More on TMG’s Award-Winning Market Assessment for Shreveport Common Cultural District

For the announcement of TMG’s 2015 State Planning Award of Excellence for a Process for the Shreveport Common Market Assessment, click here.

A devastating fire engulfed the Shreveport Regional Arts Council’s (SRAC) headquarters on August 25, 2009, and propelled the vision for a new arts and cultural district in downtown Shreveport. Few would have thought the senseless act of arson would have spurred the revitalization of a once-great neighborhood. A historic, vacant downtown fire station was identified to serve as SRAC’s new headquarters for the artist community, newly named “Central ARTSTATION.”

SC 1After this renovation was completed, the next challenge was to revitalize the surrounding underused nine block area. The Shreveport Common Vision Plan was formed from a nine-month grass-roots, community-involved effort.

Led by SRAC and a team of architects and planners, an advisory board was assembled to include local area leaders, (downtown business partners, the city, and parish) neighbors, developers, artists, bankers and those in the investment community. Door-to-door listening sessions were held with neighbors and property owners; the artist community was surveyed; and numerous community-wide events were held where input was obtained from artists, area residents, and those living across the greater Shreveport area. Read the full post »

TMG Wins State Planning Award!

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TMG’s Eric Melancon (far left) and Suzanne Leckert (far right) accept the 2015 Process award with the team.

On January 22, 2015, TMG Consulting and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) of Shreveport, Louisiana were awarded the American Planning Association – Louisiana Chapter 2015 State Planning Award of Excellence for a Process. The award was given for TMG’s market assessment of the Shreveport Common Arts and Cultural District.

The study was spearheaded and funded by the DDA and the Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC). TMG Consulting analyzed the market potential for retail, commercial, and residential development (both market rate and artist housing).  Projections of the potential utilization, necessary units and square footage, occupancy rates, and rental revenues for the retail/commercial and residential developments were detailed in the study document. The team’s report has been instrumental in discussions with potential developers, investors, and the banking community about opportunities in Shreveport Common.

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“It was remarkable to see all the data put into an analysis that gave easily understandable meaning to the opportunities available in Shreveport Common. We’re glad to have had the partnership of TMG Consulting in this project,” says Liz Swaine, Executive Director of the DDA/DSDC.

This award-winning project was led by Suzanne Leckert, Director of Feasibility & Land Use, with significant contributions from TMG’s Eric Melancon, Nilsa Duran, Tiffany Pitre, and Rachael Bauer.  At the 2015 Louisiana APA Conference held in Baton Rouge, Suzanne and Eric presented the study to a packed house of planners, government officials, and local leaders.

Read an Overview and Executive Summary of the award-winning market assessment here. For TMG’s full list of client offerings, visit our Products page. Congratulations to our partners and the entire TMG team!

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Is the Decline in Oil Prices Really a Threat to the Hybrid Car Industry?

Coinciding with the dramatic decrease in oil prices in the later part of 2014, various media reports have revisited the consumer’s economic benefit from owning a hybrid automobile versus a fuel dependent one.

save-moneyA recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek compared the price of driving three cars that are comparable in size—a hybrid car (Toyota Prius), a gasoline-powered car (Chevy Cruze), and an electric car (Nissan Leaf). The comparison shows that over time (a period of 30 years) the total expense to operate and drive the hybrid and gasoline powered vehicles were basically the same. According to the article, the electric car was far more cost efficient to own and operate than either the hybrid or gasoline automobiles.

The article admits its own shortcomings in comparing the cost-savings of these three vehicles. These include assuming oil prices remain stable and as low as they currently are over a thirty-year period, and the failure to include the initial cost of a residential charging station an electric vehicle owner may incur. But a primary issue with this article is its reluctance to address the non-monetary value consumers place on reducing their environmental impact by purchasing electric cars.

The recent Detroit auto show, as reported in a Reuters article, gave the industry a platform to discuss the implications of falling gas prices on consumer vehicle preferences. Low gas prices have driven increases in demand for less fuel-efficient vehicles such as heavy trucks, SUVs, and luxury cars of the high-performance variant. Rather than rejoicing a return of interest to gas-hungry cars, the industry is focused on developing and selling electric and hybrid cars. This is due to the U.S.’s requirement that all vehicles sold in 2025 average 54.5 miles per gallon or greater (potentially subject to adjustment based on real-time shifts in the data models). The future policy regulations require automakers to increase research and development spending on vehicles with increased fuel efficiency, while the current marketplace suggests that a waning in consumer interest in fuel-inefficient vehicles is unlikely to occur anytime soon.

obama-cafe-standards-0711-deBoth consumers and manufacturers should continue to assess the non-monetary benefits that electric and fuel-efficient cars bring. Beyond oil-independence and a reduced impact on the environment, the prevalence of these vehicles in the marketplace may induce other benefits such as an increasingly more accessible price for consumers.

Submitted by:

Nicholas Farrae
Senior Analyst, Economics and Gaming

 

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Construction Begins on New Orleans Rampart Streetcar Expansion

On the heels of the St. Charles streetcar line being named a national historic landmark, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) here in New Orleans has begun construction on a new Rampart streetcar line. The line will travel in shared lanes (similar to the Carrollton line) from Canal Street to Elysian Fields along Rampart Street and St. Claude Avenue. Tracks will be laid in the leftmost lane in each direction. TMG is excited to see this portion of the streetcar expansion come to fruition.

Rampart-Expansion-Map

Just as with the increased economic development after the announcement of the Loyola Streetcar Line, the Rampart/St. Claude line could invigorate investment along the corridor even before the line’s completion in 2017. The corridor currently hosts an eclectic commercial offering of bars, galleries, music venues, and food co-ops.  Advocacy and buy-in from the area’s residents was a major factor in implementing the RTA’s vision, and the entire city stands to benefit.

The Rampart/St. Claude streetcar corridor is bounded by 7 neighborhoods: the Central Business District, the French Quarter, Iberville, Treme, Marigny, and the 7th and 8th Wards. During the planning phase, the RTA actively engaged each of these neighborhoods as well as more than a dozen neighborhood and community organizations representing the surrounding area.

TMG is proud to have played a part in the planning, oversight, and execution of this major capital program.

The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Lower Airfares Coming in 2015

Airlines Expect Record Profitability on Falling Oil Prices

Drivers across the country have seen noticeably lower prices at the pump lately, with the price of crude oil falling to five-year lows and closing in on $60/barrel.

Now, air travelers may be seeing lower prices in the New Year as well.

jet fuel coffeeBecause of oil price drops attributed to a glut in US supply from shale, and corresponding reductions in the cost of jet fuel, the International Air Transport Association announced today a revised airline industry 2014 profit estimate of $19.9 billion (up from $18.0 billion just this past June). Profits are expected to balloon to a record $25.0 billion in 2015.

The industry expects to pass along a portion of the savings to consumers, with passenger fares projected to fall 5.1% and cargo rates coming in 5.8% lower, after adjusting for inflation.

Just a 5% price cut, though? On record profits?

The fact remains that the airline industry is more competitive than ever and is dealing with cost pressures that will eat into any savings on jet fuel. Next year, the industry will have to take in $783 billion in revenues to see their $25 billion in profits, for a margin of 3.2 percent.

IATA Chief Executive Tony Tyler made a comparison to a familiar brand – Starbucks, which has a profit margin of 14 percent. “[This company] will retain as much from selling seven cups of coffee as an airline will make selling an average ticket,” Tyler noted.

Just don’t mix flying with drinking seven cups of coffee.

Contributed by:

Ryan McNeely, MPA

Associate

Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport On Track to Exceed DBE Goals

Airport Reports Significant Increase in DBE Commitments

DBETMG Consulting assists the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport (BRMA) in drafting and administering its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) programs.  The Airport’s DBE Program is mandated by the federal government under FAA grant assurances and aims to ensure that government grant funds are distributed equitably.

TMG is proud to report that projects awarded in FFY 2014 have a combined commitment of 17.11% to DBE firms.  A total of six (6) DBE subcontracts were awarded on four (4) projects during FFY 2014, for a value of $973,865 to DBE firms. During FFY 2013, BRMA committed 8.7% to DBE firms. BRMA’s overall DBE goal for FFYs 2013-2015 is 7.1%, so BRMA is on track to greatly exceed their original target.

logoBtr02TMG Consulting provides assistance to BRMA by setting DBE project goals, conducting compliance reviews of bids, monitoring ongoing DBE participation on projects, assisting interested Prime Contractors in finding qualified DBE’s and providing assistance to DBE’s interested in contracting at BRMA. TMG looks forward to working with these contractors to ensure maximum participation and realization of project benchmarks.

For more information on TMG’s DBE program management services, please visit our products page here.

If you have any questions, please call:

(504) 569-9239

Rachael Bauer ext. 24 or Bonnie Garrigan ext. 29

Contributed by:

Rachael C. Bauer, MURP
Associate, TMG Consulting

An Economic Strategy for Casinos in the Land of Pachinko

As we begin the third week of the special autumn parliamentary session in Japan, the focus remains on whether or not substantial progress will be made on casino legalization. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sees passing the casino bill as a crucial component in his “Abenomics” package of aggressive economic and fiscal policies and reforms. He views Japanese casinos as an opportunity to increase tax revenue and stimulate the flagging economy, and he hopes that foreign investment from major gaming operators and integrated resort (IR) developers will help to pull Japan out of two decades of deflation and weak growth. The timing of the current parliamentary session becomes all the more critical, given that the Japanese GDP took a 7.1% plunge during the first quarter of the 2014 fiscal year. When factoring in recent tax increases and rising energy costs, Japanese workers are now effectively earning less than they were when Abe took office in 2012.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Gambling Which Isn’t Gambling: Pachinko

Although gambling is technically illegal in Japan (except for some government-administered racing sports and lotteries) there is already a thriving gambling pastime which has been an integral part of the Japanese lifestyle since the first part of the 20th century, operating in the gray area of the pachinko industry. This pinball-like slot game (which originally utilized ball bearings from dismantled munitions factories after World War II) is regarded as an exception to the criminal code’s gambling prohibition. When players accumulate enough little silver balls, they can redeem them for token prizes such as pen sets, cigarettes, or perfume, then take certain special prizes to off-site shops where they are exchanged for cash.

Although the pachinko business has been on the decline since its peak in the 1990s due to a younger generation eschewing what they see as the dingy, smoky pastime of their parents’ generation, estimates of gross gaming revenue (GGR) for pachinko in 2013 are still thought to be a staggering $30 billion or higher. In order to win over Japanese youth and the untapped female market, and in preparation for competition from casinos, the pachinko business is now trying to rebrand and reinvent itself with stylish, smoke-free lounges, cafes, shopping malls, and even daycare centers for the children of parents with a little extra cash on their hands.

A Pachinko Parlor in Tokyo's Akihabara District

A Pachinko Parlor in Tokyo’s Akihabara District

A telling anecdote which illustrates the fuzziness of pachinko’s classification by Japanese society recounts a group of pro-casino legislators who requested data on annual pachinko winnings from the National Police Agency, which administers the off-site exchange shops. The mind-boggling response provided was that pachinko generates no winnings, as pachinko is not gambling. The industry’s 12,000 parlors are operated entirely by the private sector, and it is not taxed, although that would likely change if taxable casinos were legalized.

How Will Social Implications Affect Casino Legislation?

According to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, 4.8% of Japan’s adult population, and 8.7% of men over the age of 20 are pathological gamblers who are addicted to gambling. This stands in stark contrast to other developed nations where the average statistic for compulsive gamblers is closer to 1%. As a result, the Ministry supports a total ban on casino use by Japanese citizens, which is the model used at gambling facilities in Monaco. Other groups are exploring requiring special entrance fees for Japanese casino customers, which is the approach used for locals at casinos in Singapore. Either way, restricting casino access for the Japanese would cut into what the government sees as a solution to the nation’s economic woes, especially when some have projected that 80% of casino patrons will be Japanese nationals.

Gambling by Japanese Nationals to be Allowed

Recent media reports on the casino bill being drafted by a multiparty group of Japanese parliament members had stated that a clause was being introduced only allowing foreign nationals to gamble in Japan. Since many believe that the Japanese customer base is crucial to the profitability of Japanese IRs, this would have been seen as a setback discouraging investment by foreign developers. Conflicting reports have now emerged, citing an unidentified “parliamentary source”, stating that the draft law will not ban Japanese locals from casino gambling.

We are closely following all the casino-related developments as they occur in Tokyo, where parliament is in session through November 30th. Check back with TMG Insights to stay current on the latest news from Japan.

Contributed by:

Anthony Mumphrey III
Principal, TMG Consulting
anthony@tmgconsulting.net
(504) 569-9239, Ex.22

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Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

Japanese Legislators Reconvene to Discuss Casino Bill

Today marks the convocation of the special autumn session of Japan’s parliament (the National Diet). During the previous session which ended last June, a bill was introduced by a cross-party coalition of lawmakers representing both the ruling LDP party as well as opposition parties. Passing this preliminary “enabling bill” is seen as the first step toward the establishment of casinos in Japan, and it would lay the legislative groundwork on a conceptual level. Once passed, a second piece of legislation would be required, outlining the specifics of casino implementation, administration, and regulation in Japan.

Toru Mihara, an Osaka professor who advises pro-casino lawmakers, has said that he sees the bill’s passage as likely occurring by November, barring the introduction of pressing legislation that would distract the Diet from the casino bill. Similarly rosy forecasts of swift action by the Diet have been made many times in the past. The clock is ticking as Tokyo commences preparation for hosting the 2020 Olympics, and many are beginning to wonder whether or not Japanese IRs will be able to open in time for this major international tourism event.

A coalition of LDP and opposition party legislators is working to legalize Japanese casino development.

How Big is the Market?

The consensus among bullish analysts has been that with one integrated resort (IR) in Tokyo and another in Osaka, plus up to ten smaller casinos in other Japanese localities, gross gaming revenue could reach $40 billion annually. This would place the Japanese gaming market far ahead of both Las Vegas and Singapore, and it would approach the size of the world’s largest gaming market, Macau, where revenue was $45.2 billion in 2013. By contrast, a Morgan Stanley report published earlier this year has suggested that Japan might not be as profitable a market as many are expecting. Their analysis has projected Japanese annual GGR to be about one half of the consensus’ estimate, amounting to $21-$22 billion.

Locations Under Consideration for a Japanese IR

More than 20 locations in Japan are vying to be chosen as locations for IRs. There are campaigns underway to attract casinos as far north as Hokkaido and Akita, further south in Tokyo’s neighboring Chiba and Kanagawa Prefectures, in Osaka to the west, as far south as Nagasaki and Miyazaki, and in the southernmost islands of Okinawa. One of the frontrunner sites for an IR is a partially man-made island in Osaka Bay known as Yumeshima. As of this month, seven developers have held meetings with the Osaka prefectural governor, who is recommending this location. Although Tokyo’s governor has been notably lukewarm to the idea of an IR in the nation’s capital, many see Tokyo’s waterfront location of Odaiba as a leading candidate for a casino resort. Another Tokyo location under consideration by developers is the current site of the Tsukiji Fish Market which will relocate nearby in 2016. Tsukiji is one of the largest contiguous parcels of land ever offered for redevelopment in Tokyo, and its prime location is ideal for an IR.

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The waterfront Odaiba development in Tokyo is one of the leading sites where a Japanese IR might be located.

Contenders for Japanese Licenses

MGM Resorts International has already unveiled images of its plans for an MGM Osaka casino resort, and it has been rumored that they have also been scouting out the Tsukiji site in Tokyo. MGM has held discussions with Universal Studios Japan, and they have pledged to invest $5-$10 billion in the Japanese market, with a 51% requirement for their stake in a Japanese partnership. Las Vegas Sands is said to be eyeing a Tokyo location, and Sheldon Adelson has stated that he would spend “whatever it takes” to gain a foothold in Japan, citing numbers between $7 and $10 billion. Melco Crown is reported to have met with Osaka authorities this past July, while Wynn Resorts is thought to be exploring sites in Tokyo. Caesars Entertainment CEO Gary Loveman has stated that his company would have no problem financing an investment in Japan of at least $5 billion. Another potential foreign IR developer is Genting of Malaysia, while domestic bidders for licenses include pachinko companies Dynam and Konami, Keikyu Railways, and a joint venture of Fuji Media, Kajima Construction, and Mitsui Real Estate.

Contributed by:

Anthony Mumphrey III
Principal, TMG Consulting
anthony@tmgconsulting.net
(504) 569-9239, Ex.22

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Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

TMG Increases Engagement for DBEs and SBEs at Airport Event

On July 30th, 2014, TMG Consulting organized the 9th Annual Business Opportunities Workshop for the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport. This year featured a small business trade show, where small and disadvantaged businesses, along with resources agencies, tabled to showcase their talents. Attendance at this event topped over 120 small and disadvantaged business, prime contractors, resource agencies, and airport staff! The purpose of the Business Opportunities Workshop is multi-faceted:

  • to educate firms about the Airport’s Disadvantaged Enterprise (DBE) program and Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program;
  • to inform attendees about upcoming work opportunities at the Airport;
  • to facilitate networking among prime and potential subcontractor firms in order to create connections now, learn what businesses have to offer and prepare a qualified team when the next Baton Rouge Airport bid is released.
  • and to provide resources to help small businesses grow.

Small businesses are an integral aspect of the Baton Rouge Airport’s long-term vision and the airport has a history of actively engaging the DBE and small business communities on Airport contracts. The Airport DBE Program is mandated by the federal government under FAA grant assurances and aims to ensure that government grant funds are distributed equitably.

TMG Consulting has assisted the Baton Rouge Airport to draft and administer both DBE and SBE programs and regularly sets DBE project goals, conducts compliance reviews of bid, and monitors ongoing DBE participation on projects. Events such as these are hosted to help communicate the wide range of opportunities at an Airport for businesses and to demystify the DBE program for all contractors.

 

Contributed by:

Bonnie Garrigan
Manager of Economic Analysis
bonniegarrigan@tmg-consulting.net or 504.569.9239 ext.29

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 Disclaimer
The views, interpretations, or strategies expressed are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the position of TMG Consulting. This site is meant for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. TMG Consulting makes no representation as to accuracy, completeness, or suitability of any information on this site and will not be liable for damages arising from its display or use.

 

 

March of Dimes Honors TMG Associate Eric Melancon

Amanda Vonderhaar, Nicole Rios, Eric Melancon and Robin Johnson (Left to Right) were among the 29 honorees presented at the 28th March of Dimes "Spotlight on Success" Gala at the Generations Hall in New Orleans on Friday, June 13, 2014. (Photo credit by Peter G. Forest) (Times-Picayune)

Amanda Vonderhaar, Nicole Rios, Eric Melancon and Robin Johnson (Left to Right) were among the 29 honorees presented at the 28th March of Dimes “Spotlight on Success” Gala at the Generations Hall in New Orleans on Friday, June 13, 2014. (Photo credit by Peter G. Forest) (Times-Picayune)

Each year, the New Orleans chapter of the March of Dimes honors between 20 and 30 young professionals and civic activists in the Greater New Orleans Area. Eric Melancon, an Associate at TMG Consulting, was among this year’s honorees.

This Spotlight on Success Gala is an annual fundraising event, silent auction, and awareness campaign for the March of Dimes whose mission is to reduce the rate of premature births, birth defects, and other significant health issues faced by newborn babies.

Honorees and the Local Chapter’s March of Dimes Board Members work together to solicit sponsorships and auction item donations from businesses and organizations in the local area. TMG Consulting was among the many proud sponsors of this year’s event.

This year’s Gala, held on June 13, 2014, raised a record-breaking $170,000 for the March of Dimes, and hosted over 1,000 attendees, the most the annual event has ever brought in. Photos of the many attendees and auction items for this year’s event can be found on the March of Dimes NOLA Facebook Page.