Retrofitting Suburbia


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  • Now, you can say we’re over-retailed -and I probably would – or you can say the retail’s simply in the wrong place. 59 US malls have been “demalled” – list only includes 8 or so “retrofits”
  • Why else SHOULD we focus on retrofitting suburbs? Yes- we should – and we have been focused on our downtowns. But, there are several reasons for ALSO focusing on the suburbs. First, from the perspective of climate change;. The average urban dweller has 1/3 the carbon footprint of a suburbanite – mostly because suburbanites drive so much more and lose more energy from the greater exterior surface area of their detached buildings. So, as this map shows on a per capita basis cities – like San Francisco and Oakland are already relatively “green” compared to suburbs.
  • Public health is another reason for retrofitting suburbia. Researchers at the CDC and elsewhere have linked suburban development patterns with sedentary lifestyles and consequent increases in diabetes, heart disease, and obesity (as shown in these rather frightening slides) 1 in 3 children born in the US today are expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime - a percentage that has increased at the same time that the percent of children walking to school has dramatically declined.
  • And then there’s the pocketbook question of just how affordable is suburbia in the face of rising gas prices? Suburban expansion to cheap land on the urbn periphery has helped generations of families live the American Dream – but increasingly the savings promised by “drive ‘til you qualify” affordability are wiped out by the high cost of transportation. For instance, in Atlanta, households making $20-50K (approximately half of the households) are paying 29% of income on housing and 32% on transportation – and that’s based on 2005 data, well before we saw $4.00/gallon.
  • Canadian Automobile Association estimated in 2008 that the annual net cost for a Canadian household to sustain 2 cars exceeds $20k. Canada’s amalgamated regional governments has often resulted in “harmonized” costs such that urban residents end up subsidizing the higher costs of garbage collection, fire stations, and the provision of utilities in suburbs.
  • New Orleans residents spend $803/month vs a regional average of $1190Baton Rouge residents spend $1073/month (vs $803 in New Orleans) and a regional avg of $1190
  • The brain trust assembled here will speak to the significant market shifts. I’ll simply mention the headlines.
  • Suburbia’s “newness” is often at odds with its traditional imagery 
  • McAllen has 2nd largest suburban poverty rate in the nation (34%) only just behind El Paso. The country’s largest single-purpose library: size of 2.5 football fieldsInternational Interior Design Association’s award for 2012 best library$24milOld Main Library had walkscore of 84. This location is only 49. Will it’s presence lead to further improvements in walkability?
  • Leed certified. (illustrative of the commoditization of medical care.) Healthcare in 2nd and 3rd flor of mall, plus an office bldg. Approx 40 mall retrofits so far: this exemplifies the trend of reinhab with “meds and eds”. Tony Ruggeri bought troubled mall for $49 mil in 2006, spent $99mil in redevel, expects to sell it fully leased in 2012 for $100 mil. Other malls have become office bldgs, datacenters, and…
  • Adapting a conventional L-shaped grocery-anchored strip mall into a “third place”. OK City has some dead malls being reinhabited. Crossroads Mall bought last week to be reinhabited as a hispaniccommunity center.
  • -reinhabitation at the multi-parcel scale-adding jobs, education, a library – and residences to the rear – while greening the parking lots with a town commons and swales
  • Subdiv approved in 2003 for 249 modest homes on 50 acres. By ‘07, 72 SFH and 8 TH built, 50 occupied. Bankrupt in 08, 8 banks, inc FDIC left w $5mil debt. Summer 08, 1 bank auctioned 22 unoccupied homes for $57k ea (50% value.) All but 2 bought by investors as rentals. 09 City approved redevel plan annexing prop and estab CRA to imp redeve plan, and loaned CRA $1mil to purchars vacant lots and compl it as MU, MI, Earth Craft comm’y. Shortened deep lots, created parks, added MU at T-entry to nhd. 3 partners: CHA to occupy and dev srhsgw social svcs and business incubator. PACES fdn = partner for hsg for disabled. Affordable Equity Partners for 32 lease-purchase 2011, CRA bought 42 SFH lots, 17 TH lots, 3 MF pads from 5 banks and facilitated AEP’s purchase of 19 lots. CRA wrote, city approved overlay ord to op as HOA and req rental prop owners maintenance. W/ this in place, CRA comfortable that rest of lots can simply be market-based.
  • While re-inhabitation tends to help with social sustainability, to get environmental benefits, one tends to need to redevelop and urbanize these properties into mixed-use, walkable, transit-served neighborhoods.
  • 2002: 15.6 acres: 1200 residents, resil rents command a 20% premium- mostly weekend homes, 20 restaurants,Now, it’s 10 years old and expanding with more office and apts: 42 acres.
  • Part of the 9000-acre First Colony development 19-miles out of Houston. Site was first envisioned as town center in 1996. First phase opened w Marriott in 2003.
  • Low income community, hit hard by recession, w most retail out on the strip. Solar Lancaster has constructed a 1.45 MW project that now powers 5 city facilities.
  • Series of fortunate events: airport closed, redev’d as mixed-use NU Mueller (green and lower right); Voters approved 1 cent tax for MetroRail, City rezoned a chemical plant (in blue) for TOD, upper right photo is the view from the train of the transit plaza at Crestview Station; Dying Highland Mall (red) has been purchased by Austin Community College – planning to reinhabit the mall and build a full campus on the mall’s pkg lots – as shown in the middle image. AND the city just approved pilot test of a FBC for this 3.5 mile stretch and the planning dept is now working on much smaller grain infill and strategies to preserve affordable housing.
  • But densification won’t work everywhere. Sometimes, regreening is the better answer.
  • Perhaps most important is the opportunity to restore the local ecology - as in this example outside Minneapolis. When the shopping center died, the city restored the site’s original wetlands, creating lakefront property that succeeded in attracting the first new private investment in forty years to the low-income neighborhood.
  • So while redevelopment of the dead urban mall worked in the strong market of Rockville, regreening has worked well in the slow market of Columbus, OH. Driver here is replacing drag on economic development, with a catalyst.Mall demolished in 2009. Park opened in 2010. First new housing to open in 2013.
  • Attendance goal of 500,000 in first year was met in first 6 months. 400+ free public and private events. Land acquired in 2004.$54mil in priv donations. Opened in 2008. Leed Gold in 2009. 2010: 1.7 mil visitors. 40,000 ice skaters. -1 new hig-rise resl tower, new office devel, and hotel udner construction.
  • Referendum next week, City plans to use parks bond $ to purchase 2 apt complexes w 785 residents (inc 560 school children), to build sports complex.
  • Next step for all of you, is to consider joining CNU in removing the obstacles to urbanism. (I know a LOT of architects are suspicious of the MOVEMENT of NU – and I understand the reasons! But, less people understand the WORK of the ORGANIZATION. Great track record of initiatives at the national level – just got F/F to lift the cap on comm’l in m-u res’lbldgs from 20 to 35%. Sprawl Retrofit’s dev’g toolkits for municipalities. You have a great local chapter here too. I look forward to coming back and learning how Denver’s advanced the NEXT generation of suburban retrofits.
  • Retrofitting Suburbia

    1. 1. All illustrations are for educational purposes. Copyright not received or given.
    2. 2. AIA Houston is a Registered Provider with The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems (AIA/CES). Credit(s) earned on completion of this program will be reported to AIA/CES for AIA members. Certificates of Completion for both AIA members and non-AIA members are available upon request. This program is registered with AIA/CES for continuing professional education. As such, it does not include content that may be deemed or construed to be an approval or endorsement by the AIA of any material of construction or any method or manner of handling, using, distributing, or dealing in any material or product. Questions related to specific materials, methods, and services will be addressed at the conclusion of this presentation.
    3. 3. Course Description In October 2010, the AIA/CES system was updated with the new CES Discovery system, in that time we have transferred more than one million records. This new update has made it necessary to remind us of the AIA/CES policies and procedures, to introduce the “new” provider ethics, and to reintroduce the AIA/CES audits/quality assurance program. This presentation covers those areas giving providers the opportunity to give feedback and input. SAMPLE SLIDE
    4. 4. Learning Objectives At the end of this program, participants will be able to: 1. Distinguish the three major urban design strategies in suburban redevelopment and their appropriateness to different locations and market conditions 2. Instruct communities and clients on the impact of changing suburban demographics on development patterns and markets 3. Differentiate the environmental health and public health advantages of walkable, mixed-use, and compact places versus automobile-dependent spaces 4. Cite a variety of precedents for retrofitting different suburban property types into more sustainable places
    5. 5. This concludes The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems Course Ellen Dunham-Jones Georgia Institute of Technology
    6. 6. 1100 malls: 150+ dead, 300 sick 60,000+ strip malls, 11% vacancy rate 350,000+ big box stores, 300 mil vacant sf Retail square footage/capita in shopping centers: U.S.A. 23sf (up from 15 in 1986) Canada 13sf Australia 11sf Sweden 3sf (largest in Europe) Discretionary shopping as % of GLA: 1971: 25.7% , up to 31.9% in 2010 Source: Co-Star, Michael Nimira, ICSC
    7. 7. On average, urban dwellers in the U.S. have 1/3 the carbon footprint of suburban dwellers. Interpolation from various studies imperative : climate change
    8. 8. The shift from the industrial to the post-industrail economy has shifted the public health focus from infectious disease to chronic disease. Suburban development patterns have been linked with sedentary lifestyles, dramatic increases in obesity and consequent higher risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Centers for Disease Control, Healthy Communities Initiative imperative : health: obesity
    9. 9. imperative : poverty Since 2005, more Americans in poverty have been living in suburbs than in cities – and their numbers are growing at a faster rate. The Brookings Institution. Between 2000 and 2008, large suburbs saw the fastest growing low- income populations across community types. The Brookings Institution. El Paso and McAllen metros lead the nation w/ 35-36% suburban poverty ScrapteTV. com Center for American Progress
    10. 10. imperative : affordability Average U.S. household spending on transportation is 19% of income. -9-12% in “walkable urbanism” -25% in “drivable suburbanism” -30% for those in the lower income 1/2 of U.S. households Center for Neighborhood Technology( 2005)
    11. 11. ABOGO and the Housing + Transportation Affordability Index Center for Neighborhood Technologies, A household at 500 McKinney St spends approx $663/month on transportation ($3.39/gallon) The Houston regional average is $1166/month
    12. 12. Housing + Transportation Affordability Index Center for Neighborhood Technologies, 13% of Houston Metro households live in areas with walkable blocks 80% of Houston households contribute more than 6.5 tonnes of GHG emissions/year, 55% are at o r a b o v e t h e 8 . 6 t o n n e s / y e a r ( t h e h i g h e s t n u m b e r c a l c u l a t e d )
    13. 13. market driver headlines : demographic shifts suburbia simply isn’t “family-focused” anymore. 2/3 of suburban hh’s don’t have kids, 85% of new hh’s won’t through 2025 . Millennials are looking for nightlife and value wifi and connectedness more than cars. the new centers as metros have expanded, first ring suburbs and commercial corridors now have central locations, often meriting densification and urbanization of their “underperforming asphalt”.
    14. 14. • 43 regionally-significant walkable urban places • 75% price premium for office rents 71% price premium for multi-family residential rents/sales • Retail lags –only 13% in walk-ups in 2009 cycle, despite $6.71/sf premium for each tier ranking • 77% have or are considering rail transit • Walk UPS = 11% of metro area, but 33% of metro real estate income strategy: DC Walk UPS 2012 Findings GWU: Chris Leinberger, Mariela Alfonso
    15. 15. • 22 Regionally-significant walkable urban places • 7 regionally-significant emerging walkable urban places • 16% price premium for office rents • 120% price premium for multi-family residential rents/sales • 116% price premium for retail rents strategy: ATL Walk UPS 2013 preliminary findings GWU: Chris Leinberger, Mason Austin ARC: Jared Lombard, Dan Reuter GT: Ellen Dunham-Jones
    16. 16. relocalization of people, place, and landscape diversification of incomes and activities tactical urbanism, crowdsourcing, and collaborative consumption cheap space for community- serving uses “third places” strategy : Re-inhabitation
    17. 17. Source unverified Build a Better Block Oak Cliff, Texas Jason Roberts and Team Build a Better Block
    18. 18. Congress for the New Urbanism: Next Gen short-term projects for long-term gains pavement to plaza depave parklet yarnbombing Walk posters guerrilla grafting
    19. 19. From Wal-Mart to Public Library McAllen Public Library, McAllen TX; Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects, Meyer Scherer Rockcastle Architects Lara Swimmer
    20. 20. Meds & Eds: From dying mall to revived mall and university medical center One Hundred Oaks, Nashville, TN: ATR & Assoc., Gresham Smith and Partners Architects Source unverified
    21. 21. From Mies van der Rohe gas station to Sr and Youth Center “Le Station”, Nun‟s Island, Quebec, Arrondisement of Verdun, Eric Gauthier -FABG Architects, 2011 Geothermal heating allowed removal of the HVAC system to cleanly expose the roof and ceiling systems
    22. 22. Updating the “L” strip mall as a “third place” with portals to the neighborhood Lake Grove Shopping Center, Lake Oswego, OR: Eric Shoemaker Beam Development From “back” to a new front to the neighborhood
    23. 23. From strip to job and town center Willingboro Town Center Willingboro, NJ Croxton Collaborative Architects 1960 1. Boscov‟s Furniture 2. Sears 3. Woolworths 4. Power plant 2009 1. Mail-service pharmacy 2. Office building 3. Public library w/ retail 4. Community College 5. Town Commons 6. Townhouses 7. Planted swales Courtesty Croxton Collaborative Architects MTC Aerial Photography
    24. 24. New Leaf Center Affordable Equity Partners Habitat for Humanity townhomes Social services, incu- Lease to Purchase NSP-funded bator kitchen, restau- Low-income tax credits rant, classrooms, mtg 32 cottages space, with apts abv. 5 funding sources: NPS3, CBDG, SPLOST, FHLB- AFB, Newton Federal Bank From zombie subdivision to mixed-income neighborhood: City as Master Developer Walkers Bend, Covington, GA: Covington Redevelopment Authority
    25. 25. urbanize – organize buildings to create connected outdoor rooms and walkable street networks densify and diversify: reward the pedestrian eye green the infrastructure strategy: Redevelopment
    26. 26. from 69 houses to TOD with 2,250 d.u., 300k sf office, 190k sf retail (2006) MetroWest, Vienna, VA: Pulte Homes, Lessard Arch Group, EDAW.
    27. 27. From grocery anchored strip mall to village center The A&P Lofts, Old Cloverdale, Montgomery AL City Loft Corporation, McAlpine Tankersley Architecture, The Colonial Company
    28. 28. 1985 2005 2025 Source: Dunham-Jones, Williamson 2009 from strip center to “attachable urbanism” Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod, MA 1988-present Cornish Assoc. Ltd / Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co / Imai, Keller Moore
    29. 29. from strip center to “attachable urbanism” Mashpee Commons, Cape Cod, MA 1988-present Cornish Assoc. Ltd / Duany Plater-Zyberk & Co / Imai, Keller Moore “skinny” liner stores screen parking lots and provide incubator retail space for local shops -highest grossing $/s.f. on the site
    30. 30. From strip mall to Main Street with high-end shop, live, stay and now, office Santana Row, San Jose, CA: Federal Realty Trust, Street Works, SB Archts, BAR Archts In 10 years its grown from 35 to 100 merchants, 622 res‟l units (w/ 20% premium) and has contributed more than $40 mil in property tax and $24mil in sales tax in 2011.
    31. 31. From dead mall to upscale live-work-play – during a down market CityCentre, Houston, TX: Midway Cos.; Gensler; Kirksey Architects, James Burnett
    32. 32. From strip mall to PPP-funded town center Sugar Land Town Square, Sugarland, TX: Planned Community Developers Ltd.,
    33. 33. transit triggers infill of an office park University Town Center, Hyattsville, MD Prince George‟s Metro Center, Inc. Parker Rodriguez RTKL Associates WDG Architecture
    34. 34. University Town Center 1940 a large farm estate adjacent to the village of Hyattsville
    35. 35. Highway triggers a mall, the office park, and buffer buildings University Town Center 1980
    36. 36. transit triggers infilling with new Main St, plaza and parking deck University Town Center 2020
    37. 37. First retrofit triggers four more University Town Center 2020 (revised 6/10)
    38. 38. New Main StreetNnNEw
    39. 39. From a park-n-ride + mall to a civic centre w/ geothermal district heatingSurr Surrey Central City, Surrey, BC; Simon Frasier University, Bing Thom Architects, Inc source: Dunham-Jones, Williamson, 2009 Library Classrooms above shopping mall Phase 1: college classrooms built above mall, + new high rise
    40. 40. From dead mall to green downtown Belmar, Lakewood,CO Continuum Partners Elkus Manfredi Architects, Civitas Inc. Van Meter Williams Pollack Architects Before
    41. 41. before - Villa Italia mall •140 subtenant leases •PPP with City of Lakewood, Lakewood Reinvestment Authority, Continuum Partners •Infrastructure delivered by Developer, paid back out of sales tax collected on site
    42. 42. Belmar 1975
    43. 43. Belmar 1995
    44. 44. Belmar 2015
    45. 45. •2002-8 fiscal and economic impact on Lakewood of $207.2 million ($49.5 million in 2008 alone), including a fiscal impact of $10.6 million •9 acres of public space and parks including a 2.1 acre park, 1.1 acre plaza •8 bus lines come through the new downtown •2/3 complete in „09: 1.1 mil sf retail, .9mil sf office, 1300 residential units
    46. 46. 8 of 13 regional malls in the Denver Metro area have been retrofitted or announced plans to be. Retrofitting does NOT imply the wholesale redevelopment of existing neighborhoods. Rather it provides existing neighborhoods with urban nodes on targeted underperforming sites- raising the question, how to connect the dots? Source: Dunham-Jones, Williamson, 2009
    47. 47. Transportation innovations: The Schweeb and the Straddle Bus
    48. 48. Recapturing traffic islands for redevelopment while making walkable intersections Fort Totten MetroRail stop, Washington DC Planning Department, WAMATA Source: Washington DC Planning Dept website
    49. 49. Intersection retrofit and public placemaking as catalyst Normal Illinois Roundabout, Normal Illinois: Doug Farr Associates, Hoerr Schauer Landscape
    50. 50. Photoz; G. Komar From 5-lane arterial to 2-lane Main Street with multi-use parking Ramblas & solar Lancaster, CA: CT/KDF Community Development Partners, Moule & Polyzoides Since revitalization started in 2009: $106mil in New Markets Tax Credits for redevelopment for local entrepreneurs; 50 new businesses; 10% increase in downtown property values; 50% cut in traffic collisions
    51. 51. from commercial strip to multi-way boulevard and new downtown Palm Canyon Drive, Cathedral City, CA; Freedman, Tung & Bottomley source: Dunham-Jones, Williamson, 2009
    52. 52. Retrofitting the strip corridor with transit-served nodes Columbia Pike, Arlington County, VA, Ferrell Madden Associates, Dover Kohl & Partners
    53. 53. From edge city sprawl to 430-acre BRT-extended TOD centered on boulevard White Flint, MD: White Flint Partnership, Montgomery County, Glatting Jackson, var designers -new high-rise downtown over 20 years, $6-7 bil tax revenue, 10k residents – 25% affordable
    54. 54. Connecting the Dots: Retrofitting the airport, mall, chemical plant and corridor Airport Boulevard, Austin TX: City of Austin, Gateway Planning Group
    55. 55. retrofitting land use, transportation and energy on a commercial corridor Cambie Corridor, Vancouver, BC, Vancouver City Planning Department
    56. 56. reconstruct local ecology, daylight culverted streams, and clean run- off add parks to increase adjacent property values food and energy production carbon sequestration strategy: Regreening
    57. 57. from shopping center to wetland w/ new lakefront property investment Phalen Village, Phalen MN,U.Minnesota CALA (Dowdell, Fraker, Nassauer) and City of St. Paul Before After
    58. 58. from mall parking lot to TOD with water treatment bioswale as park amenity Northgate Urban Center, North Seattle, WA: LEED-ND pilot program Thornton Place, Mithun Architects for Stellar Holdings & Lorig Associates •Added 530 units of housing at net 96 units/acre (another 1800 coming?) •Increased open space within the Northgate Urban Center by 50% •Provided pedestrian links that shortened walking distances by 50% from several adjacent neighborhoods Source: Dunham-Jones, Williamson 2011 2000 condos to replace 200 apts?
    59. 59. Thornton Creek Water Quality Channel: City of Seattle, SvR Design •Reduced impervious surface by 78% •Designed to remove an estimated 40-80% of suspended solids from 91% of the avg annual stormwater runoff from the 680-acre drainage basin •Created new habitat: native birds were observed within one month and native volunteer plants have gotten established with the 85% native species that were planted. Source: Kaid Benfield, Natural Resources Defence Council •Adds an estimated 30% increase in adjacent property values
    60. 60. From urban mall to park ringed with urban housing Columbus City Center Park, Columbus OH
    61. 61. From convention center parking lots to public/private park Discovery Green, Houston, TX: Brown and Kinder Foundations, Hargreaves Associates
    62. 62. Gentrification in the name of regreening? Dunwoody Glen, Dunwoody GA
    63. 63. Amateur photographers protesting for the right to public space on the Astroturf green at Downtown Silver Spring, MD, July 4, 2007
    64. 64. HYBRID PLACES “PUBLIC” spaces under PRIVATE management/ownership URBAN streetscapes with SUBURBAN parking ratios URBAN qualities at SUBURBAN costs LOCAL placemaking with NATIONAL retail/design/funding Populations that are MORE DIVERSE than typical suburbs, but LESS DIVERSE than typical cities INSTANT URBANISM
    65. 65. challenge: New Tools Planning grants: Federal and Metro The ITE street design manual Community/Business Improvement Districts Real estate transaction fees Anticipatory retrofitting and contingent zoning Design competitions Retrofittability analysis & performance metrics Street art
    66. 66. Partnering to Remove Obstacles to Urbanism by Reforming Standards and Practices Past Initiatives: HOPE VI Mixed- Income Communities LEED-ND CNU/ITE Manual on Walkable Urban Thoroughfares Emerging Initiatives: Tactical Urbanism, Urban Agricutlure, Code Reform, New Urbanism in China