REAL ESTATE AND MOBILITY
Right-to-charge laws bring the promise of EVs to apartments, condos and rentals
More than 3.6 million electric cars are driving around the U.S., but if you live in an apartment, finding an available charger isn’t always easy. Grocery stores and shopping centers might have a few, but charging takes time and the spaces may be taken or inconvenient. Several states and cities, aiming to expand EV use, are now trying to lift that barrier to ownership with “right to charge” laws.
Sparking Change – Electric vehicles put a charge into commercial real estate
The declaration of EV supremacy might sound like a bold statement, given that EVs represented not quite 6% of new vehicle registrations in 2022. But consider the growth: EV sales were barely 3% the year before. And that growth stands to be supercharged with a plan, announced in April by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, that calls for two-thirds of passenger cars and a quarter of heavy trucks to be all-electric by 2032. Consider, too, that global oil behemoth Shell at the end of March purchased Volta, one of the largest networks of privately operated EV charging stations in North America and Europe, declaring that it sees the coming of a post-carbon fueling future. It’s the vehicle-charging aspect of the EV revolution that promises to drive the most change for commercial real estate. The transition affects all manner of property types and their clients: office leaseholders looking to provide chargers to employees, industrial operations needing to fuel an electrified delivery fleet, retail centers desiring to attract and hold customers for a charging session, and multifamily properties providing an amenity-turned-necessity for tenants.
The Walkable Neighborhoods Americans Want May Be Closer Than We Think
Under the researchers’ definition, though, those “activity centers” didn’t always look like the dense, walkable downtowns and main streets that most homebuyers are vying for. They also included standalone mixed-use neighborhoods with a handful of cafes and churches but no bike lanes, or even arterial strip malls where no one would dare travel outside an automobile if given the choice. With that definition in mind, the analysts found that even in the most car-dependent places in America, a lot of people actually do live near a lot of places they should theoretically be able to walk to — and even if those busy nodes aren’t reachable on foot, those residents still traveled a shocking 14,500 fewer miles per year on average than their neighbors out in the sticks.
Parking Mandates Are Vanishing Across Oregon
In cities across Oregon, parking mandates are going out not with a bang, but a whimper. “It’s sort of been a sleeper issue here,” said Anne Catlin, the comprehensive planning manager for Albany, Oregon. When Albany repealed minimum parking requirements citywide earlier this June, not a single person from the public testified. Catlin didn’t recall the topic even making the newspaper. Normally, parking is one of the most contentious issues for local governments. Any relaxation of parking mandates—rules that prescribe a certain minimum number of parking spaces for any new home or business—is a political hot potato. But new state parking rules have taken that status quo off the table and turned what could be a big debate into a boring compliance exercise. “There really isn’t much to provide input on,” said Sandy Belson from the City of Springfield. “We’re just going to comply with the rules.”
Accommodating The Demand – Responding to the rise in electric vehicle adoption
Nearly 10% of global car sales in 2021 were electric, a market share four times higher than in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The same study cites 6.6 million EVs sold in 2021, doubling the sales from the prior year. The number of electric models available continues to increase; five times the number of EV models were available in 2021 than in 2015, according to IEA. This rapid increase means stakeholders will need to keep ahead of the EV trend to provide enough charging infrastructure and support to keep EVs as a viable mode of transportation. – Over the next decade, the increase in the number of EVs on the road is going to alter the planning of the modern roadway significantly. The future of successful electric mobility is tied to the readiness of EV infrastructure to handle this demand. EVs are turning the transportation industry on its head and will continue to significantly impact vehicle manufacturers and drivers, as well as energy, transportation and cybersecurity professionals.
The Seductive Vision Of Green Aviation
But arguably its key selling point — the reason HAV resuscitated a mode of aerial transport once thought to have gone down in flames with the Hindenburg — is that it’s green. Even powered by today’s kerosene-based jet fuel, the total emissions per kilometer from its four vectored engines will be 75% less than a conventional narrow-bodied jet covering the same distance. The Airlander of course is much slower. A maximum velocity of under 100mph means that it’s never going to compete directly with jet airliners. “We tend to think of it as sitting between the air and ground markets — a railway carriage for the skies,” Grundy told me.
These cities are ending fares on transit. Here’s why
Fares made up, on average, 12.5% of transit agencies’ operating expenses in 2021, down from 31.4% in 2019, according to the American Public Transit Association. This varies across agencies and type of transit: The largest and costliest systems rely the most on fares for funding, while smaller agencies are less dependent on fares. About two-thirds of transit agencies’ revenue comes from government. Of that, state and local government supply more than three-quarters. And the federal government spends much more on roads than transit: Eighty percent of the federal gas tax, which helps fund infrastructure projects, is devoted to roads. Twenty percent goes to transit.
Build-to-Rent Homes: A Promising Solution to Chronic Housing Shortages
When homeownership is increasingly out of reach for many, build-to-rent (BTR) housing offers a desirable alternative to traditional homeownership. First, BTRs provide flexibility that traditional homeownership cannot match. By renting rather than owning, tenants are free to move around the city or the country as their jobs, family situations or lifestyle decisions dictate. They can enjoy the benefits of urban or suburban living without being tied down to a particular location or property. Second, BTRs are often built to higher standards than traditional rental properties, with modern amenities and communal spaces that foster a community and belonging. These properties are often professionally managed, meaning that tenants can enjoy the benefits of high-quality maintenance and management without the stress and expense of managing a property themselves. And third, BTRs offer a high-quality home without homeownership mortgage and maintenance obligations.
The Battle Against Rent Control
Rent control is a rare instance where the research is fairly conclusive: It doesn’t work. These measures not only fail to improve the financial situation of most renters but also shift the burden of economic difficulties, inflation and other costs onto the housing provider with no counterbalance. This drives housing providers out of communities, stalls new development, reduces the supply of rental units, lowers property values, and over time harms that area’s economy. It is the type of “Band-Aid” policy that doesn’t come close to addressing the root issue and ultimately does more harm than if nothing had been done at all. So, what is the solution? Build more housing. Incentivize communities to invest in affordable housing and housing providers to participate in programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program, which assists low-income individuals with housing costs.
Proposition 123 – Colorado Affordable Housing Financing Fund
In November 2022, Colorado voters passed Proposition 123, a ballot measure authorizing the state to retain money from existing state tax revenue to support affordable housing investment. These funds are split 60/40 between the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) through its Division of Housing (DOH), respectively. OEDIT manages the Affordable Housing Financing Fund, in partnership with Colorado Housing and Finance Authority (CHFA), which serves as Contract Administrator. DOH manages the Affordable Housing Support Fund. The new website is dedicated to the Affordable Housing Financing Fund, which has priorities to supports land banking, equity, and debt investment to advance affordable housing across the state.
Reinventing the Airport as an All-in-One Facility
We are increasingly starting to see airports built for one specific purpose aspire to reinvent themselves to be a multipurpose all-in-one and one-in-all facility — an attempt to appeal to all air travelers and changing passenger profiles. The increased efficiency of aircraft has allowed for more international access to U.S. airports of all sizes and capacities. And as cities like Austin, Raleigh, and Columbus see population explosions, the need for more frequent transfers through hub airports continues to expand.
Community Land Trusts Are Working to Create New Homeowners
Founded during the Civil Rights era, community land trusts buy the land a house sits on and typically grant a 99-year ground lease to homeowners, ensuring a lower price point because buyers are technically purchasing only the house, not the land, according to the Grounded Solutions Network. When homeowners are ready to move on, they must sell the house back to the land trust at a restricted price, but can still earn equity based on a resale formula each land trust provides. In recent years, community land trusts have been quietly expanding across the country — nowhere near a pace swift enough to combat the housing crisis in the United States, but enough for people to take notice.
Denver Funds Another Hotel Purchase to Shelter, House Persons Experiencing Homelessness
Denver City Council Member Chris Hinds reports the City Council approved a $10,420,331 contract with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless (CCH) to help support its recent acquisition of the Clarion Hotel at 200 W. 48th Ave. The property will provide 108 income-restricted rental studios and 107 single room occupancy rooms to be operated as non-congregate shelter. The property, to be renamed Renewal Village following renovations later this year, is the largest hotel in Denver to be converted into shelter and housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The Clarion Hotel acquisition is the latest example of how HOST is investing in hotel/motel properties to support homelessness resolution and affordability. Other recent examples include:
• HOST provided $5 million in ARPA funding to support the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless’ acquisition of a former La Quinta Inn to continue providing shelter and future redevelopment into approximately 200 units of supportive housing.
• HOST has reached an agreement to provide $9 million to acquire a northeast Denver hotel site for conversion into supportive housing.
• HOST provided $983,456 to The Fax Partnership to acquire two East Colfax motels for family sheltering and future redevelopment into affordable housing.
Colorado Coalition for the Homeless Houses Resources for Denver’s Emergency Mission
CCH owns eighteen residential properties with more than 2,100 units across the metro area and Colorado. But the services that CCH offers beyond housing are the organization’s “secret sauce,” according to Fisher. More than 21,000 people received some kind of service through CCH in 2022, according to its annual report, including nearly 800 families. – About 94 percent of the people who are housed for the first time with CCH stay housed after that initial year off the streets, CCH estimates. Much of that comes from helping people with the cost of housing. Using housing vouchers, tax credits and government contracts, for example, CCH is able to offer units in downtown Denver for as low as $345 a month to people who qualify.
Tiny homes starting to be a big-deal solution for people priced out of Colorado’s housing market
Colorado has an estimated 3,000 tiny homes, but until House Bill 1242 there was no rule addressing how long someone could live in one. Larimer County started fielding more requests from residents who wanted to live in their tiny homes for more than 180 days. That prompted officials to push for legislation that calls for tiny home standards, including allowing people to reside in them long term, said state Rep. Cathy Kipp, a Democrat from Fort Collins. The result will be more viable housing options for Coloradans priced out of the traditional housing market, Kipp said.
Investors are buying mobile home parks. Residents and governments are pushing back.
To ward off the trend, mobile park communities across the county have formed cooperatives in order to purchase the properties themselves. On Monday, Golden Hills Mobile Home Park became the 311th community to be purchased by its residents and the sixth in Colorado, according to ROC USA. These communities have a high success rate, Bradley said. So far, none have defaulted on their loan, declared bankruptcy or sold the property back to the private market. That may be, in part, because in the long run monthly payments are more stable compared to rents paid to private owners.