Author: Kevin Brass
Kevin Brass regularly writes about property and development for the International New York Times. His features and analysis on business trends, architecture and design have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times and The National, the Abu Dhabi-based daily newspaper. A frequent speaker and commentator at international property events, he also served as Public Affairs manager for the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, the non-profit association for designers and builders of tall buildings.
Articles by Kevin Brass
- Integrating Affordable Housing into Plans for Transit-Oriented Development
Published on October 12, 2016 in Development
Panelists at the ULI Los Angeles transit-oriented development event held in October agreed that affordable housing has moved to the top of the agenda for local agencies and planners. Traffic and walkability are still priorities, but affordable housing is the Holy Grail in the city.
- How Los Angeles Is Planning for More Transit-Oriented Development
Published on October 12, 2016 in Development
This session at ULI Los Angeles conference provided an unusual opportunity to hear two of L.A.’s key planners discuss their attitudes, priorities, and philosophies, and offered a glimpse into the future of L.A. development as they addressed the myriad issues facing the city.
- Rerouting the Trinity River
Published on October 03, 2016 in Infrastructure
Fort Worth’s bold plan of dredging channels and tearing down levies would enhance flood control, connect people with the waterfront—and double the amount of land in the city’s downtown.
- Dense, Walkable Urbanism Drawing Corporate Offices to Plano, Texas
Published on September 09, 2016 in Development
One of the largest eat/work/ play/live developments in Texas, the $3 billion Legacy West project is attracting companies like Toyota, FedEx, JPMorgan Chase, and Liberty Mutual by focusing on the interests of generation X and millennial employees.
- Before It Runs Off
Published on July 14, 2016 in Sustainability
With water becoming an increasingly valuable resource, more emphasis is being placed on capturing and retaining rainwater and graywater.
- U.S. Hotel Industry Bracing for a Slower Year
Published on June 29, 2016 in Development
After years of steady growth, the hotel industry is bracing for a tough year. “Growth and revenue are slowing down,” Bruce Baltin, managing director of CBRE Hotels, told executives and experts gathered for ULI’s “Hotel and Resort Development: Next Wave of Innovation” conference in La Costa, California, held in June. “It’s hit a peak. We think we’re at a plateau.”
- What’s Working and What’s Not as Generational Shift Hits Hospitality Sector
Published on June 29, 2016 in Hotels/Resorts
The long-predicted generational shift in the hotel industry is starting to happen, according to speakers at ULI’s recent “Hotel and Resort Development: Next Wave of Innovation” conference in La Costa, California. Baby boomers are growing older and millennials are developing as a buying group, forcing developers and operators to rethink developments. Everyone is racing to determine what works—and what doesn’t—as projects look to adjust to the latest trends, speakers said.
- Demonstrating Healthy Corridors in Los Angeles’s Pacoima Neighborhood
Published on June 14, 2016 in Sustainability
After years of community conversations, planning, and stalled projects, the Los Angeles neighborhood of Pacoima is getting closer to moving forward on a wide range of initiatives to bring new life to Van Nuys Boulevard, the area’s main thoroughfare.
- Adding a Living Facade to a Dated Office Building in West Hollywood
Published on April 05, 2016 in Planning & Design
The headquarters for IAC, a media company that owns Match.com and HomeAdvisor, was a bland, brick-tile structure built in West Hollywood during the 1980s, making any type of retrofitting a challenge. A refresh of the exterior added a five-story “living facade.”
- Drawing People In: Placemaking and the Density Discussion
Published on February 29, 2016 in Planning & Design
Placemaking is key to the appeal of high-density projects. Great design—and education—may help win over skeptics.
- U.S. Treasury Looking at Cash Buyers of Luxury Homes in New York, Miami
Published on February 09, 2016 in Market Trends
Residential real estate executives are assessing the impact of a new U.S. Treasury Department initiative to crack down on criminals and corrupt foreign officials who use luxury home purchases to launder money, requiring title insurance companies in Miami and New York City to disclose the identities of buyers paying cash starting in March.
- 18-Hour Cities Reinforce Their Hold on Investors’ and Developers’ Attention
Published on February 01, 2016 in Market Trends
Eight of the top ten cities identified by the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2016 report compiled by ULI and PwC as the most favorable for investment and development in 2016 are secondary cities, sometimes called 18-hour cities. There is greater risk in such cities, but they also offer better opportunities and the potential for larger yields than the traditional gateway cities, survey respondents said.
- Putting Developers’ Environmental Impact to a Vote in California
Published on November 09, 2015 in Sustainability
Last year, the California Supreme Court ruled that a project proposed through the citizen initiative process and subsequently approved by a council—without a public vote—was exempt from a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) review, overturning a lower court decision. Now, a project can potentially avoid months of costly CEQA-related delays if a developer raises enough signatures for an initiative and the council or board simply ratifies the project.
- Better Regional Planning Is Key to “Selling” Higher Densities
Published on October 26, 2015 in Market Trends
The biggest challenge facing developers hoping to create high-density, livable communities is often the people in the existing neighborhood, said Peter Calthorpe, head of Calthorpe Associates, speaking at the ULI Fall Meeting.
- Reimagining Luxury at Modern Resorts: Cycling Is the New Golf
Published on October 19, 2015 in Planning & Design
In a competitive global market, resort designers are racing to define the “new luxury.” The modern concept of luxury is “really about elegance and simplicity,” said Richard Centolella, a principal in design firm EDSA, during a panel discussion at the ULI Fall Meeting.
- Giving Historic Preservation the Best Chance for Success
Published on October 19, 2015 in Development
For historic redevelopment to succeed, developers need to rethink their basic approach to projects, three leading experts said during a panel session at the ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco.
- Fundamentals Remain Strong for U.S. Real Estate
Published on October 19, 2015 in Capital Markets
During a panel discussion at the ULI Fall Meeting, three of the real estate industry’s leading economic experts explained their reasons for optimism while adding notes of caution, while also drawing on survey data from the latest ULI Real Estate Consensus Forecast.
- Governor Brown Calls for Denser Development, Better Infrastructure
Published on October 07, 2015 in Market Trends
Speaking at the ULI Fall Meeting, California's Governor Brown sounded stern warnings that California’s much-touted recovery is sure to end and that the state will have to make tough decisions on climate change, development, and infrastructure.
- A New City Place for Santa Clara
Published on September 21, 2015 in Development
Development plans would turn an area next to a new professional football stadium into an urban-style focal point for the Silicon Valley suburb.
- Food Markets Nourishing Development
Published on August 24, 2015 in Retail/Entertainment
Though they pose unique development challenges, authentic, locally focused food vendors create unique experiences.
- San Diego Wrestles with Densification
Published on May 04, 2015 in Planning & Design
A six-year-old attempt to build a $650 million high-density, mixed-use development in northern San Diego continues to stir debate about the role of new urbanism in a city known for suburban sprawl.
- Rising Towers Escalate Need for Faster Lifts
Published on December 01, 2014 in Planning & Design
When Shanghai Tower opens as China’s tallest building next year, the 2,073-foot (632 m) tower will feature elevators capable of traveling 40.3 miles (64.8 km) per hour. But how fast can modern elevators go without sacrificing comfort?
- A Hong Kong Developer’s Vision for Miami
Published on September 08, 2014 in Development
Built on land acquired during the Great Recession, Swire's Brickell City Centre could transform downtown Miami.
- Transit Planners Look to the Sky with Cable Cars, Gondolas
Published on March 19, 2014 in Infrastructure
In a mountainous suburb of La Paz, Bolivia, crews are finishing the first leg of a network of gondolas, which may be the largest mass transit cable-car system in the world.
- “London Eye” Leads New Wave of Big Wheels Across the Globe
Published on January 16, 2014 in Planning & Design
One hundred twenty years after George Ferris’s invention first wowed crowds at the Chicago World’s Fair, the Ferris wheel has reappeared as part of several new projects.