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TFM’s President submits the May Question of the Month in New England Real Estate Journal’s “Shopping Centers” section

New England Real Estate Journal selected TFM’s President and Chief Engineer, Robert Duval, PE to submit a civil engineering “Question of the Month” for the Shopping Centers section of the May 26 – June 1, 2017 issue. We invite you to read his article answering the question below, or link to this pdf TFMoran in NEREJ May 2017

 

NERE Journal – Shopping Centers – Question of the Month

How can a shopping center benefit from mixed-use developments? This healthy trend is here to stay.

written by Robert Duval, TFMoran, Inc.

The advantages of integrating new retail development into mixed-use centers can be substantial when compared with conventional shopping centers. Even such basic parameters as traffic volumes, parking demand, and stormwater flow can all be reduced by considering multiple uses in a single development plan.

The cost of offsite roadway improvements can be a major factor in retail projects, and accurate prediction of future traffic volumes is necessary to avoid unnecessarily burdening the project with overly-conservative improvements. In a mixed-use center, trip generation rates of individual uses can be discounted due to the expected interaction between these related uses: that is, there is some degree of sharing patrons among apartments, restaurants, offices, and retail uses, so the total traffic volume generated as a whole is less than the sum of the individual parts. In a well-integrated and balanced mixed-use center, these discounts can be on the order of 30% or more due to multi-purpose trips and enhanced pedestrian connectivity. The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) and the National Cooperative Highway Research Program NCHRP 684 provide more specific guidance on how these traffic volumes can be reduced.

Parking demand can also be reduced by sharing parking inventory between compatible uses. To some extent, the reasoning is the same as the traffic reductions described above; but there are subtle differences: for example, an office employee who shops in an on-site retail store after work doesn’t really reduce parking demand, since their occupied parking space would otherwise be available to other store patrons during this peak retail period. However, since the peak period for apartments occurs after the office demand subsides, credit can be taken for sharing between these uses, and fewer total spaces can be provided than for two similar buildings as individual developments.

Reducing parking inventory can have many benefits. First, of course, is avoiding thousands of construction dollars for each unnecessary parking space – tens of thousands in a parking garage. Then there is the reduction in footprint required per square foot of leasable space; if the parking supply can be reduced by say, 150 spaces, at typical parking ratios that means the same amount of land can support another 30,000sf of leasable area, or conversely, the same amount of leasable area would need about one less acre of buildable land.

These are substantial benefits, but there are others too – as pavement area decreases, so too does the amount of stormwater infrastructure needed to capture, detain, and treat all that unnecessary pavement runoff. Recent projects have shown that the savings in stormwater management infrastructure in the range of 15% can be achieved. In redevelopment scenarios, these benefits can also be helpful in securing environmental permits.

More efficient parking layouts that combine multiple uses on a single parcel can also be achieved by avoiding the need for internal lot line setbacks. The same approach can apply to a combination of existing and proposed developments on contiguous parcels. By careful planning of pedestrian walkways and other measures to enhance connectivity (possibly with some relief from local zoning ordinances) multiple properties can be combined into a single development, resulting in greater land use density, and thus achieving the other benefits of less traffic, parking, pavement, construction costs, and excess stormwater infrastructure.

Ultimately, all these savings rely on good pedestrian connectivity. In a mixed-use setting, each building component must be connected by convenient, safe, and attractive pedestrian pathways to all other uses within a reasonable “walking distance”. In New England, this is often considered to be about a quarter-mile, but this can vary up or down depending on the quality of the walking environment. Therefore, it is important to integrate pleasant and easily traversable pedestrian routes into the development to achieve all these benefits.

Today, more and more community planners understand and support mixed-use development not only for a tool for the economic advantages outlined above, but also for a number of societal benefits too. Revitalizing city centers, particularly former manufacturing areas, making more efficient use of existing road and utility infrastructure, providing more employment opportunities, reducing the need for highway expansions, and reducing development pressure on alternative “greenfield” sites, to name a few.

Mixed-use development is here to stay, and we can expect this healthy trend to facilitate new retail and commercial development, but also to create a new sense of prosperity and vibrancy in our New England city and town centers.

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TFMoran’s president, Robert Duval in panel discussion at the Northern New England Office & Industrial Summit

New England Real Estate Journal hosted the 2017 Northern New England Office & Industrial Summit on Thursday, February 23rd at The Event Center in Nashua, New Hampshire.  Approximately 90 people attended the half day event consisting of a breakfast buffet, panel discussions and networking with the speakers. TFMoran’s president Robert Duval was invited to be on the panel discussing “Opportunities and Challenges in Industrial Market”, which followed the earlier discussion “Evaluation at the Office Market and what Tenants require Today”. Both discussions sparked conversations of real estate professionals in attendance with the panel speakers, creating an engaging networking session.

Thanks to Rick Kaplan and New England Real Estate Journal for organizing and hosting such a valued event.

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NERE Journal features a Multi-Residential TFM Civil “Project of the Month” in Dec 2016

One of TFMoran’s most recent civil engineering multi-residential projects in Nashua, NH was featured as “Project of the Month” in New England Real Estate Journal‘s December 2-8, 2016 issue. TFMoran is proud to be a part of the SMC Management Corporation project team, along with DeStefano Architects and Fulcrum Associates. The ground breaking event was held on Thursday, December 1st, and was covered by both the Nashua Telegraph and NH Union Leader.

To view the full story, click on this link  tfmoran-project-featured-in-nerej-dec-2-2016-issue or read text below:

NERE Journal December 2016 Project of the Month:

Fulcrum selected by SMC Mgmt. to construct
228-unit Residences at Riverfront Landing

Residences at Riverfront Landing Project Team
Fulcrum……………………………………………… Construction Manager
DeStefano Architects……………………………………………….Architect
TFMoran, Inc…………………………..Civil/Site Engineering & Permitting
Longchamps Electric………………………………………………Electrical
S.L. Chasse Steel……………………………………………Structural Steel

NASHUA, NH Fulcrum was selected by SMC Management Corporation of Watertown Mass. to construct the new Residences at Riverfront Landing project located at 62-70 Bridge St. Boasting scenic views of the Merrimack River, the project will include three separate residential buildings consisting of four floors of apartments above a deck of structured parking. Each residential building will consist of 76 units, for a total of 228, market-rate apartments and is a partnership between SMC Management and Master Developer Renaissance Downtowns. The site is commonly identified as the Bridge St. “skate park” site, and is situated adjacent to a levy that was constructed in 1947 and since has been maintained by the city.

In addition to the residential buildings there will be two other buildings constructed on the site, a 2-story building will be constructed to a “core and shell” finish, as part of the base project, to provide commercial lease space for yet to be identified tenants. The first floor is intended to be fit-up for retail or office space. The second floor is being targeted for a restaurant and will be fit-up once a tenant is identified. An exterior deck will wrap the building’s second floor, with a paved patio on the grade level, taking full advantage of the river views. The second building will be a 3,390 s/f clubhouse style building that comprises of a leasing office, gym, cyber café, and small community room. The gym is anticipated to contain treadmills, benches, stationary bicycles, and free weights. The cyber café will also serve as a lounge, with computers being accessible for resident use. The community function space will also be available for rent for private events.

The redevelopment of this industrial property has been a 7 year collaboration and public private partnership between the city of Nashua, the Nashua Business and Industrial Development Authority (BIDA), the Nashua community, The Bonnette Family and Renaissance Downtowns as master developer. The total master plan calls for over 750 residential units and 100,000 s/f of retail space. This project is the first phase of the larger planned revitalization of the area that will have a powerful impact on this part of the city of Nashua, adding an infusion of activity and life. As a new eastern gateway into downtown Nashua, the Residences at Riverfront Landing brings a welcomed improvement to the city in the form of a residential complex. The project will bring some noticeable changes to the immediate area in the form of off-site street improvements, specifically, the incorporation of a new traffic light at the intersection of Bridge St. and D St. Another major component of this project is the relocation of the existing skate park, currently on the property. In a partnership with the city of Nashua, the skate park will be relocated to a city owned parcel of land adjacent to the Stello’s Stadium and the Conway ice arena.

Another notable feature includes new power feeds for the on-site cell tower that services T-Mobile, Nextel, and Sprint. As part of the overall storm water management the onsite paving areas will consist of a combination of porous and conventional pavement.

Work on the project began in mid-November, with completion scheduled for spring 2018. A ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled to take place on December 1st with participation by ownership, design and construction team and local, state, federal officials.

TFMoran provided civil engineering,  permitting, and landscape architecture services. The project architect is DeStefano Architects of Portsmouth, N.H. Funding for the project is being facilitated by Eastern Bank.

Please visit fulcrum-nh.com to learn more about Fulcrum and their project history.