Author: Ron Nyren

Ron Nyren is a freelance architecture, urban planning, and real estate writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Articles by Ron Nyren

  • Product Council Insight: Outlook for Redevelopment and Reuse
    Published on September 02, 2014 in Development
    Members of ULI’s Redevelopment and Reuse Council discuss the increased importance of redevelopment and reuse, useful tools for these kinds of projects, the roles of public/private partnerships and anchor institutions, and other trends.
  • Seniors’ Housing Outlook
    Published on July 28, 2014 in Residential
    Demographic trends all but dictate that this will be a growth industry. What will satisfy the tastes and needs of discerning seniors?
  • ULX: Design for Aging
    Published on July 21, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Ten facilities flout the institutional stereotypes of architecture for seniors.
  • Workplace Design Outlook: The Evolving Workspace
    Published on June 09, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Experts discuss the influences of high-tech companies’ preference for “cool” spaces, younger workers’ desire for collaborative and flexible work environments, the shrinking of individual workspaces and increase in amenities, and the future of the office.
  • ULX: Emerging Architecture Firms
    Published on May 19, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Firms led by principals under the age of 50 provide a glimpse into the future of architecture. The following ten projects—all completed over the past five years—represent the work of firms led by principals in their 30s and 40s.
  • Multifamily Housing Outlook
    Published on May 12, 2014 in Development
    Multifamily housing experts discuss opportunities and challenges for developers and investors, signs of possible oversupply, the potential of properties outside the urban core, consumer preferences for unit types and amenities, and the appeal of renting.
  • ULX: Medium-Tall Multifamily Housing
    Published on May 05, 2014 in Development
    Ten apartment and condominium buildings model mid-rise design strategies.
  • Building in Harmony with Surroundings
    Published on March 27, 2014 in Planning & Design
    It was about four or five years ago when Vancouver feng shui consultant Marlyna Los experienced an uptick in calls from area real estate agents and developers.
  • Outlook: How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect Real Estate?
    Published on February 27, 2014 in Market Trends
    Health care real estate experts discuss the need for more outpatient facilities, the pros and cons of new construction versus adaptive use, the issues related to obtaining financing, the impact of new technologies, and other trends.
  • ULX: Holistic Health Design
    Published on February 21, 2014 in Planning & Design
    Ten integrative approaches to the design of health care facilities illustrate ways to forge links with nature, existing buildings and institutions, and communities.
  • Outlook: How Can Open Space Add Value to Real Estate Development?
    Published on January 07, 2014 in Development
    Experts discuss trends and opportunities in incorporating open space into the development of multifamily and mixed-use communities, from interior courtyards to public parks to wildlife preserves.
  • ULX: Open-Space Energy
    Published on December 06, 2013 in Planning & Design
    Dynamic urban parks and plazas can offer more than just a quiet respite for residents and visitors, including foot traffic for retailers and higher property values.
  • How Will the JOBS Act Affect Development?
    Published on October 25, 2013 in Development
    On September 23, 2013, new rules allowing companies to advertise opportunities to invest in securities offerings went into effect. How will developers respond?
  • ULX: Retail Reconstructions
    Published on October 16, 2013 in Retail/Entertainment
    Ten remade shopping centers exemplify opportunities for transformation.
  • ULX: Ten Brownfields Sprout New Life
    Published on August 23, 2013 in Planning & Design
    The following ten projects—all completed during the past five years—represent creative restorations of unused land, ranging from the transformation of an old brickyard into a center for environmental and socially responsible nonprofits to the construction of a new branch of the Louvre Museum on top of an old coal mine.
  • Revitalization Outlook: What Strategies Can Help Make Urban Cores More Vibrant?
    Published on August 16, 2013 in Planning & Design
    Members of ULI’s Urban Revitalization Council discuss ways to catalyze investment and development in the urban core, the demographic factors influencing the popularity of urban living, and how different sectors of the real estate market are faring in the urban core.
  • Public Development and Infrastructure Outlook
    Published on July 08, 2013 in Infrastructure
    Members of ULI’s Public Development and Infrastructure Council discuss ways to make infrastructure improvements, facilitate public development projects, and create synergies in the private sector.
  • ULX: Designed for Flight
    Published on June 14, 2013 in Planning & Design
    Ten airport designs accommodate modern travel needs and embody their local and regional contexts.
  • Public Private Partnership Outlook
    Published on May 03, 2013 in Market Trends
    How can public and private partners find a new equilibrium in a time of strained budgets? Members of ULI’s Public/Private Partnership Councils discuss trends influencing the prospects for collaboration between the public and private sectors on development.
  • ULX: Just Add Transit
    Published on May 02, 2013 in Planning & Design
    Ten transit centers exemplify strategies for inserting new facilities and expanding existing ones in a densifying urban landscape.
  • ULX: Technical Beauty
    Published on February 26, 2013 in Planning & Design
    Ten projects incorporate unconventional technical strategies to enhance efficiency, sustainability, and aesthetics.
  • Global Investment Outlook
    Published on February 07, 2013 in Capital Markets
    What are the risks and opportunities for real estate investment this year?
  • ULX: More than a Mix-Up
    Published on December 20, 2012 in Planning & Design
    Ideally, mixed-use projects achieve some kind of symbiosis among their elements, creating a whole that is more than the sum of the parts. All completed in the past five years, the following ten projects represent innovative takes on combining product types.
  • Technology Outlook: Where Is Technology Taking the Real Estate Industry?
    Published on December 19, 2012 in Market Trends
    ULI members discuss the influence of social media, the internet, and smartphones on consumer behavior, as well as the promise of technology to enhance the design, construction, and operation of buildings.
  • Sustainable Development Outlook
    Published on November 08, 2012 in Sustainability
    How far has the sustainable development movement come?
  • Way Green: Via Verde Affordable Housing
    Published on November 08, 2012 in Sustainability
    A New York City competition proves that green living environments can extend to affordable housing.
  • ULX: Working for Green
    Published on November 07, 2012 in Market Trends
    Ten office buildings push the sustainable design envelope.
  • ULX: Tight Squeezes
    Published on September 12, 2012 in Planning & Design
    Ten infill projects maximize constrained sites. All completed in the past five years, the following ten projects employ various tactics to circumvent the limitations of their sites. Some cantilever, some compress, some interlock, some zigzag, and some undulate.
  • Transit-oriented Development Outlook
    Published on August 27, 2012 in Infrastructure
    What can be done to ease the gridlock—on roads and in government?
  • ULX: Collaboration in the Workplace
    Published on August 01, 2012 in Office
    Ten workplaces exemplify creative strategies for enabling collaboration and flexibility.
  • Industrial and Office Park Outlook
    Published on August 01, 2012 in Industrial
    What does economic recovery mean for the industrial and office sectors?
  • ULX: The Power of Play
    Published on May 30, 2012 in Planning & Design
    These ten facilities exemplify the hybrid nature of recreation centers, building on the synergy of shared uses and providing daylit, flexible communal spaces to tempt people away from their electronics and help them connect in the real world.
  • Community Development Outlook
    Published on May 04, 2012 in Development
    Members of ULI’s Community Development Council speak about the impact of the slow economy, the increased appeal of smaller sites in denser locations, consumers’ current amenity preferences, the impact of ethnic and demographic changes, and the rising demand for housing that can accommodate multiple generations.
  • ULX: The Art of Affordable Housing
    Published on March 15, 2012 in Planning & Design
    Learn how ten developers of affordable housing take creative design approaches to providing appealing environments and sustainability while controlling costs.
  • Looking Past the European Debt Crisis
    Published on March 13, 2012 in Market Trends
    ULI members Steven Kohn, Alan Billingsley, John Williams, Tyrone Rachal and David Winstead point to opportunities in distressed assets, retail, multifamily, and construction debt that are currently available despite the current wait-and-see posture due to the European debt crisis.
  • Way Green: Via Verde Affordable Housing
    Published on February 01, 2012 in Sustainability
    Via Verde—a south Bronx housing development opening in March—proves that affordability poses no barrier to the goals of sustainability, design excellence, and the promotion of healthy living.
  • Recreational Development
    Published on January 27, 2012 in Development
    Six members of ULI’s Recreational Development Council discuss what is affecting their market, including the prospects for the resort and vacation home industry in an uncertain economy, the mind-set of potential buyers, the changing nature of second-home products, and strategies for navigating the challenges ahead.
  • Abandoning Redevelopment: California’s Big Experiment
    Published on January 19, 2012 in Development
    California is often the first state in the country to enact trailblazing legislation. Now, it has become the first to abolish its redevelopment agencies. What is happening and will this be an eastern moving trend?
  • Preserving the Past
    Published on January 11, 2012 in Sustainability
    All completed in the past five years, these ten projects— listed alphabetically,—bring back valuable community resources from decline and neglect. The projects are located in San Diego and Richmond, California; Washington, D.C.; Spokane, Washington; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Jackson, Mississippi; Portland, Oregon; Wakefield, England; Salem, Massachusetts; and Chicago, Illinois.
  • Partnerships in the Life Sciences
    Published on September 20, 2011 in Mixed-Use
    As scientists from a variety of disciplines share knowledge in pursuit of new treatments, municipal governments pool resources with the private sector to create biotechnology clusters, universities team with nonprofits, and nonprofits work with for-profit firms to speed the “bench to bedside” process. Read about ten projects that take an innovative approach to fostering interaction and creativity.
  • Office Development Outlook
    Published on September 15, 2011 in Office
    Five members of ULI’s Office Development Council speak about the trends affecting their market, including opportunities for development and investment, the evolution of tenant needs, and the challenges of adaptive use. Learn whether they think there is value in certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.
  • ULX: Reclaiming Urban Breathing Spaces
    Published on July 21, 2011 in Public Spaces
    Ten projects, all completed in the past five years, show innovative strategies for creating urban breathing spaces, providing residents with opportunities to commune with nature, gather, play, and reflect. Learn how through incorporating large works of public art and leveraging innovative public/private partnerships these parks exemplify the creativity needed to bring respite to city dwellers’ busy lives.
  • Housing Authorities Go Green
    Published on July 20, 2011 in Sustainability
    In this era of rising energy costs and shrinking budgets, the nation’s public housing agencies have a big incentive to lower utility bills. Some have done so by making significant investments in sustainable design strategies. Learn what suggestions housing authorities in Nashville, Milwaukee, and Denver have for other housing agencies looking to “push the green envelope” and see savings.
  • Commercial/Retail Outlook: What’s Next for the Sector?
    Published on June 29, 2011 in
    Five commercial/retail development experts discuss the sector, examining the near-term prospects for development and financing, strategies for making retail centers thrive, and the impact of online retailers and social media. Read where current growth is in the sector, and how big-box facilities are being reconfigured to meet the shift in demand.
  • Seniors’ Housing Development Outlook
    Published on May 04, 2011 in Development
    As the percentage of the U.S. population age 65 and older continues to grow, housing for seniors must adapt. Learn which market—the suburbs or the cities—has the greatest potential for development of housing for seniors and where developers are having success obtaining financing.
  • ULX: Energy-Saving Civic Buildings
    Published on May 03, 2011 in Sustainability
    Ten public sector projects, all completed in the past five years, draw on a variety of architectural strategies—often leading-edge ones—to cut energy use. On the other end of the time scale, read how a technique used by the Anasazi Indians to manage the Mojave Desert climate is borrowed by a project in Las Vegas to reduce energy demand.
  • Urban Development/Mixed Use Outlook
    Published on April 12, 2011 in Mixed-Use
    Four experts examine the trends affecting urban mixed-use development, including near-term development prospects, the best sources of financing, and the right mix of uses. Read what one considers the biggest game changer, and learn about the impact advances in social/interactive technologies may have on the sector.
  • ULX Mixed Greens
    Published on April 05, 2011 in Sustainability
    Defining sustainable design is like trying to pick up a drop of mercury with one’s fingers. The more one tries, the more the object slips away. Learn how ten projects illustrate the variety of green design strategies and their wide applicability to different building types.
  • Lifestyle Center Goes Local: Westport Village
    Published on March 24, 2011 in Mixed-Use
    When Underhill Associates was converting an apartment complex into condominiums in the early 2000s, the firm's partners saw the Camelot Shopping Center across the street continue its decline. Read how, with a focus on locally owned businesses, the Louisville, Kentucky, developer was able to turn the aging retail center into Westport Village, a pedestrian-friendly lifestyle center.
  • Fixing “Broken” Mixed-Use Developments: An Interview with Trey Morsbach
    Published on March 09, 2011 in Industry Sectors
    During the economic downturn, a number of mixed-use developments have failed—because they were built in places where there was not enough housing density, had rents that were too high, or featured bad design or the wrong complement of uses. Trey Morsbach, senior managing director of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, however, sees opportunity. Read what he says can be done to turn these projects around.
  • ULX Transformative Use
    Published on January 27, 2011 in Planning & Design
    Inserting contemporary architecture into a historic neighborhood requires a sensitive approach. The new building should avoid resembling an alien creature dropped from the sky, but, at the same time, distinctive contemporary architecture adds to the life of the city. Learn how ten projects weave new housing into existing urban environments.
  • Small-Scale Development Outlook
    Published on January 13, 2011 in Mixed-Use
    Six members of ULI’s three Small-Scale Development Councils speak about the advantages such developers have and the challenges they face in the current economy. Learn which retail tenant is the hardest to get approved, and why municipalities are taking a more favorable approach toward it.
  • Adaptive Use Best Practices: An Interview with David Haresign
    Published on December 02, 2010 in Planning & Design
    As an architect, David Haresign estimates that almost half of his work has involved restoration or adaptive use. That includes converting a historic school into condos, an old department store warehouse into a speculative office building, and an airplane parts warehouse into an office building for America Online. A partner at Bonstra | Haresign Architects in Washington, D.C., and a ULI member, he shares some key lessons from his experience.
  • Green Adaptive Use: The Hotel Palomar
    Published on November 23, 2010 in Planning & Design
    Sustainable design is about looking to the future, minimizing environmental impact not only during construction but also long after. Adaptive use looks to the past, retaining the rich architectural heritage of older buildings. Read how the Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia brings both strategies together in a boutique hotel that opened in the fall of 2009.
  • Developing the Center for Life Science Boston: Three Angles
    Published on November 23, 2010 in Planning & Design
    The Center for Life Science | Boston (CLSB) is the largest privately financed research building in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA), a 213-acre (86-ha) campus in Boston that hosts two dozen medical, research, academic, and cultural institutions, including Harvard Medical School and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Read about the collaboration between public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders that made this project possible.
  • ULX – Transformative Use
    Published on November 17, 2010 in Planning & Design
    Part of the appeal of adaptive use is the way it creatively bends a building from one purpose to another, sometimes seemingly incompatible use, while allowing remnants of the past to coexist side by side with the present. Read how one-of-a-kind structures like a locomotive assembly plant, a mental asylum, and a public school have been adapted for surprising new uses.
  • Health Care and Life Sciences Outlook
    Published on November 05, 2010 in Development
    Five organizers of ULI’s new Health Care and Life Sciences Council speak about the reasons for forming the council, financing strategies for developing in tough economic times, the effects of changing demographics on real estate needs, and other trends on the horizon. Find out how health care reform might affect real estate development.
  • Health Care/Life Sciences Development: Both Sides Speak
    Published on November 05, 2010 in Development
    The Urban Land Institute’s new Health Care and Life Sciences Council formed to bring private sector developers and investors together with institutional representatives, and others, in order to share knowledge and ideas unique to these asset classes. Read what three of ULI’s members have to say about best practices for successfully developing and managing medical and life sciences real estate.
  • Redevelopment Roundtable: What potential does redevelopment hold in the current economy?
    Published on October 01, 2010 in Market Trends
    Five real estate development experts discuss trends in redevelopment in the United States: where the opportunities lie, what kinds of properties are strong candidates for adaptive use, what sources of financing are available, how redevelopment dovetails with sustainable design, and what the future may hold.
  • Green Market Value
    Published on September 21, 2010 in Sustainability
    Buildings with sustainable design features may cut energy costs and have less impact on the environment than conventional buildings, but there has been little data about the economic benefit for their owners. Is there now evidence that even in the current economic downturn, the green premium holds true?
  • Public/Private Partnerships for Developers
    Published on September 14, 2010 in Development
    Given the economic downturn and the scarcity of capital, public/private partnerships may seem appealing to more real estate developers than ever. Yet navigating the intricacies of these ventures can involve a steep learning curve. Three members of ULI’s Public/Private Partnership Council (Gold Flight) offer insights based on their extensive experience.
  • Katrina: Five Years Later, Five Questions for William B. Bradshaw II
    Published on September 10, 2010 in Development
    William B. Bradshaw II, cofounder and president of the New Orleans–based real estate development firm Green Coast Enterprises, discusses what New Orleans has done right over the past five years and what the most significant aspects of rebuilding that still remain to be done are. He responds to whether the city successfully reinvented and/or expanded its economy and to what the city must do to improve its livability for existing residents and to attract new residents.
  • Katrina: Five Years Later, Five Questions for Joseph Canizaro
    Published on September 10, 2010 in Development
    Joseph Canizaro, the president and CEO of Columbus Properties L.P. in New Orleans, a past ULI chairman and past chair of the Bring New Orleans Back Commission’s land use committee, discusses what New Orleans has done right over the past five years and what the most significant aspects of rebuilding that still remain to be done are. He responds to whether the city successfully reinvented and/or expanded its economy and to what the city must do to improve its livability for existing residents and to attract new residents.
  • Katrina: Five Years Later, Five Questions for Pres Kabacoff
    Published on September 10, 2010 in Development
    Pres Kabacoff, CEO of New Orleans–based development company HRI Properties and a member of the ULI Public/Private Partnership Council (Blue Flight), discusses what New Orleans has done right over the past five years and what the most significant aspects of rebuilding that still remain to be done are. He responds to whether the city successfully reinvented and/or expanded its economy and to what the city must do to improve its livability for existing residents and to attract new residents.
  • ULX: Public/Private Pursuits
    Published on September 01, 2010 in Development
    From Australia to Canada, from the U.K. to the U.S, see ten examples where cash-strapped city and state governments get new or refurbished parks, libraries, or recreation facilities. Private sector partners get added value such as higher home prices and enhanced foot traffic for retail, entertainment, and dining uses. In some cases, the private sector partner builds and operates justice or transit structures in exchange for development rights.
  • Where & How Will We Live?
    Published on July 01, 2010 in Development
    Five leaders in residential real estate development discuss U.S. housing development trends: why smaller unit and lot sizes are becoming more common, which neighborhoods are holding value in the economic downturn, how demographic shifts are likely to influence the buyer and renter markets, how the public sector is working with the private sector to help keep planned developments alive, and how the recession has affected the movement toward incorporating sustainable design.
  • Job Transitions
    Published on July 01, 2010 in Development
    In the current economic downturn, job prospects in the real estate development industry can seem scarce. However, development has always been about reinvention to meet a constantly changing market. The following ten real estate professionals illustrate a variety of career reinvention possibilities. Listed in alphabetical order, they have all changed jobs within the past five years, taking on a different role in the industry— not necessarily because of the recession, but because they saw new opportunities in a dynamic market. Some have become consultants, some have founded their own firms, some have gone to work in the public sector, and some have joined firms in a related profession. They discuss what drew them to their new jobs, how their previous work informs their current work, and how they are drawing on and broadening their expertise.
  • Recharging Retail
    Published on June 01, 2010 in Development
    With consumer confidence low and vacancy rates high, shopping centers across the globe face a challenging economic climate. Yet the current downturn also paves the way for renewals of existing centers. Departed anchors create opportunities for radical interventions. At the same time, municipalities are strongly motivated to provide economic incentives to help turn around declining malls and shape them to be more responsive to their communities. The following ten shopping centers, all completed in the last five years, offer new strategies for bringing cultural uses into shopping centers, examples of contemporary architectural design that responds to the particularities of the local context and population,creative applications of urban design principles, sensitive incorporation of new construction with historic buildings, as well as examples of navigation of the complexities of public/private partnerships to provide benefits neither sector could have supplied on its own.
  • Retail Futures
    Published on May 01, 2010 in Market Trends
    What will be the changing role of retail in the current economy? Six leaders in the area of U.S. commercial and retail real estate development discuss the retail market in the wake of the current recession— including what kinds of retail are likely to succeed, how cities and suburbs are faring, and how demographic shifts affect retail business— and offer insights into how retailers can adapt in the new economy, especially given the rise of online shopping. Contributing their expertise are James Bieri, president and CEO of the Bieri Company in Detroit; Anthony Buono, executive managing director of CB Richard Ellis in San Diego; Brad Hutensky, president and principal of the Hutensky Group in Hartford, Connecticut, and past chair of ULI’s Commercial and Retail Development Council (Blue Flight); Carol Schillne, first vice president of CB Richard Ellis in Anaheim, California; Ellen Sinreich, president and CEO of Green Edge LLC in New York City and current chair of the Commercial and Retail Development Council (Gold Flight); and Peter Thomas, founding principal and CFO of Vestar in Phoenix and past chair of the Commercial and Retail Development Council (Green Flight).
  • Hotels Remaking History
    Published on March 01, 2010 in Hotels
    Ten renovation and retrofit projects make over structure to meet the needs of the contemporary hospitality industry and tap the place-specific power of older buildings.
  • Where Are Cities Headed?
    Published on March 01, 2010 in Development
    Five experts from the fields of real estate development, architecture, and urban planning discuss the role of cities in an urbanizing world and offer insights into how cities are—and should be—shaping future development as the recession ends.
  • Sustainable Makeovers for Exisitng Buildings
    Published on January 01, 2010 in Sustainability
    Ten renovation and retrofit projects transform existing buildings into showcases for sustainable strategies.
  • Office Futures
    Published on January 01, 2010 in Market Trends
    Five real estate experts discuss issues surrounding the office market downturn, including how it differs from previous ones, the prospects for recovery and indicators to be on the watch for, where the office market is expected to recover first, whether the current downturn will change the way tenants lease properties even after the office market recovers, and what office building owners should focus on to make it through the rest of the recession.