Developers: Make it your ownMay 2, 2012 by: Samuel Scheib
Real estate developers are often understandably frustrated when dealing with government red tape: concurrency, zoning, impact fees, and the rest. In Tallahassee the builders of new development, especially when it is dense student housing, are usually called upon to incorporate some transit facilities for their future residents to use and typically these requests don’t go down well. This is always surprising because it is a direct benefit to those future residents and quality transit facilities can make the complex more attractive; the converse is also true: a stop sign in the mud can detract from the property.
Something I always ask of developers is, instead of paying us for adding one of our stock shelters, build one that matches the style/architecture of the development, and after years of asking someone finally took me up on the offer. Let this stand as a reference for Landmark Properties. It should not come as too much of a surprise because they are out of Athens, home of the University of Georgia and the most transit efficient city in the United States by my measure (see A Weak Platform). They get it.
Their development is called The Retreat and it is a craftsman-styled student housing complex. While I personally would prefer them to build multi-story structures up near the street, what they did was the next best thing. My eyes about popped out of my head when the builder sent over the handsome design for a craftsman shelter to match his development. It is spacious enough to handle demand, made of stone and and even uses craftsman light fixtures. He worked with me on ADA-accessibility and siting the stop and then produced a design that is not only a great advertisement for the development and an amenity for transit passengers, but also enriches the built environment on a street named–wait for it–Mission Road.