NEWSREVIEW.pngIssue 30/December 2014

Our mission is to bring together resources to achieve Coeur d’Alene’s vision of a diverse, sustainable community with healthy neighborhoods, a vibrant central city, a strong regional economy, sustainable, superior public open spaces, and quality jobs and housing for all.


Four Corners Master Plan

For those out of the loop, or as a review; the Four Corners is unofficially designated as the underdeveloped land that generally stretches from Riverstone to Independence Point along Northwest Boulevard. Portions of the proposed plan encompass City Park, Memorial Ball Field, the current site of the North Idaho Museum, the Human Rights Education building, Mullan Ave., and the parking lot at Independence Point. Overall, it encompasses about 40 acres, 29 of which are owned by the Bureau of Land Management. The Four Corners area is mostly located within LCDC’s Lake District, and LCDC has partnered with the City of Coeur d’Alene to fund 75% of the cost for this Master Planning effort.

Open-House-1.pngMost recently, a public openhouse, showcasing the Master Plan’s concept drawings in the Community Room of the Public Library was held on December 3, 2014. From all accounts, it was very well received.  After a brief presentation, attendees visited six display stations representing sections of the Four Corners Corridor, and had the opportunity to ask questions, and directly discuss the plans with members of the design team and steering committee. Representatives from various stakeholder groups were also on hand offering their views on the proposed plans.

The Master Plan allows for future growth, by at some point in time, adding a new structural element to the back of the existing Human Rights Education building to house a reimagined North Idaho Museum. Also, space for the possible installation of CdA’s original wooden carousel, should these nonprofit organizations be able to create funding for their projects at a later date. Dell Hatch described it as “doing it al-la-carte for organizations that are currently underfunded”.

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Phil Boyd of Welch Comer Engineers is working on the Four Corners project and stated


"Really what it's looking at is the highest and best use for the pieces of property that are in the planning area," said Boyd.


Parking at Independence Point is of high interest to many stakeholders. Three concepts depict various parking scenarios.  All concepts allow for a direct handicap route to the water, a 96 foot turn-around for fire trucks, and designated handicap and senior parking.

Rotating the Memorial ball field diamond to allow for the addition of a soccer field without affecting the view from the historic grandstands is also proposed. This concept includes a second grandstand, field house and an upper level restaurant overlooking the ball field. “The grandstands are in surprisingly good shape” said Dell Hatch at the steering committee meeting which was held on October 28, prior to the public workshop.  Additionally, the plan includes the possibility of a 4 level parking structure on the county campus which allows for 800-900 parking spaces that includes pedestrian and vehicle  access through a below grade tunnel under Northwest Blvd.

Thought to be the most controversial part of the plan, is the suggested closure of Mullan Avenue to allow the connection of the ball field, City Park and proposed plaza to become one amazing, united public space.  Anyone who attended the recent “Placemaking” luncheon with smart growth expert Fred Kent will recognize the possibilities of what “could be” by making a commitment to creating a public space that attracts business investment, workers and visitors to our community.

Closing Mullan would help with safety according to Boyd, as people often have to cross the street to access parking for the park. "That sOpen-House-2.pngtreet's very wide and traffic tends to move very fast through there and it creates an unsafe condition for pedestrians," said Boyd.

As a tradeoff for closing Mullan Ave., Garden Avenue could be extended to connect to the Fort Sherman neighborhood. At the heart of it all Boyd says is the city's intent is to improve access and recreational options for everyone.

Public input is very much wanted as this process moves forward. Access to the architectural drawings that were presented at the openhouse are now available on the city's website, www.cdaid.org. Public comment can be submitted electronically for each aspect of the plan. Another public openhouse is planned as the project becomes fine-tuned before being presented to City Council sometime in mid-2015.

Steering committee members are: Mayor Steve Widmyer, Dave Patzer (LCDC Board Member), Bill Greenwood (City Parks Dept.), Scott Cranston (Chairman of CDA Parks and Recreation Commission), and Steve Anthony (Recreation/Parks  Director).

 


Midtown Update

Approval to support The Housing Company in their efforts to build a three-story, mixed use, commercial/workforce housing project on 4th Street in Midtown was given by unanimous decision at LCDC’s October 15 board meeting. The motion was made by Commissioner Deanna Goodlander and seconded by Commissioner Mic Armon. 

No financial commitment is being requested from LCDC at this time, with support being defined as a “verbal commitment to partner” with The Housing Company in moving forward with their application process to receive Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) in order to make the project financially feasible. The support was given in recognition of The Housing Company incurring costs for the final design process and federally required demographic studies, among other costs.

The Housing Company’s original application back in September of this year was postponed to February 2015 for various reasons, among which were concerns from the neighborhood who objected to the original four-story design. The project has been modified to 3-stories and now includes a community plaza element, potentially on the corner of 4th St. and Roosevelt Avenue.  LCDC has also emphasized the high importance of the street level of the building being devoted to commercial space.

NEWMcLeod-Renata-color---low-Res.jpgIn a Special Call Meeting on October 8, 2014, Coeur d’Alene City Clerk, Renata McLeod made a presentation on behalf of the city, to the LCDC Board and Midtown stakeholders about the Federal Fair Housing Act, the management and eligibility requirements for workforce housing, and the city’s intent for the Midtown Overlay District which reads as follows:

 “The intent of this district is to create a lively, neighborhood business district with a mixture of uses, including retail, services and residential. Storefronts would be relatively continuous along the street within the core of the district. Housing would be encouraged both above and behind commercial uses. Traffic calming measures would be applied and there would be an emphasis on creating a streetscape that would offer safety, convenience and visual appeal to pedestrians”.

Over the years, The Housing Company’s plan has been the most viable proposal for the revitalization of the Midtown business district. No other entity or private developer has yet to come forward with a workable, financially feasible plan to develop the properties along 4th Street.

If LCDC and The Housing Company were to divest their interests in Midtown, and the properties in question were sold to an independent developer, the potential for public input on what would be built there could be lost. The Housing Company’s willingness to modify their plan to accommodate the neighborhood and provide a needed housing component for the city is commendable.

DeannaGoodlander.pngPart of the city’s compliance to the Fair Housing Act is to provide housing solutions within the city for all income levels; the Midtown project does that, plus will create neighborhood jobs as well.


“The city has very clearly stated that they are behind moving forward with this project” said Commissioner Goodlander

 

 


Urban Land Insititute Presents 2015
Northwest
Real Estate Trends
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The Urban Land Insititute, Inland Northwest Chapters held their annual premier gathering at the Mirabeau Park hotel on November 4, 2014.  The mission of the ULI is "to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide". Lake City Development is a long standing member of the Urban Land Institute. ULI is one of the most high profile and respected real estate research organizations in the world, which helps LCDC and others create value for the community.

The 2015 Emerging Trends in Real Estate were presented by keynote speaker C. Andrew Warren, Director of the Real Estate Research firm PwC. Among his litany of experience, Andrew has authored numerous articles for national real estate publications. He has also earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst CFA, designation and is a Counselor of Real Estate. He is an active NCREIF (National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries) research committee member, and a member of the Appraisal Institute.


According to the report, "The sustained performance of the U.S. commercial real estate industry is expected to continue in 2015, fueled by improving fundamentals and robust investor appetite – both domestic and foreign".


“Unlike previous reports and previous cycles, we are seeing sustained growth,” said Mitch Roschelle, partner, U.S. real estate advisory practice leader, PwC. “In the past several years, we reported that real estate market participants’ main fears revolved around the uncertainty with the economy. Now, the trepidation in their eyes has more to do with the ability of the growing real estate markets to adapt to a series of mega trends impacting society and the global economy. These mega trends include accelerating urbanization, demographic shifts and the impact of disruptive technological advancements.”

The report discusses the TOP 10 Emerging Trends, such as: The 18-hour city comes of age: no longer is it accepted that only the great coastal cities can be alive around the clock and on weekends. The changing age game: The millennials are an even larger cohort than their parents - the baby-boom generation. The tendency of millennials to postpone homeownership and rent longer will affect the apartment sector over the next several years. Labor markets are trending toward a tipping point: Within a few years, the talk will be about labor shortages, not surpluses.

READ ONLINE OR DOWNLOAD THE REPORT

A printed version of this premium, four-color,  publication is available from the ULI Bookstore, but is currently out-of-print until March 15.
Order your copy here

The Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2015, is co-published by PwC US and the Urban Land Institute (ULI).


 

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Community profile

Editor's note: As part of the LCDC's continuing commitment to maximize public awareness about community issues and the agency, we offer monthly profiles of community leaders. This month, we feature Chris Meyer.

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Chris Meyer:
Parkwood Business Properties

About Chris: Chris Meyer has been a partner at Parkwood Business Properties since 2010 and serves as a portfolio asset manager and new project developer. Chris previously worked for Parkwood from 1997 to 2003 as a project manager, overseeing the development and rehabilitation of over 400,000sf of Class A office, industrial and retail space.  Chris then moved to Seattle where he earned his MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and a Masters in Urban Planning from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Washington.

While in Seattle, Chris worked as a Development Manager for Legacy Partners Residential where he developed the $75 million Legacy at Pratt Park urban mixed-use luxury apartment project, with 248 units and 6,500sf of street level retail. Chris received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Do you think urban renewal is important for Coeur d’Alene?
Yes, urban renewal is an important tool to develop economic growth here in North Idaho. It provides a way for our area to foster economic activity that other communities in other states just don’t have. It’s an incredible resource for North Idaho and it’s great to see it being applied in such effective projects like McEuen Park and the Higher Education Campus.

What have you learned from your experience of being on the board of The Urban Land Institute Idaho?
Being on the ULI board has helped me gain insight into best practices for land use and development around our region. There are other communities out there with problems not dissimilar to what’s going on here in Coeur d’Alene. Through ULI’s Emerging Trends program and their Healthy Communities Initiative I’m exposed to macro trends and how they can impact our local community. The physical design of the places where we live, work, and play–our buildings, neighborhoods, communities, and regions–affects our behavior and impacts our physical and mental well-being.

What do you think the goal of LCDC should be?
Basically, just what they have been doing. LCDC projects like McEuen Park, the Higher Education Campus, Seltice Corridor and its support of the Four Corners project are all examples of LCDC fulfilling their stated mission. Applying their resources to develop East Sherman, to make and appealing front entrance for Coeur d’Alene via streetscapes and improvements could spur business investment in that area.

Is there anything you think LCDC could be doing better?
One of the biggest improvements that has been made is LCDC’s efforts in communicating with the public and providing transparency. What has to be realized is that there are two mindsets, those for urban renewal and those against. Some people just don’t see the value of reinvestment. Continuing to quantify results is a good way to get the message across.

What proposed projects for CDA are you excited about?
Kootenai Health’s $57 million expansion is a huge economic driver for our community. Also, the Seltice Way Corridor where we can leverage riverfront resources is going to be great. There have been some early conversations between the City of Coeur d’Alene and the City of Post Falls that explored an interest in master planning coordination between our two cities that would include better pedestrian and transit options along the underutilized Seltice Way Corridor.

Does having a background in environmental science affect the way you look at urban renewal or development in general?
Within my private sector practice I tend to design in ways that minimize the footprint of development. If we want to continue to enjoy the great lifestyle that is synonymous with our area we don’t want to be short sighted in the ways we develop. By containing our land use footprint as a community and utilizing urban infill practices we can provide future economic options and preserve our amazing quality of life.

What do you see as the challenges CDA faces in the next ten years in regards to land use?
Maintaining our quality of life, and creating a livable, walkable community as we continue to grow. We want to be mindful of sprawl, and gobbling-up remaining open spaces.  I believe we should proceed in a fashion that will preserve choices for future generations.

On the subject of urban infill, and referring to the Midtown project as an example, how do we address citizen’s fears?
In regards to Midtown, there is a great misconception and stigma when it comes to rental housing for reasons that are not valid. Workforce housing tenants include healthcare workers and public servants; these are the people that you want for your neighbors. Reductions in commute times and costs increase the quality of life. Providing housing in close proximity to downtown and utilizing existing streets instead of building new roads makes sense.