Cherry Creek Perspective

Welcome to Cherry Creek Perspective – monthly news of mobility-related and affordable housing real estate throughout the Denver-metro area, and news of real estate, public sector and economic developments in the southeast Denver – Glendale area, relying in part on articles published in Real Estate Perspective.

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Each business day for Real Estate Perspective, the JRES staff reviews all Denver metro area wide and local newspapers, trade journals, government websites, blogs and other sources for commercial and residential real estate and economic news. News items are condensed into easily readable summaries providing all of the essential facts for the Real Estate Perspective newsletter. And Apartment Perspective, provides a detailed update of Denver metro area apartment rental, vacancy and development/construction activity including proposed projects.

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Denver Water Lead Reduction Program

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Global Real Estate and Real Estate Federal Tax Tips

The Global Real Estate Project is a program of the Franklin L. Burns School of Real Estate and Construction Management at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, directed by Dr. Mark Lee Levine, Professor and Endowed Chair. Dr. Levine also provides weekly updates of federal tax related real estate Tips, new publications and general updates to students, investors, and the general public for research of real estate opportunities both domestic and abroad.

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Mass Timber Construction Is Evolving Rapidly

Woodworks, a trade association that tracks the industry, documents 18% to 20% annual growth in projects planned or completed (roughly 2,000) in the U.S. Mass timber caught on faster in Europe, which accounts for half of the worldwide volume, according to a report from Allied Market Research. Allied forecasts 6% annual growth in the mass timber market for the next decade, but the number of new plyscrapers in the U.S. may exceed that. Many early tall timber buildings benefited from government subsidies that helped professionals work out technical kinks, including how to keep buildings dry during construction, soundproof walls and floors, limit energy consumption, and protect against earthquakes. Best practices and system details have been published for the next generation of practitioners.

The Towns Outsmarting Airbnb

So, in September of 2023, New York City decided to do something about it. A series of bold requirements capped the total number of short-term rentals (STRs) and limited guests to just two at a time. They required STR operators to be primary homeowners — and to be present in the home while hosting. The city also promised to enforce those requirements, a move that would wipe out nearly 90 percent of active listings at the time. Though it may sound revolutionary, New York’s crackdown isn’t the first of its kind. In fact, it’s part of a growing trend — one largely spearheaded by much smaller towns. Over the last decade, communities from Irvine, California, to Durango, Colorado, have implemented clever regulations, taxes and zoning policies to hobble the STR market — or, in some cases, eliminate it altogether.

The Obsolete Zoning Laws that Leave Downtowns Stagnant

If you’re looking to go into business on many of the commercial streets in downtown Seattle, there are quite a few things you won’t be allowed to do. You won’t be able to open an arts or crafts studio, a medical office, a research lab, a printing shop or a food processing operation. You might be pleased to learn that a nail salon, a coffee shop or a clothing store would be legal, but that might not be much consolation. If rules like this sound rather ridiculous, that’s because they are. They are based on the century-old system known in urban planning circles as “Euclidean zoning,” which determines the legality of business uses in designated areas based on what the proprietors do for a living. The idea was to keep downtown streets free of noxious enterprises such as factories and sweatshops that would be a nuisance to nearby residences. As the decades went by, however, the list of proscribed businesses grew in many places beyond the bounds of logic.



Mega drive-throughs explain everything wrong with American cities

Cities are increasingly wary of drive-throughs. In 2019, Minneapolis became the most high-profile US city to ban construction of new drive-throughs, as part of its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. “We knew based on studies that had been done nationwide that there are higher rates of air pollution in places where vehicles are idling,” McMahan said. Residents had long complained about drive-through lines spilling out onto city roads, she added, and they were more broadly at odds with the city’s livability goals. Before the city banned new drive-throughs (and parking minimums, which were eliminated two years later), McMahan said, “probably 50 percent of the time that we spent on a site was spent figuring out how vehicles were going to get in, be stored, and get out. And now we spend zero percent of our time thinking about that. … That means that time gets to be allocated to things like good-quality design and creating a better urban fabric.”

Making the trade-offs between parking and placemaking visible and actionable

The space claims necessary for ensuring the liveability of public spaces often clash with on-street parking demand for private vehicles. Balancing these needs in a fair discussion has proven difficult. Demand for parking is expressed in clear-cut numbers, while liveability is a more emergent and qualitative concept. This paper seeks to (1) define the physical values of liveability; (2) translate them into generic space claims; (3) confront these claims with the demand for parking places in existing urban neighbourhoods; and (4) explore how this information could inform public debate and policy.

Apartment Developers In LA Are Slashing Costs By Getting Rid Of Parking. Some Neighbors Aren’t Happy

The state’s density bonus law also lets 100% affordable projects reduce or eliminate on-site parking. Most of L.A.’s new low-income projects have zero parking, Developers in the city of L.A. are now seizing these opportunities, rolling out plans for thousands of new parking-free apartments. A recent analysis from real estate data firm ATC Research found that 73% of projects being proposed through L.A. Mayor Karen Bass’s affordable housing fast-tracking program ED1 feature no on-site parking. Some of those projects have drawn the ire of neighborhood groups.



A Trip Down Memory “Train”: A Brief History of Public Transit

With decades of low commitment to transit and instead investing in car dependence, transportation is now the largest sector of US greenhouse gas emissions, is the second largest household expenditure, and remains a key factor perpetuating inequities in our country. Now is the time to act—we need to electrify our vehicles, clean up our transportation fuels, and invest in transportation options and walkable neighborhoods to help us all thrive.

8 years into America’s e-scooter experiment, what have we learned?

Yet, as the industry matures and Lime — which, with operations in 280 cities worldwide, is the biggest player — moves further into its eighth year, researchers have shown that the eco-friendly dreams of shared micromobility have not materialized without problems. The true climate benefits of these fleets depends upon how companies deploy and manage them, and safety remains a concern as injuries climb. But industry leaders appear intent on ensuring their scooters are as sustainable and safe as possible.

Can Hydrogen Trains Revolutionize American Travel?

The debate is partly technological, revolving around whether hydrogen fuel cells, batteries, or overhead electric wires offer the best performance for different railroad situations. But it’s also political: a question of the extent to which decarbonization can, or should, usher in a broader transformation of rail transportation. For decades, the government has largely deferred to the will of the big freight rail conglomerates. Decarbonization could shift that power dynamic—or further entrench it. So far, hydrogen has been the big technological winner in California. Over the past year, the California Department of Transportation, known as Caltrans, has ordered 10 hydrogen FLIRT trains at a cost of $207 million. After the Arrow service, the next rail line to receive hydrogen trains is scheduled to be the Valley Rail service in the Central Valley. That line will connect Sacramento to California High-Speed Rail, the under-construction system that will eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Tractor-trailers with no one aboard? The future is near for self-driving trucks on US roads

The self-driving semi, outfitted with 25 laser, radar and camera sensors, is owned by Pittsburgh-based Aurora Innovation. Late this year, Aurora plans to start hauling freight on Interstate 45 between the Dallas and Houston areas with 20 driverless trucks. Within three or four years, Aurora and its competitors expect to put thousands such self-driving trucks on America’s public freeways. The goal is for the trucks, which can run nearly around the clock without any breaks, to speed the flow of goods, accelerating delivery times and perhaps lowering costs. They’ll travel short distances on secondary roads, too.



Housing market affordability is so strained that Home Depot is selling tiny homes for $63,000

In response to the escalating strain on housing affordability, Home Depot, a leading home improvement retailer ranked No. 20 on the Fortune 500 list, has continued to launch a range of tiny homes and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) on its website. Among the offerings is a 444-square-foot, two-bedroom rose cottage priced at $63,000. Dubbed as a “DIY Assembly Office Guest House ADU Rental Tiny Home,” the package includes necessary components delivered in parts, comprising the steel frame, siding, roof materials, exterior doors, and windows.

The sudden death of the American condo

One suspect is condo defect law, which has (at least in some states) swung so far that most builders and insurers won’t touch condos. Another is the fact that older condos have appreciated less than houses over time suggests that it’s not just construction problems. Going to the data, I’ll use owner occupancy rate as a proxy for condo status. It’s imperfect: some condos are rented out; some owner-occupants in smaller buildings own the entire structure. But it’s broadly available and allows comparisons across buildings of different vintages. The most striking piece of data is the extreme variation in owner occupancy of newish multifamily (5+) buildings: Hawaii is in a league of its own: 40% of multifamily units are owner-occupied. The next highest are New York, at 15%, and Illinois and DC at 12%. I left out 11 states that had fewer than 150 relevant respondents in the ACS.

Attainable housing model for cities nationwide

Two single-family lots (each about a third of an acre) were filled in with 16 courtyard units in Atlanta, creating a model for attainable workforce housing. Finley Street Cottages (FStC) consists of two historic houses, duplexes, accessory units, and guest houses grouped around a private courtyard—and no off-street parking. On the one hand, it’s transformative; on the other, it maintains the neighborhood’s character. According to public officials, the project is a creative response to the city’s housing crunch. “Finley Cottages is an example of the kind of housing innovation the private market is advancing to help make housing more affordable in Atlanta,” reports Joshua Humphries, Director of Housing and Community Development for the City of Atlanta.

The Real Culprit in Our Housing and Homelessness Crisis: Wall Street

This all really took off around a decade ago, when Morgan Stanley published a 2011 report titled “The Rentership Society,” arguing that—in the wake of the 2008 Bush housing crash—snapping up houses and renting them back to people who otherwise would have wanted to buy them could be the newest and hottest investment opportunity for Wall Street’s billionaires and their funds. Turns out Morgan Stanley was right. Warren Buffett, KKR, and the Carlyle Group have all jumped into residential real estate, along with hundreds of smaller investment groups, and the National Home Rental Council has emerged as the industry’s premiere lobbying group, working to block rent control legislation and other efforts to regulate the industry.

A (much) older example of social housing than Vienna

The only misleading bit in that astounding statement is the word “how,” since the archaeological record is a bit sparse on the motivations and methods front. It does, however, show clearly that it happened: Around 300 C.E., Teotihuacan’s major central temples fell suddenly and perhaps violently out of use, and the city of 100,000 people (i.e., not a tiny town or commune where everyone knew one another) developed itself into a grid of communal apartment blocks. The city had neighborhoods of folks who had migrated in from the same place, but apparently no rich or poor ones, and there was a remarkably high standard of living for all.

Build-to-rent fills an empty spot in metro Denver’s housing market

Large-scale build-to-rent communities first popped up in Phoenix about a decade ago and have quickly spread to several other metro areas. A record 27,500 BTR homes were constructed last year, which is 75% more than in 2022, according to counts from RentCafe. Phoenix leads the nation with 9,345 BTR homes delivered over the past five years. Other top markets include Dallas, Atlanta, Houston, Detroit and Charlotte, N.C. Metro Denver ranks 12th overall with 1,112 BTR homes added over the last five years and more than 2,000 total. “This is a different format that hasn’t been supplied en masse. I would expect it to be well received. You don’t have the same potential of oversupply as with other housing types,” said John Markovich, chief credit officer at FirstBank, which has financed BTR projects in Arizona and Colorado, including Dominic Row.

Legalizing Dense Development is the Single Most Effective Solution to the Housing Crisis

From 2010 to 2020, Austin added over 90,000 housing units (which includes all types of housing such as houses, townhomes, condos, and apartments). This construction spree has recently accelerated due to numerous changes in the zoning code to allow dense housing in more places. Now with the completion of 24,000 units since 2020 and more in the pipeline—37,000 under construction and 28,000 proposed, (that’s 84,000 more housing units total) this aggressive expansion of housing supply has directly led to the reduction in rental prices, with a 2.8% drop in rent over the past year, and a drop of 14.29% in rental rates October 2023 alone.

How Factory-Built Modular Housing Reduces the Cost of Affordable Housing Construction

Factory-built homes, not to be confused with manufactured homes, provide a cost-effective solution to produce affordable housing. While both factory-built homes and manufactured homes are both prefabricated, the difference comes down to quality. Manufactured homes are typically not attached to a foundation and are governed by HUD building standards. This causes them to lag behind in terms of energy efficiency and material quality. A factory-built home is permanently attached to a foundation and held to the same International Residential Code (IRC) as every other home in Colorado.