Author: Will Macht
William P. Macht is a professor of urban planning and development at the Center for Real Estate at Portland State University in Oregon and a development consultant. (Comments about projects profiled, as well as proposals for future profiles, should be directed to the author at [email protected].)
Articles by Will Macht
- Solution File: Courtyard Commons Creates Community
Published on May 26, 2022 in Development
In its work for developer LCOR, Baltimore-based architecture firm Design Collective formulated urban design strategies for multiple-building residential development North Bethesda Center that illustrate a disciplinary, multipronged approach.
- Solution File: Thin Micro-Townhouses Optimize Density
Published on January 07, 2022 in Development
A Utah developer includes townhouses to densify one block in the downtown of a new community southwest of Salt Lake City.
- Solution File: Horizontal Multifamily Detached Housing
Published on November 23, 2021 in Planning & Design
Developers build single-story, single-family detached housing units in multifamily communities to rent at premiums over multistory projects.
- Solution File: A “Metric Acre” Would Integrate American Development Practices with Global Measures
Published on September 13, 2021 in Economy, Market & Trends
The metric acre could fill a missing intermediate scale between square meters and hectares and, like the metric ton, bridge the gap between the imperial and metric systems.
- Solution File: Shared Parking Leads to Creative Solutions
Published on August 31, 2021 in Development
A redevelopment of a 1980s strip center in a suburban town programs urban-style mixed uses with 1,500 fewer parking spaces than would have been required without sharing.
- Solution File: Courtyard House Clusters Offer Post-Pandemic Appeal
Published on July 22, 2021 in Planning & Design
“Atrium quads” can provide private, secure, spacious, flexible, single-family urban living at densities comparable to those provided by garden apartments.
- Drones for Development
Published on April 05, 2021 in Planning & Design
The pandemic has accelerated the use of contactless drones for comprehensive applications in real estate development.
- Solution File: A City Center at the Fringe
Published on November 16, 2020 in Planning & Design
A public/private partnership in Surrey, British Columbia, builds a mixed-use point city center near Vancouver.
- How to Build Livability—and Value—on a Deep, Narrow Infill Lot
Published on June 10, 2020 in Planning & Design
A tall mixed-use tower without parking replaces a small Philadelphia parking lot, while its multimodal urban passageway connects two streets.
- Bringing Mixed Uses—and Open Space—to a Multiple-Small-Block Development in Portland
Published on February 03, 2020 in Development
A Seattle developer pioneers a flexible process to bring live/work/make/eat/shop uses to a superblock site on Portland’s inner urban fringe.
- The Rise of Pop-up Hotels
Published on October 21, 2019 in Development
New, tech-based companies create temporary apartment hotels, monetize absorption vacancies, and stimulate urban mixed-use projects.
- Developers Reduce Parking via Car Sharing
Published on August 19, 2019 in Development
Incentivized by city parking policies, private developers provide fewer parking spaces or increase density in new projects.
- Housing Grows Taller with Light-Steel Construction
Published on May 20, 2019 in Planning & Design
A light-gauge steel structural system allows an apartment building to rise 12 stories above five parking levels in Atlanta.
- Steel Modules Speed Construction
Published on January 28, 2019 in Planning & Design
A San Francisco developer imports Chinese steel modules to install 22 units of graduate student housing in only four days.
- A Mass Timber Tower Rises in Portland
Published on November 19, 2018 in Sustainability
A novel condo development incorporates fully robotic parking and direct access to high-end units.
- Urbanizing a Former Naval Air Station in San Francisco Bay
Published on August 24, 2018 in Development
Over the past two decades, the form, face, and future of this former military installation have been emerging.
- Solution File: Retrofitting Arterial Strip Centers in Austin, Texas
Published on July 09, 2018 in Planning & Design
A national developer transforms a faded Texas strip center into a mixed-use place around a central urban street.
- Urbanizing the Town Center of Columbia, Maryland
Published on March 12, 2018 in Development
James Rouse’s visionary development is 50 years old. The process of urbanizing its town center may create a model for other suburban developments.
- From Brownfields to a New Transit-Oriented Downtown
Published on December 11, 2017 in Development
Public/private partnerships build a mixed-use, urban-scaled community in Union City, California.
- Putting Urban Housing into a Transforming Industrial Area
Published on July 10, 2017 in Development
International developer Hines turns an old factory site into transit-oriented urban housing near the terminus of Boston’s Red Line.
- Solar Array Yields Environmental—and Economic—Rewards
Published on May 26, 2017 in Sustainability
An office building in Palo Alto, California, benefits its city utility, university landowner, tenants, and the developer.
- Many Uses, Linked by One Vibrant Alley
Published on February 27, 2017 in Development
A Denver developer activates an alley to tie together a hotel, offices, food, and "maker" retail on the site of a former dairy.
- Northwestern Small Blocks: The History and Rationale Behind an Urban Model
Published on January 17, 2017 in Planning & Design
The scale of Portland’s and Vancouver’s small blocks sets patterns that solve multiple development problems and can be a contemporary model for developing urbane, walkable, and sustainable communities.
- Splitting Makes It Whole
Published on November 30, 2016 in Development
An architect splits an apartment complex in a small metropolitan town in the Pacific Northwest to capture views and make units private, urbane, and whole.
- From Suburban Office Park to a New Downtown in Florida
Published on July 27, 2016 in Development
A father/daughter development team is transforming an office park into a downtown for the city of Doral in the Miami suburbs.
- Radiating Resourcefulness
Published on July 11, 2016 in Development
A small Portland, Oregon, developer marshals a variety of resources to redevelop a city block with three creative office buildings fronting a city park.
- Combining—and Dividing—Uses at Portland’s Goat Blocks
Published on May 26, 2016 in Development
A developer uses suburban retail experience to craft a dense, mixed-use community in the heart of Portland’s Central Eastside.
- Placemaking on the Pike
Published on March 21, 2016 in Planning & Design
A national developer is transforming a former retail strip center in the Washington, D.C., suburbs into a dense, urban, mixed-use neighborhood.
- Retail Jewel Box Houses Fast Food in Rotterdam
Published on January 25, 2016 in Development
In Rotterdam, a fast-food tenant replaces an obstructive kiosk in a prominent location with a simple glass box that draws people—and sunlight—in.
- Incubating an International Marketplace
Published on November 23, 2015 in Economy, Market & Trends
A planner and an architect develop an international marketplace on a commercial strip in the middle-city area of Boise, Idaho.
- Making Walkable Townhouses Affordable for Millennials
Published on September 14, 2015 in Planning & Design
A Miami architect/developer conceives flexible, two-unit urban townhouses to make them more affordable—especially in the walkable, close-in urban neighborhoods that millennials prefer.
- Developing Resilient Waterfront Blocks
Published on July 20, 2015 in Development
Boston architects propose an elevated, connected network of buildings and services that would allow the land beneath to flood without destroying the community.
- Developing Private Accessory Dwellings
Published on June 26, 2015 in Development
Large homebuilders—and small-scale specialists—are coming up with ways to increase the supply of affordable and versatile accessory dwellings.
- Rethinking Private Accessory Dwellings
Published on March 06, 2015 in Planning & Design
Owners of detached single-family houses are finding ways to add accessory dwellings to their homes. Planners have only recently started to address the trend, crafting regulatory changes that can help PADs enrich the intergenerational fabric of communities.
- Universal Structures as Long-Term Sustainable Assets
Published on January 23, 2015 in Planning & Design
A Boston convention authority develops universally adaptable structures as long-term assets that can transition from parking to retail, office, hotel, housing, and entertainment uses.
- Flexible Parking Structures as Civic Catalysts
Published on November 24, 2014 in Infrastructure
A design challenge inspires a proposal for flexible parking structures that can house a range of uses—and spur mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
- Investing in a Live/Work Environment
Published on November 17, 2014 in Planning & Design
A couple transforms a defunct factory/warehouse and abandoned gas station into live/work units for lease—and a private art studio/home for themselves.
- Fee-Simple Small Lots Yield Urbane Density
Published on August 13, 2014 in Development
A Los Angeles developer and architect use a new small-lot ordinance to build single-family houses at a garden-apartment type of density.
- Avoiding Retail Vacancies with Flexible Retail/Residential Design
Published on June 16, 2014 in Planning & Design
Two Dallas suburban cities experiment with flexible retail or residential space designs to help urbanize their city centers.
- Courting Density
Published on April 28, 2014 in Planning & Design
Courtyard houses provide higher-density urban infill development, yet integrate privacy, transparency, security, accessibility, and economy.
- Dividing Blocks and Adding Vitality to Salt Lake City
Published on March 13, 2014 in Development
The development arm of the Mormon Church redevelops the urban heart of Salt Lake City, Utah, with a new, large-scale, integrated mixed-use concept.
- Clustering Micro-Restaurants
Published on January 01, 2014 in Development
A Portland, Oregon, architect/developer transforms a car dealership into an experimental pedestrian-oriented cluster of micro-restaurants.
- Saved by the Grid
Published on November 19, 2013 in Residential/Multifamily
An isolated, crime-ridden, half-empty public housing enclave is being transformed into a mixed-income, higher-density neighborhood newly connected to San Francisco's urban grid.
- Intergenerational Ingenuity: Mixing Age Groups in Affordable Housing
Published on August 28, 2013 in Residential/Multifamily
Age segregation is a silent and growing problem in the United States of the 21st century. In Portland, Oregon, a nonprofit organization has built an urban solution that addresses the problem of age segregation while brightening the prospects of families who adopt children out of the foster care system.
- Scaling Up with the Honeycomb Prefab System
Published on July 10, 2013 in Planning & Design
Where others have failed, triangle-based modular wood structures may achieve manufacturing economies for commercial and residential uses.
- A Public University/Private REIT Partnership in Portland
Published on May 01, 2013 in Economy, Market & Trends
A fast-growing urban university partners with an equity REIT to add student housing—along with academic and retail space.
- University Unites Uptown
Published on February 20, 2013 in Mixed-Use
A new public/private, mixed-use Uptown project unites celebrated but disparate institutions in Cleveland’s University Circle district.
- City as Master Developer
Published on December 10, 2012 in Development
A newly incorporated suburb near Salt Lake City takes on the challenge of becoming master developer of its new urban heart.
- Greening the Big Blue Box
Published on October 26, 2012 in Sustainability
A compact new Denver IKEA uses geothermal and solar energy, coupled with parking ramp conveyors, to create a more land- and energy-efficient alternative to sprawling big-box stores.
- Multiblock Underground Shared Parking
Published on August 23, 2012 in Planning & Design
Contiguous underground, shared parking can be a critical stimulus for horizontal mixed-use density.
- Infill Office, Outsize Impact
Published on August 08, 2012 in Planning & Design
A seven-story infill office building with a dramatic facade on a tiny downtown fringe site in Portland, Oregon, anchors the regeneration of an arcaded district.
- Building Flexibility into Mixed-Use Projects
Published on May 31, 2012 in Development
Museum Place, a large-scale infill development on an 11-acre (4.5 ha) site assembled in the cultural district of Fort Worth, Texas, is designed to knit 11 new structures into a finer-grained urban fabric of streets to connect to nearby museums and surrounding uses so it can flexibly mix offices, retail space, hotel space, and housing.
- Regeneration through an Urban Food Factory
Published on March 29, 2012 in Sustainability
A sustainably designed, adaptive-use, urban food factory in Portland, Oregon, helps a neighborhood suffering urban decay, foreclosures, and job losses.
- Collaborative Life Sciences Complex
Published on October 04, 2011 in Economy, Market & Trends
A $295 million shared education and research facility for four universities in downtown Portland, Oregon, is intended to address a long list of objectives in one facility. Read about the many opportunities for both physical and financial savings created by co-locating programs from the universities, and the method devised to allocate space annually among the facility’s constituent institutions.
- Independent Housing Cooperatives
Published on August 23, 2011 in Residential/Multifamily
Portland, Oregon, developer Mark Desbrow formed Green Light Development to pioneer a 45-unit independent living cooperative, called the Sheldon Cooperative. Read about some of the advantages the independent cooperative housing model offers buyers, as well as developers, compared with the more traditional models and services offered by condominiums.
- Integrating Modern with Historic
Published on November 05, 2010 in Planning & Design
Developing modern buildings adjacent to historic icons can present unique challenges—especially in an area of downtown San Francisco with an active historic preservation community. Learn how a developer solved the puzzle of a San Francisco site by integrating a historic building with its modern neighbors to create a single structure with three parts.
- Ultracompact Minimodules
Published on October 01, 2010 in Planning & Design
Vancouver, British Columbia, architect Michael Katz has produced a modular system at only 220 square feet (20 sq m). In an effort to make the L41 sustainable, affordable, and innovative, Katz chose to construct the unit using cross-laminated timber (CLT), a new wood building product. The L41 home is designed as a studio house for one person or one couple. The L41 was manufactured by Ledcor, a large Vancouver-based contractor, in three modules that were shipped on a flatbed truck to the site and assembled in less than a day.
- Modular Net-Zero-Energy Townhouses
Published on August 01, 2010 in Sustainability
U.S. architects are experimenting with designing net-zero-energy buildings—those that produce as much energy as they consume. Developers around the world are building modular housing to speed construction, reduce on-site labor expenses, and lower development costs. Now, an off-site systems building manufacturer has developed the first modular net-zero-energy townhouses as a demonstration project in Oakland, California.
- Cargo Containers as Commercial Space
Published on January 01, 2010 in Sustainability
Reuse of cargo containers as building blocks in a small Seattle hybrid commercial building helps contain costs and speed construction.