Integrated transportation and recreation center at an existing suburban train station.
By George J Kimmerle, PhD, AIA, PP, NCARB
Recovery from a Global Pandemic
Redevelopment activity in the New York tristate region is searching for direction. Post-pandemic, there is pressure to redefine business, retail and residential redevelopment programs. The revised target forces everyone to take a longer look and a broader view of the various impacts this redefinition may bring.
Social justice movements tell us that seeking affordable housing solutions are long overdue. However, court-ordered scripted resolutions which oppose in-place zoning and master plans are loaded with hazards.
The Smart Growth and Transit-Oriented development programs are founded on principles of the logical integration of uses. The transit and open space ideas are shunted aside in the face of these mandated designated builder-remedy solutions … many of which will take DECADES to be realized based on the simple market metric of absorption.
Towns need to embrace their own housing programs to gain compliance regarding their legal Affordable Housing responsibility
Kimmerle Group (KG) recommends that most towns need to take responsibility of their housing roll out by:
- Integrating infill-direct build solutions for workforce, senior and special needs housing into their housing programs. Deferring to court-mandated quotas and set-asides will ultimately result in an incredible and unrealistic densification of their community, which is unwanted by existing and new residents alike — this reality in density cannot be avoided if their standards are followed.
- Towns need to partner with its Not-for-Profit and faith-based allies so they can engage in small and direct build (8-12 units) infills occurring over time for teachers, public employees and the needy along with a healthy mix of housing for seniors and young adults that may elect to stay in their home communities.
- Provide actual 24-hour Live/Work settings that people desire — this remedy is the perfect elixir for the woes of most towns and their current office and multifamily development issues. Transit, commutation, congestion and traffic disappear in these highly desirable Live/Work walkable environments.
- The integration of these uses in infill semi-urban clusters provides an opportunity to create inherently sustainable communities where workplaces, housing, recreation and retail/entertainment offerings are a short walk away.
- The tristate area is littered with single-use malls, research campuses and office parks all ripe for conversion to these integrated and environmentally sound new communities.
- Towns need to think about providing significant scaled ambulatory and medical office buildings that will form the foundation for providing family-based health services in the community. These multi-practice centers in both suburban and urban areas afford the key to providing a diverse and decentralized quality of care for everyone. Our involvement in these undertakings includes programs that address needed social services in these settings and to create a true health care hub for these subject communities.
It’s a direction and a strategy that also solves most investors’ long-term concerns for sustainable and predictable returns. A fundamentally sound conceptual development is behind every investment decision in any one of these redevelopment scenarios.
Moving forward together — we see infinite possibilities
KG has invested the intellectual capital and has developed the experience to make all of these possibilities a reality. From office, to retail, to housing, to alternate business, and health environments — we represent as a firm over 35 years of continuing practice experience in these evolving building types. We join with a longstanding group of for-profit development, corporate, institutional, governmental and not-for-profit partners in seeing these goals and new possibilities become a reality.
Kimmerle Group is engaged in all aspects of these evolving trends and the mechanics of making any one of them a reality
Informed by research conducted in the form of university-based dissertation studies in the factors impacting redevelopment policy and implementation, we are positioned to offer a larger view and broader sense of what is occurring in the Office, Industrial and Health care real estate markets of today.
Kimmerle Group is well positioned to engage with its clients daily in project-based solutions to these issues said project types through:
- KNA’s Architectural practice
- KG’s Project Management (inclusive of FFE divisions)
- KG’s Urban Planning & Design group, inclusive of Branding
- KG’s Medical Master Planning Group
- KG Real Estate Services, LLC
About the Author: George J. Kimmerle holds a PhD in redevelopment policy and planning, is a practicing architect, planner and urban designer and leads Kimmerle Group, a 35-member, 35-year design and planning firm with office locations in Harding, NJ, and NYC. He also leads the KG-affiliated “Community Design Workshop of Eastern CT,” from the firm’s Stonington, CT offices. Kimmerle is also a past adjunct at NYU’s Schack Real Estate Institute and a lecturer at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. His work is national in scope with completed projects and planning and feasibility studies in all 50 states.