Workshop Session I

All workshops begin at 11:00 A.M.

Addressing Equity Considerations in Transit-Oriented Development
In December 2005, the West Windsor Township Council adopted a resolution designating a 350-acre site around the Princeton Junction train station an area in need of redevelopment. What the township envisioned was the transformation of one of the nation’s busiest train stations, surrounded by a sea of surface parking lots, into a vibrant transit village featuring a mix of residential, retail, office, entertainment and other uses and amenities. One of many challenges facing the township is the need to ensure that both the costs and opportunities presented by this redevelopment plan are shared equitably. In this session, panelists will describe how considerations of equity are addressed as a transit-oriented development (TOD) project progresses from the drawing board to reality.

The Barbell Effect: Two Key Demographic Trends That Will Change Cities
Much has been written about the move back to urban areas of two key demographic groups: the Millennials and the Baby Boomers. What must these urban areas do differently in terms of housing, jobs, amenities and services if they are to capitalize on these twin trends? This session will examine the size of the phenomenon in New Jersey, and will feature examples of steps developers and municipalities can take to be ready for the influx. Session resources.

Creating a Redevelopment Agenda for New Jersey
Despite broad public support, redevelopment remains more difficult, complex and expensive than building on greenfields.  This session will focus on concrete state actions that can move redevelopment forward.  Panelists will discuss the most significant barriers to redevelopment and explore state policies and programs to overcome them. Topics will include local government capacity to manage redevelopment projects, tools for land assemblage, a supportive regulator environment and the financial resources necessary for infrastructure, brownfields cleanup and long-term project financing.

Dealing with Reality:
A New Approach to Property Acquisition Without Eminent Domain
Today’s political and legal realities have made the use of eminent domain a non-starter in most communities in New Jersey.  To help move projects forward in this climate, developers and municipalities alike should consider new, creative approaches toward risk allocation with regard to development and property acquisition that focus on the economic development potential of the site and ways to include the property owners more directly, including structured seller financing and joint ventures.

Getting Retail Right
The term “higher-density mixed-use development” typically means retail on the ground floor and offices or residential or a combination of both on the upper floors. But how and what kind of retail can an area sustain? What are the global trends that will affect local retail? What issues, from zoning to financing, must be addressed if in-town retail is to survive? This session will feature a retail analyst, who will outline the larger trends that are affecting the retail industry generally, followed by several individuals involved in developing successful local retail districts, who will describe the key steps they took in order to ensure success. Session resources.

Investing Strategically in Transit-Oriented Development
Transit stations are becoming increasingly attractive as redevelopment sites that advance numerous societal goals and enable new residents to accomplish some of their daily activities without needing a car.  Thus far, the specific locations of transit-oriented development (TOD) projects have tended to depend on the initiative of a savvy developer who identifies a parcel of land with redevelopment potential, or a forward-thinking municipality that decides to capitalize on its transit accessibility, rather than on any holistic, comparative assessment of development potential throughout the transit system.  The Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit was a good first step toward a more systematic approach, with its use of measures of socioeconomic distress to determine eligibility.  How might other TOD incentives be targeted at specific places, with the goal of fostering at any given station the particular kind of development (residential, retail, employment) that makes the most sense there?

Treating Flooding as the “New Normal”
The dramatic increase in the number of recent flooding incidents in New Jersey raises important questions about where development should occur and how to plan and prepare for these events.  As floodplain maps change, so do regulatory and design considerations, not to mention the added insurance risks to redeveloping in these locations.  This session will look at current weather trends and how they will affect redeveloping communities, as well as explore innovative approaches to stormwater management, with a spotlight on Philadelphia’s Green Infrastructure Plan. Flooding Risk Rises Statewide (The New York Times)

Turning Problem Properties into Opportunities
New Jersey’s Abandoned Property Rehabilitation Act (APRA), enacted in early 2004, gave municipalities new powers for dealing with abandoned properties, including “spot blight” eminent domain power for an individual building, accelerated foreclosure of tax liens and the ability to become an “entity in possession” of an abandoned property.  Many towns and cities in New Jersey started using aggressive strategies to deal with their problem properties, and passage of the state’s pioneering creditor responsibility law in 2010 gave them additional tools.  The issue of abandoned properties has since taken on greater urgency in the context of the foreclosure crisis precipitated by the 2008 collapse of the housing market.  This panel will examine case studies in how municipal leaders have used elements of the APRA’s toolkit to effect substantive change on the ground, and will suggest additional policy prescriptions that could further advance municipalities’ capacity for repurposing abandoned properties.