Author: Jeffrey Spivak
Jeffrey Spivak, a senior market analyst in suburban Kansas City, Missouri, is an award-winning writer specializing in real estate development, infrastructure, and demographic trends.
Articles by Jeffrey Spivak
- How Cities Are Using Technology to Close the Digital Divide
Published on October 07, 2016 in Planning & Design
Some gaps remain in the access to and availability of technology in parts of U.S. cities, and ULI’s recent J.C. Nichols Forum highlighted some newer and emerging tech applications to bridge the digital divide.
- Mayors of 18-Hour Cities See Opportunity in Authenticity, Differentiation
Published on October 03, 2016 in Market Trends
The middle tier of U.S. cities—places like Kansas City, Missouri—may have lower populations, fewer cultural offerings, and less cosmopolitan flair than bigger cities, but they also have their own advantages over the behemoths.
- Nichols Prize Laureates Highlight Ongoing Need for Housing in Cities around the World
Published on October 03, 2016 in Development
While cities around the world face many challenges, they also play a role in providing economic opportunity and bringing people of different backgrounds together. “Communities succeed best when they’re diverse,” said Peter Calthorpe, an award-winning San Francisco–based architect and pioneer of sustainable urban design globally who was awarded the Nichols Prize in 2006, speaking at the ULI Nichols Forum in Kansas City, Missouri.
- Klyde Warren Park and the Katy Trail
Published on September 28, 2016 in Planning & Design
Two ambitious park projects in Dallas tie neighborhoods together—and spurred a boom in nearby real estate values.
- Bringing Flexibility Home
Published on August 09, 2016 in Planning & Design
New tech habits spur demand for creating privacy in open-plan homes.
- (Lack of) Water Hazard
Published on June 15, 2016 in Sustainability
Golf course operators try to shave a few strokes off their water numbers.
- How Cities, Property Owners Are Integrating Wi-Fi, Charging Stations
Published on May 13, 2016 in Infrastructure
Free public wi-fi and charging stations are being deployed through outdoor public furniture and fixtures—benches, shelters, streetlight poles, trash cans, and other common features.
- Historic Rehab: Philadelphia’s Navy Yard
Published on April 01, 2016 in Development
Home to retired Navy ships, pharmaceutical and tech companies—and even the makers of Tastykake—a historic rehab site can hardly be more varied.
- Smart Glass out of the Shadows
Published on March 07, 2016 in Planning & Design
With the technology improving and prices falling, glass that automatically darkens to control glare and heat is gaining popularity.
- A New Competitive Edge: Water Management
Published on September 21, 2015 in Sustainability
As drought continues its choke hold on California, continued development relies on making water supplies stretch further.
- Adaptive Use Is Reinventing Detroit
Published on September 14, 2015 in Market Trends
Long-vacant and historic buildings are being repurposed in the Motor City, including a taxicab repair shop rejuvenated as Two James Spirits distillery and a former pawnshop renovated into a restaurant but keeping the former name, “Gold Cash Gold.”
- Better Data Collection–through Light Fixtures
Published on June 26, 2015 in Sustainability
On top of offering energy-efficient lighting, LED systems can collect and transmit data on their environment-and the people in it.
- The Bayou City: Reclaiming Houston’s Signature Waterways
Published on May 04, 2015 in Development
Across the United States, a number of cities are attempting to restore and rediscover their urban rivers. One of the most ambitious efforts is occurring in Houston, where Buffalo Bayou Park is undergoing a $58 million redevelopment to be completed this year.
- A Developing Front in Resilience: Electricity Microgrids
Published on February 17, 2015 in Sustainability
At some forward-thinking projects, developers are taking control of the electric supply into their own hands.
- Going to the Dogs: Profitable Pet-Friendly Amenities
Published on August 18, 2014 in Development
With pet-grooming stations, rooftop dog walks--and a premium on the rent--developers are catering more to their pet-loving clientele.
- Raising the (Phone Coverage) Bars in Commercial Buildings
Published on May 12, 2014 in Infrastructure
Building owners and telecom carriers are finding ways to bridge the mobile phone coverage gaps that frustrate users.
- A New Voice in Town: Urban Design Centers
Published on November 01, 2013 in Planning & Design
A hybrid of city code authorities and civic boosters, design centers promote downtown aesthetics and walkability, one project at a time.
- Toll Roads: The Route to Redevelopment?
Published on October 29, 2013 in Infrastructure
Tolls pave the way for road construction when other financing is unavailable. But toll roads will not drive development in an otherwise undesirable market.
- All Aboard: Rail-Centric Construction Gets Back on Track
Published on July 15, 2013 in Infrastructure
With train travel regaining popularity and high-speed passenger rail projects or improvements under construction in California, Michigan, and the Northeast Corridor, another era of railroad station construction is dawning. Nearly every station project includes intercity train service, and rail hubs once again are seen as magnets for real estate activity and opportunity.
- The Maturation of the Green Building Industry
Published on June 20, 2012 in Sustainability
With the recent postponement of LEED 2012 and the growing ranks of green building-evaluation mechanisms, real estate professionals face decisions about which third-party program to prioritize.
- LEED Backlash
Published on February 22, 2012 in Sustainability
The dominance of LEED—the world’s most popular green building brand—is facing two threats: governments are limiting its application as a policy benchmark and are pursuing other green building standards.
- Increasing Home Sales in Master-Planned Communities
Published on February 14, 2012 in Planning & Design
Top-selling master-planned communities continue to be those that adapt to the ever-shifting real estate environment.
- Top 10 States for Low Business Taxes and Regulations
Published on January 05, 2012 in Capital Markets
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, states that are now the most business-friendly are inland locales, ranging from Kentucky and Tennessee in the east, westward to Wyoming and Utah.
- Top 10 Commercial Real Estate Trends for 2012
Published on December 16, 2011 in Office
Despite some downward-trending market indicators, the forecast for the commercial real estate sector is decidedly more mixed for the coming year, depending on the market sector, according to Deloitte.
- Top Ten Metros with Bad Bridges
Published on December 14, 2011 in Infrastructure
Bridges are often cited as the poster child for America’s crumbling infrastructure—but bridge conditions are actually improving nationwide, thanks to a federal and state commitment to the problem.
- Top 10 Global Cities with Lowest Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Published on November 17, 2011 in Mixed-Use
This year, the C40 Climate Leadership Group—a network of global cities dedicated to climate change leadership—collaborated with the U.K.’s Carbon Disclosure Project to survey major cities on their greenhouse gas emissions. They learned that well-known places like London, New York, and Tokyo produced higher levels of emissions per capita than cities in South America, Asia, and Africa.
- Malls Making a Comeback
Published on October 26, 2011 in
For years, observers have predicted the death of the enclosed regional mall. How ironic, then, that today the regional mall is not just surviving but thriving compared with its shopping center competitors. Read how large mall owners have been actively investing in their properties in recent years, adding new attractions and luring new major tenants, in an effort to stay relevant in the 21st century.
- Solar Parking Lots Arriving in Greater Numbers
Published on October 19, 2011 in Sustainability
All across America, surface parking lots dot metropolitan landscapes, serving the same solitary purpose day after day. But in some parts of the country, these underused parcels of real estate are becoming the new frontier in solar power. So far in 2011, thousands of solar panels have been constructed over parking lots in California, Maryland, Ohio, and New Jersey, among other places.
- APA’s Top 10 Great Streets 2011
Published on October 19, 2011 in Planning & Design
Recently, the American Planning Association released its annual list of “Great Places in America”—including ten great streets in big cities like Washington, D.C., and small towns like Galena, Illinois.
- Top 10 Metro Areas for Economic Growth Since the Recession
Published on October 07, 2011 in Market Trends
According to just-released data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the economies of U.S. metro areas turned around in 2010, with metro gross domestic products increasing a combined 2.5 percent.
- Urban Office Momentum
Published on September 14, 2011 in Office
The U.S. office market has shifted its geographic momentum this year, with central business districts (CBDs) and popular urban corridors recovering better than suburban markets. One significant sign of the improving health of CBDs has been a notable increase in corporations migrating from outlying suburbs to downtown or urban locations. Read what three ULI members have to say about his trend.
- Top 10 Metro Highway Removal Projects
Published on September 13, 2011 in Planning & Design
At one time, highway teardown projects in urban U.S. cities were rare, with about one occurring each decade. In the 1970s, Portland closed Harbor Drive. In the 1990s, San Francisco tore down the Embarcadero Freeway. And in the 2000s, Milwaukee removed the Park East Freeway spur. But this decade, freeway removal projects are gaining popularity. Read a list of the top 10 highway teardown projects based on progress made toward teardown.
- Top 11 Worst Metro Areas for Seniors’ Mobility
Published on September 07, 2011 in Infrastructure
A report commissioned by Transportation for America shows that in a majority of metros with 1 million or more people, over half of seniors aged 65 to 79 will have poor access to mass transit in 2015.
- Top 10 Metro Areas Gaining Kids
Published on August 31, 2011 in Residential/Multifamily
According to demographer William Frey with the Brookings Institution public policy research center, there is a “growing divide” between parts of the country experiencing gains and losses in children under age 15—a finding that has implications for ULI members.
- Top 10 Least-Polluting U.S. Metros
Published on August 23, 2011 in Sustainability
As greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction policies gain momentum at the federal and metropolitan levels, a new study about urban areas’ GHG emissions levels could have implications for real estate developers.
- Top 10 Cities for Renters
Published on August 09, 2011 in Residential/Multifamily
Apartments are the one housing sector experiencing a strong recovery—and Forbes magazine and real estate investment firm Marcus & Millichap recently rated the best big cities for renters.
- Investment, Development Rank High in China’s Lesser-Known Cities
Published on July 29, 2011 in Market Trends
Top-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai may be well known to U.S. real estate investors, but lesser-known Chinese cities actually offer better development and investment opportunities, according to the China Cities Survey, a newly published ULI report. Read what nearly 100 real estate investors throughout Asia had to say about development and investment prospects for 16 of China’s leading cities.
- Federal Livability Progress
Published on July 21, 2011 in Market Trends
In June 2009, the Obama administration launched the federal livability initiative when three agencies—DOT, EPA, and HUD—formed the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. Read how these agencies over the past two years have advanced livability from a feel-good idea to a core philosophy that is becoming rooted in the federal departments and influencing some real estate patterns in metro areas.
- Top 10 Metro Areas with Fastest-Growing Senior and Presenior Populations
Published on July 15, 2011 in Market Trends
Baby boomers are leading a wave of senior population growth that is spreading well beyond the traditional retirement magnet states of Florida and Arizona. According to a new 2010 census report from the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., 32 metro areas increased their senior populations by more than 25 percent during the decade of the 2000s. Read more to learn which cities are benefiting from growth in both senior and presenior populations.
- Retail Recovery
Published on June 29, 2011 in
As the economy recovers, an enduring shift is taking place in the retail landscape. Hard-hit by the severe economic downturn, the huge baby boomer generation is not likely to lead a spending revival the way it did after previous recessions. Instead, the more important demographic will be generation Y. Learn the surprising impact this could have for a much maligned format—the enclosed mall.
- Top 10 Metros with Healthiest Housing Markets for 2011
Published on June 24, 2011 in Market Trends
Home sales are falling again, and home prices dropped to a post-recession low in the first quarter. Nevertheless, the homebuilding industry may be turning a corner, especially in southern metro areas.
- Top 10 Metro Areas That Gained Population Faster During the Great Recession
Published on June 08, 2011 in Market Trends
The 2010 U.S. Census population figures show that nearly one-fourth of the largest metro areas grew by over 20 percent during the 2000s—with great differences between the two halves of the decade. Read which ten metro areas experienced greater growth in the second half of the decade than the first half.
- Top 10 Selling Master-Planned Communities
Published on May 26, 2011 in Development
Residential sales in top-performing master-planned communities began to rebound in 2010, reversing a severe decline that began in 2006. The top 10-selling communities sold more than 7,000 units last year. Some communities target specific buyers such as older adults, while other developments target a wider range of demographic and market segments. Read which master-planned communities made the top 10 in sales for 2010.
- Top 10 Metros as Retirement Destinations
Published on May 13, 2011 in Market Trends
More than 1 million senior citizens typically move every year to a new locale to spend their golden years. So what are the most popular retirement destinations? The American City Business Journals, which publishes Business Journal newspapers in many major metros, recently used a six-part formula to rank the most popular places for retirees. Read the resulting list of top 10 destinations for seniors.
- Q&A with Greenprint’s Charles Leitner
Published on May 10, 2011 in Sustainability
Interest in reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings is gaining momentum in the public and private sectors. The efforts of both of these sectors took center stage at the Catalytic Convening on Energy Efficiency event, which brought together some 200 emerging leaders in the sustainability movement to discuss how to better align and advance the energy-efficient retrofit market. Read more.
- Seniors’ Housing Acquisitions
Published on May 04, 2011 in Market Trends
Since the middle of 2010, health care and seniors’ housing REITs have announced more than $20 billion in consolidations and partnerships—a significant surge from the $2.9 billion in deals done in 2009 and the $1.8 billion in 2008. Read why billion-dollar acquisitions in seniors’ housing, unthinkable a year ago, are quickly becoming the norm.
- Q&A with AARP—Livable Communities
Published on April 26, 2011 in Planning & Design
While not known as an interest group in housing and community development circles, AARP champions retrofitting suburbia to be more walkable and livable. Read what David Shotwell, AARP’s senior director of livable communities, says about the organization’s advocacy of transit-oriented development and "complete streets," among other things, in its quest to enhance older Americans’ quality of life.
- Green Building Litigation—LEEDigation
Published on April 12, 2011 in Sustainability
As green building mushroomed in recent years, some industry and legal observers predicted a flood of litigation would accompany that growth. The issue has even spawned a new term—LEEDigation. Though the level of concern about green building risks may have been overblown, read what legal experts are offering as recommendations to guard against green building–related disputes.
- Top 10 Metros for Housing Permits Per Capita
Published on April 05, 2011 in Development
According to Reed Construction Data, the Texas metros of Houston and Austin had more new-housing permits per resident than anywhere else during the past year. Right behind them were the North Carolina metros of Raleigh-Durham and Charlotte. Read which metros cracked the top 10 and about the effect of damaged credit histories on the new-home market.
- Top 10 Metros for Housing Permits Per Capita
Published on March 30, 2011 in Residential/Multifamily
- 2011 Construction Outlook
Published on March 10, 2011 in Development
In a recent national webcast, three industry economists predicted a stronger 2011 before several markets—from housing to hotels—ramp up to double-digit percentage growth in 2012. Learn what these experts forecasted for the residential and nonresidential sectors alike—and how Middle East revolutions, steep government spending cuts, and higher gas prices could dampen the overall economic recovery.
- Top 10 Metros with the Most Purchasing Power
Published on March 08, 2011 in Market Trends
Recently, veteran demographer Wendell Cox developed a way to incorporate income in a cost-of-living comparison, to establish the real value of money in a particular place. He called this “purchasing power parity,” and it evaluates higher income-higher cost locales on the East and West coasts with lower income-lower cost places in between. Read Cox’s list of top 10 metros with the best purchasing power, based on cost of living adjustments.
- Top 10 Metros for Retail Market Recovery
Published on February 24, 2011 in
Commercial real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis forecasts U.S. retail sales and leasing to “ramp up gradually” this year. The forecast also includes a metro retail market strength analysis for 2011-2015. In terms of leasing, retailers are repositioning stores to more high-profile locations to take advantage of favorable rental rates, and vacancy rates are expected to begin coming down from a 10+% peak. Read which metros of the United States are predicted to lead the way in growth.
- Top 10 Metros for Office Market Recovery
Published on January 25, 2011 in Market Trends
Commercial real estate services firm Grubb & Ellis forecasts the U.S. office market to have a “half-speed recovery” this year, according to the company’s 2011 Real Estate Forecast, released in January. Vacancy rates will drop from 2010’s 17.8% to 17%, net absorption will increase by 35 million square feet and Class A rents will rise by 0.4%. How do these improvements compare to the pace of typical economic recovery or growth cycles?
- Top 10 Major Metros With Lowest Foreclosure Rates
Published on January 19, 2011 in Market Trends
Foreclosure activity across the United States continues on an upward trend. Among 206 metropolitan areas tracked by RealtyTrac, 65% had year-over-year increases in foreclosures during the third quarter of 2010. For ULI members, a low foreclosure rate can signal a housing market that isn’t flooded with short sales and thus may have more demand for new residential construction. Read about which metros had the worst foreclosure rates for this period.
- Top 10 Major Metros for Dining Out and Entertainment Spending
Published on January 04, 2011 in
As happens during a recession, consumer spending in the United States declined 3% in 2009, according to the latest Consumer Expenditure Survey released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Read more about which metros had the most drops in spending dining out and in entertainment – two areas of interest to ULI members involved in retail and mixed-use developments.
- Retail Investment in China
Published on December 19, 2010 in Market Trends
China’s retail development and investment opportunities are progressively spreading to large second- and third-tier cities – all with populations above 1 million – which puts added importance on building the right contacts and partnerships in China’s real estate market, advises Rong Ren, chief executive officer of Harvest Capital Partners and a ULI member . Read about how retail has changed in China as a whole, as well as which markets the growth is spreading to and what might be required to invest if you are not from China.
- Top 10 Metros for Single-Family and Multi-Family Building Permits
Published on December 18, 2010 in Market Trends
Stability is slowly returning to the new-homes market. While total single-family and multi-family building permits remain on an up-and-down rollercoaster from month to month, they are on a slight upward trend for the year. Which areas of the country are seeing this the most and what does this mean for ULI members?
- Top 10 Metros in the Global Economic Recovery
Published on December 08, 2010 in Market Trends
- Top 10 Metros for Office Space Growth
Published on December 08, 2010 in Market Trends
Initial signs of a turnaround are beginning to appear in the U.S. office market. The national office vacancy rate dropped during 2010’s third quarter for the first time since 2007. The upshot for ULI members is that the overall recovery in the U.S. office market is expected to be slow and long. Here are lists of major metros with the best year-to-date net absorption in downtown and suburban Class A office space.
- Top 10 Metros for Job Growth & Declining Unemployment
Published on November 11, 2010 in Market Trends
Comparing September to a year earlier, unemployment rates dropped in more than half (27) of the 49 major metropolitan areas according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is one of the key drivers of the economy and the housing market, so positive employment trends potentially hold out hope for future residential and commercial real estate activity. Read where the best job growth and unemployment improvement are.
- Repurposing Distressed Commercial Assets
Published on November 05, 2010 in Development
Sales of distressed commercial properties have begun to rebound, and some entrepreneurial owners are developing alternative uses or transitional leases for empty shopping centers, foreclosed condominium complexes, vacant big-box stores, and other financially struggling properties. Read about a particular building type that has been repurposed separately as a bottling plant, a grocery store, and a church.
- Certain Provisions of CALGreen go into Effect January 1, with More on the Way
Published on November 04, 2010 in Sustainability
The California Green Building Standards Code – better known as CALGreen – will be the first state-level code to set mandatory green-building requirements. It is intended to help the state reach its 2020 greenhouse gas reduction targets and is designed to make the construction process more eco-friendly. Read about the intention and requirements of CALGreen.
- Top 10 Metro Areas with Senior Population Growth
Published on November 04, 2010 in Market Trends
The Brookings Institution think tank in Washington, D.C., characterizes an impending demographic shift in America as an “age tsunami.” The population of seniors (age 65 and over) will begin to mushroom as the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation turns 65 in 2011. Review the list of top 10 metro areas with the fastest-growing senior population and the list of top 10 metro areas with the fastest-growing population of older Boomers.
- Top 10 Metropolitan Areas with Rising Home Prices
Published on October 11, 2010 in Development
By almost any measure, housing prices across the country have been rebounding in 2010. The National Association of Realtors reported the national median price of existing single-family homes rose 1% in August after rising almost 4% during the first half of 2010. Review the list of the Top 10 highest percentage gains in existing home prices during the first half of this year.
- Top 10 Metropolitan Areas for Immigrant Population Growth
Published on October 11, 2010 in Development
The largest U.S. metropolitan areas continue to be home to the largest number of immigrants, with more than 1 million in places such as New York, Los Angeles, Miami and San Francisco. But the major metros with the fastest-growth immigrant populations were mostly in the southeast region of the country. Read which of the country has the metros with the fastest growing immigrant populations.
- Time to Restore the Home Buyer’s Tax Credit?
Published on September 09, 2010 in Market Trends
The July sales figures were worse than many analysts had expected, prompting calls for a restoration of the federal housing tax credit. Existing-home sales in July dropped 27 percent from June levels and 25 percent from July 2009. The total sales of existing homes were the lowest since the National Association of Realtors (NAR) began tracking the figure in 1999. Read what many housing experts and ULI housing council leaders want.
- Neighborhoods Where Housing Is Appreciating Again
Published on August 01, 2010 in Market Trends
In 2009, the median price of an existing single-family home in the United States declined by 12.5 percent, the largest single-year drop since the National Association of Realtors began tracking the number in the late 1960s. But there were pockets of stable values and even rising home prices in every major metropolitan area across the country. The location of these stronger neighborhoods tended to depend on the traditional strengths of the metropolitan area as a whole.