Waterfront Gateway Project | City of Vancouver, Washington
Developer sought for prime opportunity to shape the heart of downtown Vancouver.
On March 19, 2021, ULI Northwest in Portland hosted its first UrbanPlan workshop for community members and residents of the Southwest Corridor neighborhood. ULI Northwest’s UrbanPlan Committee worked with partner organization Unite Oregon to initiate the virtual Pilot Program.
UrbanPlan is a realistic and engaging exercise in which participants learn the fundamental forces that affect development in our communities. Participants experience challenging issues, private and public sector roles, complex trade-offs, and fundamental economics in play when proposing realistic land use solutions to vexing growth challenges.
In the workshop, participants were assigned to a team and given one of five roles: City Liaison, Financial Analyst, Marketing Director, Neighborhood Liaison, and Site Planner. Each team worked collectively to respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the fictional Yorktown Redevelopment Agency. The teams competed to redevelop the 5.5 block area of the City of Yorktown’s Elmwood District. The RFP states that the agency is “seeking a developer who can create a sustainable, economically vibrant, distinctive district that reflects the historical activities and services of the area; encourage cross-generational interactions; and takes maximum advantage of the surrounding commercial, educational and cultural resources; and acknowledges the site’s prime access to mass transit.”
Prior to the all-day workshop on March 19, ULI Northwest hosted a virtual Meet and Greet on Monday, March 15 to provide an opportunity for volunteers and community members to meet before diving into the UrbanPlan curriculum.
The workshop kicked off with ULI instructors Katie Anderson, Consultant/Owner, Pacifica Creative & Quincy Jones, Director of Programs for Neighborhood Preservation Inc. in Memphis, TN, welcoming the participants and volunteers and laying the groundwork for the all-day workshop. While normally participants design their fictitious site using LEGOs representing different building types, the virtual teams put together their site plan using an online building platform. The four teams were challenged to work through their first draft of vision statements, site plans, and financial models before teams of ULI member volunteer facilitators provided feedback on each group’s progress through Socratic Method questioning. The teams were then given a little time to revise their plans before the lunch break.
After the lunch break and short virtual dance party, the teams prepared to present their proposals to a mock city council comprised of volunteer ULI members. While the city council was very impressed by all of the groups, after careful deliberation, the council chose Group 3 as the winner of the RFP. The council commended Group 3’s strong vision statement, dedication to building affordable housing, and emphasis on job creation, all while meeting or exceeding the financial requirements. The group was awarded the coveted prize of UrbanPlan bragging rights.
After a round of applause for the groups, Nolan Lienhart from ZGF closed the day out with a presentation on how to apply lessons learned at UrbanPlan to local development projects. He highlighted the Portland Broadway Corridor and facilitated an engaging conversation on the important relationship between developers and community partners.
Participants provided positive feedback about their experience. A participant stated that the workshop exceeded their expectations and underscored the importance of collaboration in community development projects. Another participant felt like they had a better understanding of the financial element of real estate development and is excited to participate in more workshops in the future.
ULI Northwest would like to thank all the participants, ULI volunteers, the UrbanPlan Committee, and instructors Katie Anderson and Quincy Jones for their time and dedication to making this virtual event possible.
If you are interested in learning more about the UrbanPlan workshop, please contact Victoria Oestreich, Manager at ULI Northwest in Oregon/SW Washington.
ULI Northwest UrbanPlan Committee
Chair: Ian Carlton, ECONorthwest
Katie Anderson, Pacifica Creative
Stacy Blanton, Capstone Partners
Joana Filgueiras, Prosper Portland
Julie Gibson, PSU Center for Real Estate
Jenny Jenkins, Urban Asset Advisors
Murray Jenkins, Ankrom Moisan Architects
Ashley Koger, LEVER Architecture