Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2018

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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gallons of water every day — impacts families and business- es and hurts the economy overall." According to the ASCE report, by 2025 this type of inaction will translate into about $3.9 trillion in U.S. GDP losses and some 2.5 million jobs lost. Along with taking money out of people's pockets, in- frastructure-related costs can force retailers to increase their prices, thus hurting consumers still more, says Pallasch. "If it costs Walmart that much more money to ship goods, they are ultimately going to pass it on to you and me," he said. But Lamoureux sees the task force mission as broader than merely pushing for greater spending on infrastructure. Given the sheer pace of change in American society, she says, it makes sense to review how the relationship between retail and infrastructure is changing as well. "We're thinking, for instance, about challenges and opportunities for the retail sector as it relates to transit-oriented development," Lamou- reux said. "What can government do to help support more retail growth and development in and around transit nodes?" In many urban markets, the availability of mass transit is becoming increasingly important to the success of retail and mixed-use projects alike, observers say. "A lot of that has to do with the different demographic profile of the Millennial gener- ation," noted Lamoureux. "Millennials are less likely to own a vehicle, and they have more interest in walkable communities and public transit." In the New York City tristate area, for one place, the effects of this trend are already visible enough to developers, says Chase Welles, a broker and partner in the New York City office of the Atlanta-based Shopping Center Group. "I was talking to the developer of a 1,000-unit apartment com- plex in [the New York borough of Queens] recently, and he told me that a third of the people filling out applications for those apartments don't have driver's licenses," Welles said. "Everything is going to mass transit." But while mass transit is well established in New York, the city's aging subway system is notoriously overloaded and dilapidated, Welles points out. "It is a mob scene," he said. "e existing system is running with signals from the 1950s and is at capacity. ey can't run the trains any closer together, because the signals are part of an old analog system, with someone flipping switches in a dark basement somewhere." Replacing those signals could cost anywhere between $8 billion and $15 billion over a 10- or 15-year pe- riod, according to a plan reportedly under consideration by the New York City Transit Authority. Astronomical as those sums might sound, however, increasing numbers of New Yorkers now support rebooting the system, says Welles. "Everybody has realized that something needs to happen," he said. "at is the first step toward progress." As task force members study these issues, they will be weigh- ing the potential opportunities of reinvestment in existing tran- sit systems as opposed to, say, only building more highways, according to Lamoureux. "It may be less expensive to invest in transit improvements and to develop the nodes around that transit," she said. "If so, how can we make that happen in a more systemic way? And how can we help developers who want to do that [to] get shovels in the ground more quickly?" Along the same lines, says Lamoureux, the task force intends to look carefully at the effects on retail develop- ment of deferred maintenance on rundown or overtaxed roads, bridges, electrical grids, sewer systems and the like. e issue of deferred maintenance is critical because of its potential to limit or even scuttle development projects, says Robert J. Gibbs, president of the Birmingham, Mich.– based Gibbs Planning Group, which specializes in urban retail planning and develop- ment. "ere has been a lot of delayed maintenance, and a lot of delayed improvements, around the country," he said. "Projects oen stall because of a public perception that they will generate more traffic than the roads can handle, even though this is oen not true." at happened last year, when the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority canceled a $200 million development planned for its Brookhaven station, recalls architect Angelo A. Carusi, a task force member who is principal of the Cooper Carry retail group. "e MARTA station itself, which was an infrastructure investment from 30 or 40 years ago, provided this great opportunity for development," Carusi said. "But traffic was one of the issues that was difficult to overcome." De- ferred maintenance on the DeKalb County sewer system was 34 S C T / J U L Y 2 0 1 8 According to the American Society of Civil Engineers' most recent Infrastructure Report Card, the cumulative letter grade for U.S. infrastructure is an eye-widening D-plus, based on the conditions of 16 infrastructure categories that ASCE charts every four years

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