Archive for the ‘REAL ESTATE’ Category

Doyle Hollis Park. Courtesy Trust for Public Land.

Doyle Hollis Park. Courtesy Trust for Public Land.

By Peter Harnik and Ryan Donahue

From the February issue of LAM:

Emeryville, California, squeezed between Oakland, Berkeley, and the San Francisco Bay Bridge, has 10,000 residents and 20,000 daytime workers on only 1.2 square miles of land. For most of the 20th century it was an industrial center, known for meatpacking plants and a Sherwin-Williams paint factory. It has since evolved into a shopping destination and a hub for biotech and software.

Residents of Emeryville think the city needs more parks. The commuters think it needs more parking. In 1999, the city planning department started eyeing a warehouse site at Doyle and Hollis Streets for a six-story, 700-vehicle garage. The location wasn’t a good one: It abutted a low-density neighborhood, faced a middle school without playing fields, and would have thrown shade onto the new Emeryville Greenway. “We first considered putting the garage beneath a park,” says Diana Keena, an associate planner for the city, “but the site is so narrow that just the entryway would have consumed a third of the space.” The city also suggested a park surrounded by diagonal street parking, but that, too, would have swallowed most of the green space.

Neighbors who had coalesced a few years earlier to redesign the Emeryville Greenway as a park rather than as a tree-lined automobile street rose again, and after a long battle they persuaded the city council to rezone the block as open space and name it Doyle Hollis Park.

From then on the park moved steadily forward. The land was bought for $5.1 million in 2005, remediated of some petroleum contamination for $800,000, designed and built for $4.5 million, and opened in 2009. “During lunchtime on a sunny day, the place is packed with workers, kids, and food vendors,” notes Jim Martin, an original leader of Doyle Street Neighbors, which supported the park’s creation.


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U.S. Land Port of Entry, Warroad, Minnesota. Landscape by Coen + Partners; architecture by Julie Snow Architects. Photo by Frank Ooms

U.S. Land Port of Entry, Warroad, Minnesota. Landscape by Coen + Partners; architecture by Julie Snow Architects. Photo by Frank Ooms

For landscape architects, the signs from the General Services Administration could scarcely be more encouraging. There is a push by Christian Gabriel, ASLA, the national design director for landscape architecture at GSA, to expand the pool of talent available to his office, the Public Buildings Service, and to make the selection process more competitive. But in a bureaucracy, there’s only so much Gabriel can do; if you’re interested in working  with the agency for the first time, the process can seem opaque.

Tomorrow, you can take less than an hour to learn more about it. On Thursday, February 6, at 3 p.m. Eastern time, Gabriel and his colleague Joseph Imamura, ASLA, a contracting specialist at the GSA, are holding a 45-minute webinar to help demystify where you find GSA project announcements, what kinds of project delivery the agency relies on, and how to hack your way through the procurement thicket. 

Gabriel says the agency will soon pilot a new kind of short selection process that would prequalify landscape architecture firms as a way of involving more of them in the 9,000 or so small projects the agency does each year—not all of them landscape architecture projects, but many with site needs or security requirements to fulfill. Register here to join the webinar.

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Washington Business Journal

A vaunted program to preserve agricultural land in burgeoning Montgomery County, Maryland, is looking ahead to money problems for the next five years because, paradoxically, development has been down, and development in large part pays for the program through transfer taxes and investment income, the Washington Business Journal reports. The preserve, which covers 70,000 acres, has 561 farms that put tens of thousands of people to work. (Subscription required.)

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