Glut of land zoned for commercial purposes has led to gross disinvestment and building decay.
New lifestyle centers and reinvigorated downtown areas are beginning to offer these elements, leaving commercial strips to marginal businesses or complete decay
Need to retrofitMomentum is buildingStrategies: land use & right of way
Benefits of Infill:Increases densityMore efficient use of landOption for developing underperforming lotsReinforces urban fabricSlows growth along the suburban fringeHow to encourage infill: Policy incentives such as lowering impact fees, streamlined permitting, and changes to zoning code
Benefits of Reusing Existing BuildingsCan lower development costsOpportunity to take advantage of historic featuresPotential to reduce environmental impact of developmentAbility to provide social centers that are more connected and accessibleHow to encourage reuse:Policy incentives (as with infill), including historic preservation tax credits
Valence capacity of buildings, look at how buildings relate to one another and how form can complement function and nearby uses and/or forms. Importance is to design for quality places that create vibrancy and stimulate activity.
Range of tools available to implement these strategies-Revise zoning code & design standards to encourage new patterns and forms (consider making it optional, with incentives like density bonuses & expedited review)-Establish a TDR program to help concentrate density at nodes-Attract investors through-infrastructure investments-financial incentives like TIF and grants-drawing anchors to centers to induce add’l development
Amenities such as street furniture, bicycle parking, public restrooms, trash receptacles, etc all can add to the feeling of convenience and safety of the strip making areas more desirable places to linger.
How project was financed:Loans from the City of Denver’s Office of Economic Development Tax Increment Financing Historic tax credit syndication Conventional financingKey Features:Preservation of historic Lowenstein TheaterAttraction and involvement of key anchor tenants including the Tattered Cover Bookstore and Twist & Shout Records
Restructuring the Strip
Restructuring the strip: Strategies for Transforming Underperforming Commercial Strip Corridors into Community-Serving Assets<br />Caitlyn Horose and Kristel Sheesley<br />Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine May 2011<br />
Outline<br />What is the strip?<br />Why did it develop like it did?<br />The strip’s decline<br />Strategies for restructuring<br />Land use<br />Right of way<br />Developing the restructuring plan<br />Case study<br />Application to Maine<br />
Anatomy of the strip<br />low-slung buildings far from street<br />lots of <br />curb cuts<br />big, flashy signs<br />large front parking lots<br />wide road<br />(visually unappealing)<br />not friendly to pedestrians or cyclists<br />
Recycle and retrofit<br />Retrofit: alter building typlogy<br />
Design for desirable places<br />Appealing, distinctive “places”<br />
Recycle and retrofit<br />Merle’s in Littleton, CO: What used to be a gas station in the 1930s, then a garage, and previously Merle's Alignment is now an automotive-themed restaurant, utilizing the original garage doors and vintage signage.<br />
Restructure parking<br />Reduce land used for parking<br />Shared parking<br />Parking reserves<br />On-street parking<br />Parking structures<br />Hide the lots<br />Landscape the lots<br />
Implementation<br />Design guidelines<br />Sign ordinances<br />Street tree programs<br />Infrastructure improvements<br />Partnership with DOT<br />
Designing the restructuring plan<br />Not going to be easy or fast<br />Guidelines:<br />Design the process with care<br />Secure partnerships to lead the effort<br />Use public sector actions to leverage change<br />Select the right package of strategies<br />
Case study: Lowenstein Theater<br />“I think the Tattered Cover will bring back prestige to Colfax that once was there and will help spur new development”<br />– Craig Sklenar, Planner and Designer<br />
Case study: Lowenstein Theater<br />Outcomes<br />Allowed independent businesses to own their own building and create synergy with each other<br />Retained historic building<br />Created public spaces with outdoor café area<br />Support from community, public entities, and private investors<br />Embraced by developers of nearby high-rise condo towers and luxury townhouses <br />
Application to Maine<br />Strategies applicable<br />Good framework: corridor planning efforts<br />Maine is not as metropolitan as many places undertaking strip repair:<br />Lower level of build-out: “preemptive retrofitting”?<br />Less robust land market<br />Transit likely to be bus, not rail<br />Centers will be smaller in scale<br />