The True Costs of Parking & New Strategies for Making Parking Work

TMG Consulting is pleased to sponsor  The Urban Land Institute’s FREE symposium on parking management featuring national expert Donald Shoup on Tuesday, March 13th.  This event is free and open to the public if you register by Thursday, March 8th.

The symposium should be especially useful to: BUSINESSES desiring more convenient parking for customers and deliveries; RESIDENTS seeking to reduce traffic congestion, to increase revenue, and to improve neighborhoods; and DEVELOPERS working to reduce project costs.

For full event details, please go to: http://louisiana.uli.org/

Whirlwind of Development and Opportunities Continue in New Orleans Region

When I moved back to New Orleans from New York City in 2009, I didn’t know what to expect.  Sure, I was excited to be closer to family, have a steady supply of fresh seafood, and be forever rid of my black down jacket. But the anchor of career prospects outside of the tourism and oil & gas industries seemed wishful.  This worry was unfounded because New Orleans and surrounding parishes have been experiencing a whirlwind of development activity, attracting new companies, expanding existing ones, and creating more jobs and wealth in the region. Progress has been especially evident in the past two years and was succinctly summarized at ULI Louisiana’s 4th Annual What’s REALly Going On event.

Representatives from Jefferson, St. Charles, Orleans, and St. Bernard Parishes spoke of their long-term development plans and current projects underway.  One of my favorite projects to hear about was the $60 million NOLA Motorsports Park being built in Avondale in Jefferson Parish.  This sprawling 750-acre facility south of the TPC Louisiana Golf Course is the closest thing to heaven for a speed demon, where adults and kids alike can euphorically zip around the racetrack.  Upon completion, this will be the longest racetrack in North America. Zoom, zoom!

Photo courtesy of http://www.nola.com

In St. Charles, Parish President VJ St. Pierre cited $2.7 billion worth of planned industrial expansion. This includes projects like the Valero Green Diesel Facility and Dow Ethylene Expansion (each estimated to be $400 million), the $238 million Praxair Hydrogen Plant, and the $190 million Air Products Hydrogen Plant.  A good education system and low crime rates which contribute to a high quality of life were a few major reasons convincing companies to expand into the parish.

Hearing the various presenters speak about their strategies and plans to attract new business to their parishes, I couldn’t help but wonder if there might be overlap in efforts and market cannibalization.  After all, we all reside in Louisiana and, while each parish has autonomy over its economic development, our resources would be more effective with greater coordination and organization among all players.  Michael Hecht from GNO, Inc. did note coordination among the parishes and highlighted key industries that the 10-parish Greater New Orleans region is targeting for new investment and development.  Three of the sectors – Advanced Manufacturing, Energy, and International Trade – focus on building on the region’s existing strengths.  The remaining sectors – Software & Digital, BioSciences, and Sustainable Industries – focus on leveraging regional assets to create new, diversified opportunities.

The New Orleans region has attracted a diverse spectrum of companies ranging from Gameloft, the Paris-based video game developer, to Blade Dynamics, the wind turbine manufacturer.

Photo courtesy of http://www.gnoinc.org

I think our country, states, parishes, and individual businesses can learn from GNO, Inc.’s successful use of a strategic analysis to define the region’s strengths which can then be turned into opportunities.  Our firm recently conducted an internal SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis to quantify our collective strengths as a company and to identify opportunities that would complement these strengths.  It was a productive morning where each staff member not only learned an interesting fact or two about another, but gained a clearer idea of areas where we could develop more business.

New Orleans certainly isn’t the place I expected when I arrived in 2009.  It’s better.  The city is humming with activity and being touted as an outstanding place to live and work.  Companies nationally and internationally are noticing our attractiveness and I’m certain we have the tools and leadership to reel them in.  In the midst of all of this positive outreach, though, we need to ensure we are nurturing the companies that already exist in our region.  More on that in my next blog article.

Contributed by:

Mimi Tsai

Feasibility Analyst

mimitsai@tmg-consulting.net  or (504) 569-9239 x 34

 
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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.

Highlights of the Urban Land Institute’s 2011 Fall Meeting & Urban Land Expo

The Urban Land Institute (ULI) celebrated its 75th anniversary with more than 5,900 attendees at the annual fall conference held in Los Angeles, California, from October 25-28th. Attendees were treated to engaging interviews and discussions with luminaries in various industries, including Dr. Robert Gates, Donald Bren, David Bonderman, Eli Broad, Michael Milken, and Tim Leiweke. Below are some highlights from the conference TMG would like to share with our readers:

Future of Housing Market Dependent on Job Creation

The outlook for the housing market was at the forefront of conference attendees’ minds. Currently, the market has gone from one of ownership to a rental market. Historically, new homes have comprised 16-17% of the real estate market, whereas it is now around 7%. Panelists noted that, in addition to allowing better access to capital markets, the government has a substantial role in helping to improve the housing market through job creation. People typically don’t buy homes if they lack certainty in employment. Another method suggested to help heal the housing market is the introduction of a program for companies to buy the distressed properties currently sitting idle in the market and turning them into rentals. The challenge would be to find companies who can handle the volume and manage and operate it efficiently.

Master-Planned Communities: Donald Bren

Attendees of the conference were treated to an interview with Donald Bren, Chairman of the Irvine Company, which owns 93,000 acres of land in Irvine, California that stands as a an example of a successfully-developed master-planned community.  Mr. Bren emphasized the importance of a good location to the success of his company. Other factors he said assisted in the success of his company included: having a board that has been careful to avoid making short-term decisions; having the ability to carefully research, plan, create, and develop their ideas; having the luxury of being a private company that did not have to pay quarterly dividends and was able to reinvest their cash into their asset portfolio and project infrastructure; and having mortgage-free financing on the purchased land. When asked if a similar development could be replicated in the future, Mr. Bren expressed doubt primarily because of stifling government regulations and surmounting legal hurdles.

Hotel Performance Strong for 2011 Q4

Experts and leaders in the hotel industry gathered together in a panel discussion to discuss the outlook for hotels. Michael Barnello, President and CEO of LaSalle Hotel Properties, predicted strong performance in the fourth quarter of 2011, especially since corporations are sitting on significant sums of cash and have not changed their travel policies. Hotel companies, like Hilton Worldwide, have found better value in developing existing properties, rather than developing new hotels. With the changes in the market, hoteliers may pay a premium for the former option, but the trade-off is the ability to develop the property more quickly without encountering the usual 2- to 3-year development cycle. There was consensus among the panelists when asked whether there was opportunity for multi-family housing in hotels: not likely. Matthew Sparks, Senior Vice President of Luxury and Corporate Development for Hilton Worldwide, said the development of luxury hotel and residences was complex and the residential market seemed to be years away, even on the luxury side. Steve Haggerty, Global Head of Real Estate Development for Hyatt Hotels Corporation, said developing corporate housing is not as easy as it seems and their time is better spent focusing on underserved markets.

Contributed by:

Mimi Tsai

Feasibility Analyst

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.