April 8, 2015 / Published in News & Events
Los Angeles is loaded with historic buildings like the Tower Theater. The city has passed ordinances encouraging the renovation and use of its old buildings. It is not hard to find old buildings that have been converted to serve new purposes. For example, take a look at this former hospital power plant in St. Louis
April 6, 2015 / Published in News & Events
A closing big-box store can be a blight or an opportunity for a community. A problem has emerged in American cities and towns. Big-box retailers like Kmart and Borders have closed hundreds of stores. Aside from lost sales tax revenue and jobs, this leaves behind another problem: a large, concrete box that sits empty among
April 3, 2015 / Published in News & Events
A revival in American main streets started 30 years ago, providing an opportunity for businesses. American main streets once seemed to have lost their way. Freeways led to spacious new malls in the ‘burbs that catered to a shopper’s every need. The old department stores with the toy train sets and dressed-up mannequins in the
April 1, 2015 / Published in News & Events
It pays not to avoid the opposition. NIMBY campaigns can be intense and highly organized. Image source: Flickr CC user photohiro It is not uncommon these days for developers to face opposition. Word gets out that a new subdivision or a department store is planned and opponents come out of the woodwork. Rumors become whispers
March 30, 2015 / Published in News & Events
Good freeway access is often at the top of a developer’s wish list. It’s no surprise that major developments often get built near exits. Image source: Flickr CC user Francisco Anzola Weary travelers needing gas or food on the freeways need only look for the inevitable roadside oasis at the next exit. The kind of
March 20, 2015 / Published in News & Events
weathervane A road improvement project on a main street may not be an infallible weathervane, but often does indicate that a downtown are could be experiencing an upswing.
Image source: Flickr CC user OliBac It would be a neat trick if a business could find a window into the future or a weathervane to predict which way the economic winds were blowing. Unfortunately, there's no foolproof way to gauge whether a business will succeed on a city’s main street.
March 11, 2015 / Published in News & Events
The new Google Headquarters will somehow be even more impressive than the current one. Image from Wikimedia Commons user Durova. In the 1990s, Gatorade had a ridiculously catchy and overwhelmingly popular campaign jingle called “Be Like Mike,” about wanting to be like Michael Jordan, even if just for a day. Anyone who ever dribbled a
February 25, 2015 / Published in News & Events
  Up and down the California coast, and particularly in San Francisco, office lease prices have shot up as tech firms gobble up space. Companies that are hunting around the Bay Area can opt to pay some of the highest lease prices in the country, or they can look for alternatives. In a recent blog,
February 20, 2015 / Published in News & Events
San Francisco’s office market isn’t in a bubble, analysts say, but a tech boom is driving up lease rates and lowering vacancies. Credit: Flickr CC user Scott Carr If you think office space rents are outrageously high in San Francisco and other office markets along the California coast, you’re right. San Francisco could potentially eclipse
February 18, 2015 / Published in News & Events
A thriving neighborhood can be many things, but it usually has a few special features that define it. Credit: Flickr user josh In neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Oakland, and San Francisco, city governments and community leaders have been rolling out the welcome wagon to developers with good ideas. An entrepreneur who can see beyond the
February 11, 2015 / Published in News & Events
  In the lead up to a commercial sale, buyers may find environmental problems that make them think twice about the property. Asbestos, lead-based paint, soil contaminants, and underground storage tanks are issues that crop up. But one nasty problem that is sometimes found lurking in buildings can cause expensive problems. We’re talking about mold.
February 6, 2015 / Published in News & Events
Around the county, a unique commercial building niche has emerged in cities where space is at a premium and ground-up construction is hard to do. Developers have taken unused, unprofitable parking garages and turned them into office buildings and condos. For example: In Greenwich Village, developers are turning two parking garages into condos. For one