Latest News from Seifel Consulting Inc.


This year’s annual conference of California’s Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA California) brought together members of the planning community to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects that are changing the landscape of California’s communities.

With the recent loss of redevelopment in California, local communities must plan for the reuse of public properties without having access to many tools that were formerly available to facilitate development. In addition, members of the planning community find themselves having to assume economic development responsibilities that were previously assigned to their redevelopment agencies. The session "Brave New World: Developing Public Property Without Redevelopment” explored strategies being used by California communities to successfully develop public properties in a manner consistent with local planning goals. Session panelists Barbara Kautz and Rafael Yaquian (Goldfarb & Lipman), Kevin Keller (City of Los Angeles) and Libby Seifel presented proven techniques that local agencies can use to maximize their ability to redevelop these properties while examining the legal constraints on their use. (Click here for full presentation, including the handout "Top Ten Best Practice Tips for Development Deals".)

California communities are also approaching development and neighborhood revitalization in ways that can enhance local cultural heritage. The session "When Property Values Attack: A Planning Tool for Combating the Loss of Intangible Heritage" showcased the Japantown Cultural Heritage and Economic Sustainability Strategy (known as JCHESS, full report available here), which came out of a collaborative effort among San Francisco’s Japantown community, the City of San Francisco and local non-profits. JCHESS outlines strategies for preserving and enhancing Japantown’s cultural heritage and all that makes Japantown unique. The session featured Ruth Todd and Christina Dikas (Page & Turnbull), Shelley Caltagirone (San Francisco Planning Department), Desiree Smith (of San Francisco Heritage), and Libby Seifel, all of whom contributed to JCHESS. The session examined how the elements of Japantown’s heritage were documented (through the development of a Social Heritage Inventory Form) and contributed to the development of an economic incentives toolkit to help identify, prioritize, and incentivize the preservation of cultural and social heritage. (Click here for full presentation.)


Cities across the globe need to develop stronger, more adaptive environments to meet the challenges of an increasingly volatile climate that threatens intensified storm seasons and rising sea levels. To encourage resilience efforts worldwide, the Urban Land Institute will hold “Building the Resilient City” this September in San Francisco. The conference will bring together real estate professionals and thought leaders on climate change to share best practices on how cities and new development can become more resilient in ways that improve public spaces, add value, and minimize risk.

ULI’s chairman, Lynn Thurber, of LaSalle Investment Management, and ULI San Francisco District Chair, Jeff Smith, of Sack Properties, will open the conference and provide their perspectives on building resilient cities. Harriet Tregoning, new director of the HUD’s Office of Economic Resilience, will discuss the role of the federal government in creating resilient cities, and Henk Ovink will present best practices learned from Rebuild by Design, an initiative of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and HUD that is spurring development and policy innovations in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Margaret Davidson, who leads NOAA’s coastal inundation and resilience efforts, will present latest insights into climate change's impact and the importance of linking data, technology and sustainable coastal development practices.

On Friday morning of the conference, we will explore how world cities are leveraging natural ecosystems to create multifunctional, protective open spaces that also help catalyze new private development and economic growth. Sarah Slaughter, Executive Director of the Built Environment Coalition, will moderating the session Getting More Bang for the Buck: Leveraging Green Infrastructure to Create Value and Reduce Risk" and will be joined by distinguished panelists Thomas Woltz of Nelson Byrd Woltz, Karen Kubick of San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, and Bry Sarte of Sherwood Design Engineers.

Please join us on this interactive panel as we discuss ground-breaking projects that create value, mitigate risk, and elevate green design to the next level.

Building the Resilient City” will take place Thursday and Friday, September 4 and 5, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco. Registration information is available here

Libby Seifel is serving on the ULI conference planning committee and is coordinating the session “Getting More Bang for the Buck” in collaboration with John McIlwain of ULI and Claire Bonham-Carter of AECOM.

"There is no finish line. Resilience is an ongoing process."
-Yukimoto Ito, vice mayor of Sendai, speaking after the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.

 


The “sharing economy,” also known as the collaborative economy or peer economy, has grown from informal connections between people who share what they already have—cars, homes, tools, skills–to an emerging, multi-billion dollar business sector that is facilitating millions of “collaborative consumption” transactions across the globe each day. Utilizing technology and social media to connect suppliers and consumers, companies such as Airbnb, City CarShare, Lyft, RelayRides, Shareable, Taskrabbit, Vayable, ZipCar— many of whom are headquartered in San Francisco—are also creating an increasing number of jobs and economic benefits to the local economy.

San Francisco recently announced the nation’s first-ever policy group aimed at evaluating the economic benefits, key players, and emerging policy issues surrounding the growing “sharing economy”. Headed by Mayor Ed Lee and comprised of Board of Supervisors President David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell, Jane Kim, and Scott Wiener the group will consider the implications of the sharing economy on San Francisco. “The Sharing Economy is promoting sustainability and creating new economic opportunities for San Franciscans across the socio-economic spectrum,” says Chiu. “It’s time for San Francisco to take a comprehensive look at our existing laws and regulations to consider this innovative new economy’s benefits while addressing real community impacts and concerns.”

On Tuesday, June 10, San Francisco Planning & Urban Research (SPUR) and Airbnb presented an evening discussion “Empowering the Local Economy”, hosted by Airbnb and sponsored by the Koret Foundation. This sold-out event featured five panelists—including Seifel President Libby Seifel—who explored how policymakers and citizens alike are taking part in this new manifestation of local economic activation. Panelists included:

  • Event moderator Diana Lind serves as Executive Director & Editor in Chief of Next City, a nonprofit media organization dedicated to inspiring social, economic and environmental change in cities through daily online content, a weekly series of investigative articles (Forefront), and various outreach initiatives.
  • Janet Lees, Senior Director at SFMade, a San Francisco-based non-profit focused on building San Francisco’s economic base through development of the local manufacturing sector, engaging with entrepreneurs and growing small companies while offering technical assistance and connecting companies to powerful local resources.
  • Anita Roth, Head of Policy Research at Airbnb, the San Francisco-based community marketplace for accommodations worldwide, connecting travelers in more than 34,000 cities and 190 countries.
  • Milicent Johnson, Director of Partnerships and Community Building at Peers, a member-driven organization that supports the sharing economy movement.

Libby Seifel spoke to the implications and opportunities that the sharing economy has for San Francisco, how this new economic activity makes use of “surplus capacity", and ways in which San Francisco can respond to the changing nature of the local economy. Libby also pointed to SPUR's The Urban Future of Work for its exploration of strategies for expanding San Francisco's economy while focusing on sustainability.

More on this SPUR event is available here.

Collaborative consumption is reinventing the way we live–and San Francisco is at the epicenter of the movement. This has the potential to be a source of great economic strength, as we translate our urban efficiency and creativity into new tools that the rest of the country can benefit from.
-Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director, SPUR


The May 9 Legislative Policy Breakfast, hosted by Housing Leadership Council (HLC) brought together advocates and experts alike to share best practice tips and advocacy ideas for affordable housing in San Mateo County. Since 2001, HLC has supported the creation and preservation of well designed, sensibly located housing for a range of income levels through collaboration with a range of San Mateo County partners (local governments, non-profit organizations and businesses).
State Senator Jerry Hill (California Senate, 13th District) and Marina Wiant (of California Housing Consortium) shared insights into State and National legislation that could provide funding for affordable housing and enhance housing production, leading discussion on why some legislation would likely become law while others might not. Senator Hill and Ms. Wiant emphasized the need for continued, coordinated advocacy (by groups like HLC) to make the case for why a diverse spectrum of housing is critical to future success of California.
Phillip Kilbridge (CEO at Habitat for Humanity Greater San Francisco) presented a lively overview of the trials and tribulations of local developers who have had to go “Light & Fit”, learning how to develop in the face of declining revenues. Libby Seifel provided a fast paced overview of current housing financing tools available to communities (in post-Redevelopment California) with particular focus on the challenges and opportunities of using Infrastructure Financing Districts (IFDs) to help fund development. Libby asked audience members to review recommendations from her recent volunteer effort with ULI to promote new funding tools and strategies for infill development and affordable housing in California. ULI recently described affordable housing as one of the central elements to building healthy places in its Ten Principles of Building Healthy Places, and Libby offered ideas about how to promote this concept more broadly throughout San Mateo County.

"The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and...give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity."
- Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities


The new tools of economic development and creation of sustainable and healthy communities in post-Redevelopment California took center stage at the Cal-ALHFA’s recent conference "Reinvention: 2014". Taking guidance from ULI’s December 2013 report After Redevelopment, New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities, Libby Seifel joined fellow report contributors to present on innovative techniques being used locally, regionally, and at the state level to stimulate housing and mixed use development. Through focused presentations and lively round table discussion, their session “Reinventing Redevelopment: New Tools for Housing and Sustainable Communities” explored recommendations and strategies posited in the ULI report.


On April 8, Libby spoke to members of Victoria, British Columbia’s chapter of the Urban Development Institute (UDI)on what creates value in real estate. Her presentation, “Leveraging Value to Create Great Places”, explored real-world examples of development happening in our very own city: the Transbay Transit Center District and Mission Bay. Looking at the value premiums created by transit, open space, and other neighborhood amenities, Libby shared with UDI members insight into the costs of development and the value creation of these and similar transit-focused and sustainable communities. 

In spring of last year, UDI members paid a visit to San Francisco to observe some of the exciting projects currently underway in our City. With Seifel staff as their guide, UDI members were able to get a behind-the-scenes look at the Transbay project before heading out to a tour of Mission Bay

UDI is a non-profit association of the development industry in British Columbia, whose members include individuals and organizations involved in all facets of development and land-use planning. UDI is actively involved in government relations, professional development and education, and research. Committed to working with communities and governments to create and achieve balanced, well-planned, and sustainable communities, UDI works to promote efficient urban growth, good planning and good development practices, affordable housing, and high quality commercial and industrial developments. More information on UDI is available here.


To remain globally competitive, cities around the world are expanding their transit networks and encouraging the development of dense urban neighborhoods. The Bay Area is one of the world’s most robust economies and San Francisco is emerging as a major hub for many rapidly expanding technology and knowledge service companies. In the recent publication Transbay Transit Center: Key Investment in San Francisco’s Future as a World Class City, the Transbay Joint Powers Authority hails the Transbay Transit Center, considered the “Grand Central of the West,” as one of San Francisco’s most important investments to assure long term success in an increasingly global economy. (A copy of Transbay Transit Center is available here.)

A public private partnership, the Transbay project, is transforming downtown San Francisco by creating a landmark multi-modal transit hub and a vibrant, walkable, transit-oriented development neighborhood featuring more than 11 acres of parks, public plazas, retail, and tree-lined streets. The improved transit access, public spaces, and neighborhood amenities provided by the project are projected to add $3.9 billion to the value of private property located within ¾ mile of the Transit Center. Additionally, redevelopment of public properties once occupied by the former Transbay Transit Terminal and abandoned freeway ramps is projected to stimulate over $4 billion in new development, much of which is already underway, including the 1.3 million square foot Transbay Transit Tower and more than 1,200 mixed-income residential units.

Research demonstrates that knowledge-service businesses thrive best in a compact, transit-rich environment. Better transit connectivity will help expand the regional labor market and make it easier for workers to reach jobs. Moreover, the use of transit instead of cars will foster increased physical activity, promote healthier living, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions by removing thousands of vehicles from our streets and highways. Regionally, the Bay Area will benefit from the creation of approximately 8,300 construction job years, 27,000 permanent jobs, and up to $87 billion in gross regional product through 2030.

For more on the Transbay Transit Center and its development, click here.

Seifel prepared Transbay Transit Center on behalf of the TJPA to highlight the numerous economic benefits that the Transbay Project will bring to San Francisco and the Bay Area region. In collaboration with The Concord Group, Seifel prepared the economic analysis of value premiums from transit, open space, and neighborhood amenities from the Transbay project.

Above construction photo credit: Patricia Chang


For over 100 years, the Japantown neighborhood has been the cultural heart for the Japanese community of San Francisco and the Bay Area region.  At the same time, Japantown has endured numerous challenges to its physical and economic environment. Over the last four years through San Francisco’s Better Neighborhoods planning process, community stakeholders have articulated their vision for Japantown’s future and recommended cultural and economic strategies to achieve this vision. The Japantown Cultural Resources and Economic Sustainability Strategy (JCHESS) is the result of this process to articulate community concerns, identify cultural resources in the area, and deploy public policies and funding tools to preserve and enhance cultural assets.

 

The upcoming 1/28/14 SPUR forum will present JCHESS, the first of its kind in the nation. Hear important lessons for other communities within San Francisco and beyond.

 

Seifel Consulting served as economic consultants assisting the City in creating a compendium of economic and other tools to help support the preservation and enhancement of cultural resources.

 

Details on the SPUR session located here.


Blogger Markasaurus asks in a recent post, “Why can’t developers build housing in San Francisco for the people who need it most instead of for the rich?” The price of housing in San Francisco is skyrocketing. An upcoming SPUR forum will address the question: why is it so expensive to build housing in San Francisco?

 

Panelists will examine the component costs of bringing housing to market and discuss how predevelopment costs, delays, and requirements for additional studies and parking factor into the cost equation. The session will conclude with a deliberation on what can be done to drive down land costs and change construction practices, as well as what local government’s role—if any—is in cost reduction.

 

Architect Mark “Markasaurus” Hogan will present his recent analysis on housing costs. Panelist Libby Seifel will compare housing costs to costs in other communities and present findings from the Inclusionary Housing Financial Analysis Report her firm prepared for the San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing. Daniel Murphy of Urban Green DevCo and Blair Allison of Cahill Contractors will present developer and contractor perspectives on housing cost. 


Details on SPUR session.

 


The San Francisco District Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI), in conjunction with the four other ULI California district councils, recently issued a report recommending a comprehensive set of tools to promote economic development and build sustainable and healthy communities. “In light of the demise of redevelopment in California in 2012, we need leadership at all levels of government to put in place a more flexible set of tools, without creating a financial burden on the state or other taxing agencies” said Elliot Stein, executive director of the ULI San Francisco District Council.

At the top of the list of recommended tools in the report “After Redevelopment: New Tools and Strategies to Promote Economic Development and Build Sustainable Communities” are the ability to assemble sites and negotiate sales, use tax increment financing on a voluntary basis by affected taxing agencies, and deploy these tools with local control, flexibility, and accountability. “One critical ‘fix’ needed is for housing,” said report co-author Joseph E. Coomes of Best & Krieger, Sacramento. “California's population is growing faster than the supply of housing. In particular, the amount of multifamily housing, which is more affordable to the state’s workforce and growing senior population, is not keeping pace. Access to affordable housing, job opportunities and quality education are critical components of any economic development strategy.” The report provides a series of targeted recommendations and calls for future discussion with State officials and key stakeholders on how to best deploy new tools in 2014.

Libby Seifel volunteered on ULI’s working group and served as the lead editor on the report (available here).


The issuance and disclosure of tax allocation bond (TAB) debt since the dissolution of redevelopment has brought challenges to communities throughout California, ranging from difficulty obtaining accurate project area information to lack of guidance regarding important issues like tax increment limitations. To aid city and county staff who are at the front lines of bond issues, the California Redevelopment Association (CRA) presented training workshops in Southern and Northern California, led by leading experts and practitioners, to provide an in-depth look at TAB bond administration, refunding and continuing disclosure issues.

David McEwen, partner at Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth, led the first panel: “Existing Bonds: Fitting the Square Peg into a Round Hole,” featuring presentations by Barbara Boswell, Finance Director for the City of Lancaster, and Seifel Consulting President Libby Seifel. Their session presented recommended best practices regarding how to assure sufficient revenues are available to meet bond obligations through the ROPS process, legal requirements for the use of existing bond proceeds, and what to do when the IRS comes knocking.

Other issues covered during the workshop included:

  • How State legislation has impacted tax allocation bonds and how these new legal requirements apply at the local level
  • What it takes to market tax allocation bonds in this changing environment
  • How the State Department of Finance and County Auditor Controllers evaluate bond obligations
  • How to prepare necessary technical reports including fiscal consultant and disclosure reports
  • What are the current bond disclosure policies and consequences of reporting failure, particularly given recent SEC scrutiny
  • What are the pros and cons of bond refunding

Workshop luncheon speaker Brent Hawkins, Partner at Best Best & Krieger LLP provided an update on the latest developments on State legislation and pending legal cases related to redevelopment. Joseph (Joe) Coomes and Libby Seifel also presented the findings from ULI’s upcoming publication on new tools and strategies to promote economic development and build sustainable communities.


The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recognized its San Francisco District Council for providing six successful training sessions that taught the basics of real estate finance and development, how to structure successful public-private partnerships and strategies to accomplish new projects in a post redevelopment world to a broad range of San Francisco staff. As Jon Lau, Project Manager for SF OEWD, summarized of the impact of ULI’s training,

“The sessions were packed with critical information. As participants, we are developing a better understanding of the building blocks necessary to evaluate project feasibility and gaining exposure to criteria relied upon for marketplace decision making, and it is valuable to gain insight on the thought process directly from developers.”

The sessions achieved the two key purposes of the ULI Innovation Grant that helped fund the training:
1) provide tools to public agency staff to elicit the best quality from the private sector and 2) help strengthen relationships and collaboration across City departments. 

Libby Seifel in collaboration with Landon Browning of Lennar Corporation developed the training materials and taught the first three sessions on the basics of real estate finance and development.


Now more than ever, California communities must creatively leverage and build upon their core strengths to catalyze great places. Research demonstrates that property values are higher in well-planned communities that are near parks and open space and where residents and workers have convenient access to high quality public transit.

Each year, the California Chapter of the American Planning Association (Cal APA) organizes a statewide conference to share best practices and recognize award-winning projects. This October, Bill Anderson, APA President and AECOM Principal, Richard Bruckner, LA County’s Director of Regional Planning, and Kearstin Dischinger, Senior Community Development Specialist at San Francisco Planning Department, participated in a Cal APA panel moderated by Libby Seifel to discuss how Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Diego and San Francisco have capitalized on these key property value drivers to capture and then reinvest revenues back in to their downtowns and neighborhoods through property tax increment and development impact fees. Their presentation, “Leveraging Value: Planning and Funding Strategies to Catalyze Great Places” discusses how “parking diets” and “street diets” improve the overall health of residents while fostering healthier project economics, which in turn lead to better development.

For more information, visit Cal APA here.


How do communities highlight their best assets to attract and retain business? A key first step is the identification of the community’s core strengths and their competitive advantages in relationship to how businesses decide where to locate.

A second critical component to economic development is developing a "customer centric" orientation that emphasizes better communication and rapport with business owners and their representatives.

A second critical component to economic development is developing a "customer centric" orientation that emphasizes better communication and rapport with business owners and their representatives.

At the League of California Cities’ Annual Conference, held September 19, Libby Seifel facilitated the lively workshop discussion “Economic Development: Spotlighting Assets in Your Community to Attract & Retain New Business". Fellow panelists included Robert Gilmore, Land Use and Economic Development Consultant with MuniServices, and Damian McKinney, Founder & CEO of The McKinney Advisory Group. Joining Libby, Rob, and Damian were elected officials and city staff.

The basics of hospitality can be a key ingredient to attracting new jobs, as Damian McKinney explains. Sharing a personal experience, Damian tells the story of a homemade dinner at the house of Town’s Mayor, of how a relaxed and supportive environment led to honest and insightful conversation on Town growth opportunities, and how this eventually led to the development of a major business in town.

Rob Gilmore noted how communities need a proactive economic development strategy that includes a focused work plan with prioritized action steps to be done on a quarterly and annual basis. Audience members also shared “best practice” experience from their own communities, including examples of how they help communities work together to establish a shared vision, conducting workshops with local business community members to identify actions steps, and developing key metrics to measure success.

The word 'hospitality' in the New Testament comes from two Greek words. The first word means 'love' and the second word means 'strangers.' It's a word that means love of strangers. - Nancy Leigh DeMoss


In 2013, the Bay Area’s nine counties completed a regional plan called Plan Bay Area that aligns with California’s 2008 state land use and climate change laws (SB  375). SPUR has long advocated for a regional plan and provided key input throughout the Plan Bay Area adoption process, conducting related analyses on how to promote better regional planning and build a stronger Bay Area economy. Highlights of SPUR’s contributions include:

The economic challenges to building a strong regional economy is compounded by the reality that middle-income jobs in the Bay Area are becoming scarcer as more and more job growth takes place at the high and low ends of the wage spectrum. SPUR is collaborating with a group of partners to help expand economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income Bay Area residents through its work on the Economic Prosperity Strategy, a key initiative of One Bay Area.

For the 2013 Index of Silicon Valley, SPUR wrote a special analysis on the economic benefits of governing the Bay Area as if it were a single economic region. The analysis focused on issues are difficult to address at the local level (limited housing production, fragmented transit delivery systems, job sprawl, fiscal inequities and climate change) and recommended potential strategies to address them.

As the Bay Area economy began to improve, SPUR reported in its publication The Urban Future of Work that knowledge sector firms are embracing the benefits of urbanism and relocating to San Francisco and other transit accessible Bay Area cities because these companies recognize the locational advantages of being close to suppliers, collaborators, and urban amenities desired by their employees.

SPUR’s Regional Policy Board advises on SPUR’s regional planning endeavors and Libby Seifel chairs this Board for SPUR.


How do you make the urban core a more vibrant place to live, work, and play? Members of the Urban Revitalization Council of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) discussed ways to catalyze investment and development in the urban core, the demographic factors that influence the popularity of urban living, and how different sectors of the real estate market are currently thriving in the urban core. Featured alongside fellow urbanists James Moore, Janet Protas, Claudia Sieb, and Charles Werhane, Libby Seifel provided insight into using a combination of public and private resources to bring an area back from deterioration.
“The last mile from transit is critical," Libby says."People want pedestrian- and bike-friendly paths between housing and the transit stop. Urban core areas that are able to achieve this will be extremely successful.”

 

Click here for further insightful strategies provided by ULI urbanists.

 


Silicon Valley, the heart of California’s technology hub, is perceived as a desirable place to live and work. However, many of the workers who keep Silicon Valley’s economic engine moving forward are unable to afford homes in the very communities in which they work.

NPH and Urban Habitat recently published Moving Silicon Valley Forward – Housing, Transit and Traffic at a Crossroad, a report that explores the economic, housing, and transportation challenges in Silicon Valley.

Moving Silicon Valley Forward shows that “contrary to popular perception, the average commuter into Silicon Valley is not the highly paid technology worker. More than 45 percent of in-commuters into San Mateo County earn less than $40,000 per year.”

Enduring longer commutes leaves lower-to-middle income workers with little money to cover other essential costs of living. Longer commutes also contribute to congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. Moving Silicon Valley Forward outlines crucial next steps to help preserve and develop affordable housing (particularly near transit), improve transit funding and service, and incentivize transit use by workers and residents.

Seifel Consulting, in collaboration with Nelson/Nygaard, provided economic, demographic and transit research for the report (available here).

 


In response to record growth in San Francisco’s downtown in the mid-1980s, San Francisco created the Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program to preserve the City’s “unique historic, architectural and aesthetic character.” The TDR program allows property owners to transfer unused development potential from a preservation property to other properties to ultimately be used on a development property in order to increase allowable gross floor area above what would otherwise be allowed. For the past three decades, the TDR program has helped the City to accommodate growth downtown while providing owners of historic buildings with incentives to maintain cultural resources.

The San Francisco Planning Department retained the Seifel Consulting team to conduct a comprehensive review of the City’s existing TDR program and make recommendations about how best to implement it in the future, including whether to certify TDR on City owned public buildings. Seifel was asked to analyze the impact of the potential sale of TDR from public properties on the TDR market.

The Seifel team completed a comprehensive review of the City’s existing TDR program and policies, and conducted in-depth analysis on the Planning Department’s database used to track TDR certification, transfer and use. It assessed the historical pace of TDR activity, key market factors in TDR transactions, and the value of TDR to the real estate development community. To provide insight into program implementation, as well the TDR market and pricing, the team interviewed brokers and other stakeholders involved in the TDR market and prepared case studies on specific TDR transactions in San Francisco. Finally, the team researched historic preservation-related TDR programs in other cities.

Click here for a copy of the Seifel team's TDR Study, included in the July 2013 San Francisco Planning staff report.


While transit-oriented development (TOD) projects are being encouraged throughout the nation, limited financial resources are available to catalyze their development. The Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund (TOAH Fund) is an innovative $50 million public-private financing resource that provides up-front funding to catalyze the development of affordable housing, valuable community services, and other neighborhood assets near transit lines throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The TOAH Fund was created by a collaboration of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC), its partner regional planning agency (ABAG), and a dedicated core of nonprofit organizations. MTC has been at the forefront of promoting TOD in the Bay Area, and it provided the initial $10 million in seed capital that serves as the first of five components in the capital stack. According to a Fund Sponsor, “Convening a diversity of players in the affordable housing community and having partners with a high level of trust, competency and a shared understanding of goals and the need to distribute investments regionally was critical in the Fund’s formation.” To date, the Fund has awarded financing to four projects: Eddy and Taylor Family Housing (San Francisco), 5th and Howard (San Francisco), Leigh Avenue Senior Apartments (San Jose), and West Grand Development (Oakland).

The TOAH Fund, with LISC, retained Seifel and ICF International to provide program evaluation and implementation consulting services for the TOAH Fund. Their analysis is available here.

More on the TOAH fund and its mission can be found here.


Housing California’s Annual Conference, the nation’s largest annual conference on affordable housing and homelessness, gathers together advocates, consumers, builders, lenders, lawmakers, and other leaders in the field. Here, more than 75 workshops, pre-conference institutes, and over 50 exhibitors showcase their knowledge on the interrelated topics of resources for development for sustainable communities and affordable housing. In April, Libby Seifel joined Lynn Hutchins of Goldfarb & Lipman, Kara Douglas of Contra Costa County, Linda Mandolini of Eden Housing, and Johanna Gullick of Union Bank to engage with participants on the use of former redevelopment properties. Their presentation ("Former RDA Properties: Key Resource for Building Sustainable Homes and Communities") examines case studies and best practices in the development of long-range property management plans.

Click here for a copy of "Former RDA Properties: Key Resource for Building Sustainable Homes and Communities".


"We are at an exciting tipping point in the US. More people than ever are walking and bicycling in our communities. Elected leaders and businesses are realizing the value of investing in active transportation. And we’ve seen cities small and large across the country pioneering ideas like Bike Share, bike boulevards, and open streets projects that turn pavement into places for recreation and fun." - Pro Walk/Pro Bike

 Pro Walk/Pro Bike, the leading international conference on walking and bicycling, offers more than 100 program sessions, mobile workshops, and problem-solving workshops bringing together non-auto-centric transportation enthusiasts, including planners, engineers, civic leaders, government officials, public health professionals, architects, and landscape architects.

Held in sunny Long Beach, the 2012 Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference offered attendees the opportunity to network with like-minded enthusiasts, workshops, and sessions to help build coalitions, create planning initiatives and designs, and foster ways to grow the political support and funding needed to catalyze active transportation.

"Long Beach has embraced walking and bicycling as tools to improve its economic vitality, its quality-of-life, and as a way to ensure all residents are connected to a just and equitable transportation system."

- Pro Walk/Pro Bike

At the September 2012 conference, Libby Seifel joined the session "New Challenges, Tools, and Opportunities in Planning for Healthy Transportation” led by Jeremy Nelson (Principal at NelsonNygaard Transportation Consulting Associates). The panel also included Arfaraz Khambatta (Director of Access Consulting at Sally Swanson Architects Inc.), Heath Maddox (Senior Planner, Livable Streets Subdivision at San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency), and Jean Fraser (Chief at San Mateo County Health System).

Using successful case studies and lessons learned from communities of all sizes, the panel explored some of the challenges and opportunities in the development of healthier active transportation systems, prompting discussion on planning, outreach, and funding tools to inform planning enthusiasts of practical techniques to help in the implementation of healthy transportation policies and programs for California communities.

The National Center for Bicycling & Walking, a program of Project for Public Spaces, established the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference in 1980. More on Pro Walk/Pro Bike and upcoming events can be found here.


On Monday, May 14, Libby Seifel joined leaders in local government, housing policy, and community economic development to conduct a panel discussion at East Bay Housing Organization's (EBHO) event "Life After Redevelopment: The Future of Affordable Housing and Community Revitalization".


Moderated by Rick Williams, Partner at Van Meter Williams Pollack, this panel presented ideas on what the next steps are for financing sources at the local, regional and state level. Joining Libby and Rick in this engaging discussion were: Anu Natarajan, Vice Mayor, City of Fremont; Linda Mandolini, Executive Director, Eden Housing; Laura Simpson, Housing Division Manager, City of Walnut Creek; and Kara Douglas, Affordable Housing Program Manager, Contra Costa County.
Session information is here.


While 2011 saw the signing of two bills into law by Governor Jerry Brown, both affecting redevelopment agencies throughout California, affordable housing advocates and others in the development community scrambled to figure out what the future of public financing strategies would look like in post-redevelopment California.

A recent Urban Land Institute article focused on the challenges that the loss of redevelopment has brought to infill developers, particularly affordable housing developers.

"We are very concerned about the lack of affordable housing funds this will create,” says Cynthia Parker, president and chief executive officer of BRIDGE Housing, a nonprofit organization in San Francisco. “We have about 30 projects that include redevelopment money, and last year we spent a fair amount of time getting commitments in place as part of the enforceable obligations of the agency. So we have plenty of work that will be started in the next two years. But beyond that, everything becomes quite murky.”

City visionaries and infill developers across California are searching for public financing solutions and strategies to encourage new development in urban areas. In the article, Libby speaks to the possibility of alternative funding sources, particularly infrastructure financing districts (IFDs), which would allow cities and counties to issue bonds to pay for public works projects and to then use property tax increment revenues to pay back the bonds.

“Most cities in California receive only a small share of property taxes that could be dedicated to bond repayment, after excluding property taxes from educational districts,” says Libby. “And right now, if 12 or more registered voters reside within the proposed district, approval from two-thirds of all voters in the district [is required].” 

A senate bill under consideration in early 2012 would extend the deadline for the redevelopment handover process from February 1 to April 15. “There are complicated issues to resolve related to bonds and contractual obligations, including obligations to employees and their unions,” Libby continues. “A number of agreements and projects are jeopardized. More legal guidance and time [are] needed to work out the implementation details.”

Urban Land is a publication of the Urban Land Institute. More information is available here.


On July 21, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) presented a one day conference in Oakland, CA  for all its CPD and competitive grantees. Similar HUD conferences took place throughout the nation to seek innovations and collaborative solutions to the deployment of HUD programs.

Libby Seifel and Marie Munson presented "Spotlight on Redevelopment - AB1X 26 & 27: What You Need to Know". Check out the presentation here.

 


On May 18 - 20, Libby Seifel will be joining the ULI Spring Council Forum in Phoenix. Per ULI, this year's summit looks to "bring together top decision-makers and industry experts to discuss the future of real estate and how individuals and companies can successfully adapt for what is coming."

More information on this year's summit is available at http://www.ulispring.org/