to encourage public transit usage and gather data on the impact of developer-funded transit subsidies. The Yarrow, located near the Kootenay Bus Loop, is part of a broader effort to promote transit-oriented development (TOD) in the area. This initiative follows a successful similar project at the King George Hub, which resulted in a 10 percent increase in transit use.

Turtlewong | Wikipedia

ETHIOPIA—A Crumbling Metro Reveals Failed Promise of China’s Billions in Africa
Fasika Tadesse, Bloomberg, April 12 2024
With frequent delays and only one-third of its trains in operation, the $475 million China-funded light-rail system in Addis Ababa has failed to meet its service goals. The system also struggles with maintenance issues and insufficient funding, which has caused riders to switch to using buses and minibuses despite higher costs. Difficulties in sourcing spare parts and managing expenditures further hampers the project’s sustainability. Ethiopia’s issues highlight broader challenges in China-funded transit projects across Africa, which often leaves countries with heavy debts.