Decades in the making, high-speed rail is finally coming to California. In 2008, the state passed a $10 billion bond initiative to build the first leg of its ambitious state-spanning high-speed rail network.
These nation-leading plans were rewarded in January with a $2.25 billion federal infusion, part of an $8 billion high-speed rail grant program made possible by the 2009 stimulus bill. When the California network is completed in 2025—with a projected overall tab of $45 billion—the state will have more than 700 miles (1,100 km) of track that will take passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in less than three hours, with trains achieving top speeds of 220 miles per hour (354 kmph). What will it mean for land use?
With global trade down by over 20 percent in 2009—although there has been some rebound in 2010—containers stacked high at seaports are still a common sight. Correspondingly, the industrial sector of real estate is experiencing record vacancy. Even if economic recovery begins anew this year, most estimates show a full recovery in 2011 or later.
Amid the morass, business may not be brisk—but deals are still occurring. “Companies are focused on retooling or repositioning for the turnaround,” says Rich Thompson, executive vice president at the Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle’s port, airport, and global infrastructure group. Thompson terms it “network optimization,” in that companies are streamlining their operations. For example, perhaps they are consolidating from three smaller warehouses to one large distribution center, which could allow the new facility to take advantage of locations near multimodal transportation options such as any combination of truck, rail, sea, or air.
The retail industry has lagged behind the sustainability curve for some time, but is now quickly catching up as developers, landlords, and tenants seek to “green” their retail facilities to realize operational gains, demonstrate environmental stewardship, and capture increasingly conscientious consumers. However, because little information is available on the best leasing structure to benefit both landlords and tenants, many opportunities in retail real estate and store planning remain on the shelf.
Later this year, the U.S. Green Building Council will launch Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings for retail facilities to help illuminate best practices in the retail real estate market. Contrary to common belief, greening the retail building market involves much more than buildout; for example, it encompasses site selection, structuring of a green lease, tenant-space buildout, operations and maintenance, and communication strategies.
The director of Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development and an adviser to the Obama administration’s White House Office of Urban Affairs discusses the implications of megaregions for future development and how best to develop to compete globally.
The U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen may have ended without an international commitment to specific greenhouse gas reduction targets, but the development community still needs to prepare to meet stringent targets in the next five to ten years. Both California and the U.K., among others, have already started down the path that the rest of the world is likely to soon follow.
While the transportation component of Vancouver’s Winter Olympics is being watched closely by planners of the 2012 summer Olympics in London, Vancouverites saw the event also as an opportunity to reframe the city’s long-range transport picture, particularly in the context of a greener future.
The future looks a lot more female for residential developments that correlate with income and educational attainment.
Institutional investors will not be abandoning real estate as an asset class in 2010. Instead, they will be retrenching, rethinking, and carefully dipping their toes back into the water.
Well positioned for near-term recovery, Boston is starting to address impediments to development and the city’s high cost of living in order to facilitate longer-term growth.
Given the demographic and behavioral shifts, as well as the supply competition, expected to continue after the economic recovery, what steps should small cities take to boost their downtowns?