Why is now a key time to invest in learning and development in the property sector?
Charlotte said: “Within the property industry, there often isn’t the structure in place to ensure optimum learning and development for property staff. The disruption of the pandemic has brought with it some accelerated positives, such as unlocking the potential for online learning and a new-found appreciation for career development and learning across all sectors.”
Edward said: “The property sector needs to be continually prepared for what’s next, so training for that is essential, even if it doesn’t feel valuable right now. A big part of winning engagement with Estate Agents is to make learning convenient and immersive, as well as fun.
“If training is a big task that takes up huge blocks of time, it’s hard for businesses and employees to see how it fits into the working day, which makes it easier push it down to the bottom of the list, until the business realises how much the training is needed. If businesses make training a convenient ongoing task that team members can come back to whenever they have 10 minutes spare, it becomes much less like a chore and a lot more enjoyable.”
How can we shape learning and development to be more effective for property professionals?
Edward said: “The younger generations, like Gen Z and Millennials are digital natives and they’re very used to having multiple screens and apps open. This has an interesting influence on people’s expectations of content – they want to be able to pick it up and put it down wherever they want.
“That means short, snappy and consistent training, but what is also means is that when it comes to learning about new products and services, they’ll likely want to have access to look around, want to experience it for themselves and access it on the device they respond to best. People want the whole journey to link up a cross their laptop, tablet and phone.”
Charlotte continued: “It‘s almost certain that the ongoing development of video content will shape training and development in the property industry over the coming years. A desire for a wider range of content – not just industry specifics – will drive learning for new skillsets outside of the traditional property-focused qualifications.
“As the industry continues to embrace online learning, there will be an appetite for a wide range of holistic content, encompassing skills and knowledge around the likes of wellbeing, leadership, customer service, social media and digital marketing.”
What are the essential elements to creating a successful learning platform?
Charlotte explained: “According to LinkedIn’s 2022 Workplace Learning Report, ‘opportunities to learn and grow’ are the top priorities of great working culture. For training to be successful, the underpinning element has got to be the individual. You can teach the group ethos, company value and topic focuses, but if you haven’t got that underpinning knowledge in place for the individual, that they’ve been able to gain flexibly and in a way that suits their own particular learning style, the development of staff won’t be truly effective. A lack of individually-tailored training assumes that everyone is at the same level, but in the property industry they’re definitely not.”
Edward added: “When I think about how I take in any new information I never get anything spot on first time, I need to practice, repeat, make mistakes, ask questions, and test different scenarios. When you’re learning you will naturally make mistakes, and not everyone responds well to doing that publicly amongst their peers. What often works better is creating a digital environment in which it is safe to learn and to fail, because it feels like a video game. It’s fun and competitive but no one is looking over your shoulder if you do take a wrong turn through the training.
“What Estate Agents can learn from tried and tested gamified knowledge transfer is that by creating a ‘safe’ physical experience that replicates real life scenarios, people take in more information and are able to implement new products and services faster – we see this all of the time in retail and sales.”
What do you think is a key piece of advice for agencies wanting to innovate and progress learning and development?
Edward said: “Estate Agents are known for their competitive nature, and it’s what makes the industry so savvy and fast paced. My advice to agents is to play to this strength and tap into that competitive nature. We all like to win, and the elements used in gamified knowledge transfer make the whole experience competitive. It’s playing to the psychology and the proven tactics that ensure we take in information, especially when it comes to new technology, products, or services.”
Charlotte concluded: “Be very clear with the goals that you want your training to achieve and choose a training resource that enables flexibility. Many of The Able Agent’s clients do training modules on their phone when they’ve got a quick 15-minutes to spare, so ensuring that training is accessible remotely and on a range of devices is key.”
Find more expert insights in the latest issue of Tech of a Life.
*Ben Ridgway is managing director of iamproperty
NITRO, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Faye Bowles said she has lived on 24th Street in Nitro for almost 30 years and said she has seen plenty of changes in the neighborhood.
“When I first moved in, there was a doctor’s office at the corner and there was a lot of traffic around,” she recalled. “Then, when the doctor passed away, the building became rental homes for families.”
However, she said as the years passed, so have the condition of the homes.
“After the families moved in, it seemed like the properties started to go downhill,” she said as the families moved out, conditions around the homes deteriorated. “You see somebody strange lurking. You wonder if they are staying in an abandoned building, if they are up to something.”
Nitro City Planner Kim Reed shared sentiments. She said through the last few years, abandoned buildings in Nitro have been more than just an eyesore to those who live in the neighborhood. She said the buildings also create health and safety hazards to first responders who regularly take calls of incidents in there.
“If the properties are not being cared for they’re not helping anyone, they’re creating a serious concern for first responders that have to come in and deal with the boarded up houses and squatting and vacancy,” she said. “In some of these houses they’ve been vacant for eight, nine, ten years. It’s a real dangerous situation.”
Reed said the city plans to use about $350,000 from in Rehabilitation Environmental Action Plan funds to use to demolish at least 20 buildings Nitro has acquired in recent years, which include former commercial and residential buildings.
Once demolished, the city plans to use the spaces for new commercial buildings, new homes or sell to neighboring residents to expand their properties.
Regardless of a property’s future use, Reed said residents who live near the buildings will still live on streets that meet city code and continue to receive city services.
“Everybody is excited to see what could come, what the future holds, what could come in its place,” she said. “We want to be part of the conversation, solution and create new opportunities.”
Bowles said there are a few options to help residents the city could take.
“It’d be nice to get another grocery store or something, right now we’re limited to what we could get in Nitro.”
Reed said a more concrete timeline on the buildings’ demolition will be available once the state approves for the city to proceed.
In the meantime, the city said some of the buildings are being temporarily repurposed, for example, some buildings on 24th street are being used as training spaces for the Nitro firefighters.
Copyright 2022 WSAZ. All rights reserved.
Toyota announces $1 million investment in Triad education programs
In an effort to enhance workforce readiness, Toyota announced a $1 million investment to expand education opportunities for students in the North Carolina Triad.The community investment to support workforce development was announced Saturday during the Liberty Fall Festival. The funding aims to increase student access to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education in the area.”We have 2,100 jobs to fill in North Carolina, so better preparing our next generation workforce is critical,” Sean Suggs, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC) president said in a news release announcing the investment. “Toyota is committed to providing resources, time and knowledge to help build stronger communities in which we operate. We’re grateful for our education partners that share the same passion.” At the end of last year, North Carolina government officials had announced the construction of a Toyota battery manufacturing plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.According to the automotive manufacturer, Toyota recently announced an additional investment of $2.5 billion in its newest North American facility, TBMNC, resulting in the creation of 350 new jobs. Bringing the Liberty facility’s total investment to $3.8 billion, creating 2,100 direct jobs.Communities in Schools of Randolph County (CiSRC) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) will each receive $500,000 to help strengthen STEAM education programs that support career readiness.
In an effort to enhance workforce readiness, Toyota announced a $1 million investment to expand education opportunities for students in the North Carolina Triad.
The community investment to support workforce development was announced Saturday during the Liberty Fall Festival. The funding aims to increase student access to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics) education in the area.
“We have 2,100 jobs to fill in North Carolina, so better preparing our next generation workforce is critical,” Sean Suggs, Toyota Battery Manufacturing, North Carolina (TBMNC) president said in a news release announcing the investment. “Toyota is committed to providing resources, time and knowledge to help build stronger communities in which we operate. We’re grateful for our education partners that share the same passion.”
At the end of last year, North Carolina government officials had announced the construction of a Toyota battery manufacturing plant at the Greensboro-Randolph Megasite.
According to the automotive manufacturer, Toyota recently announced an additional investment of $2.5 billion in its newest North American facility, TBMNC, resulting in the creation of 350 new jobs. Bringing the Liberty facility’s total investment to $3.8 billion, creating 2,100 direct jobs.
Communities in Schools of Randolph County (CiSRC) and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NC A&T) will each receive $500,000 to help strengthen STEAM education programs that support career readiness.
That was especially true for moderates and liberals, but also for some conservative voters like Montoya. Rising housing costs also are a major component of inflation, which was the top priority for voters across the board. For example, the median rent in Colorado Springs has grown 38 percent in the last four years, while home prices are up 70 percent in Pueblo.
It’s part of a national trend, but Montoya wants candidates in Colorado to answer these questions: “Is there a fix in the future? Is there better times? What’s their goal for a year from now, five years, 10 years? Or is it just (prices) keep going up until you’re forced to move out in Colorado?”
With those challenges in mind, CPR News interviewed Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger, Heidi Ganahl, about their approach to the state’s housing market over the next four years.
Different approaches, same goal: more homes
Housing shortages can be traced to many roots.
The state saw a dramatic reduction in housing production after the Great Recession, leaving it with a shortfall of new apartments, condos and houses. Colorado also is seeing the long-lived effects of under-investment in affordable housing, advocates say. And it’s all been exacerbated by rising costs for labor and materials following the pandemic.
For his part, Polis described housing as a top priority should he win a second term, hinting at significant new steps that could give the state government a stronger role in what gets built, and where.
The governor said the state must work with cities to reform zoning codes and encourage dense, sustainable development along transit corridors, while limiting exurban sprawl.
“It’s a discussion that the state has to have. And if we take action now, I think we can avert some of the devastatingly high housing costs of California and other states,” he said. “You know, people complain about the housing costs in Colorado, rightfully so. But (local housing costs are) still 40 or 50 percent less than California. We don’t wanna become California.”
His challenger, Ganahl, said that housing prices are affecting everyone, including her own 26-year-old daughter, who is living at home in Douglas County because of high rental prices. She described herself as a convener who would help local governments plan for “new, cool, innovative” housing, while also trying to cut regulations that slow construction.
“I will be all about vision, and building a vision for our state and what our future looks like here. And I think we’ve got a lot of opportunity to do things differently,” she said.
For both candidates, government-subsidized affordable housing programs were a secondary focus, even though that’s been one of the state legislature’s main strategies to address housing in recent years.
Instead, they converged on one idea: It’s time for Colorado to build more housing, especially by unleashing private development, and it must do so fast.
Polis says he’ll push for density in second term
Polis said that Colorado’s main housing problem is a lack of housing production. And the state should respond, he said, by encouraging dense and sustainable development.
“In many ways, the lack of housing is a completely contrived problem. It’s a problem of our own making. And we can unleash and remove barriers to significantly more opportunities for housing,” he said.
Housing production in Colorado fell off sharply after the Great Recession. It had nearly recovered as the pandemic set in, but is threatened again now by rising interest rates and a shaky market.
The “bigger issue,” Polis explained, is the “hesitancy” of cities and counties to reform zoning rules and other policies that shape development.
“Really, what we need to figure out as a state is how people can afford to live close to where jobs are,” he said. “Exurban sprawl is not the answer. We need to make sure that we get cars off the road, save people time and money on their commute, reduce pollution and have more opportunities to reduce costs and live affordably, close to where your work is.”
Right now, the state has little direct power to encourage cities to make it easier to build more densely, or to discourage suburban sprawl. It can influence those questions indirectly, especially in how it builds roads and other transportation infrastructure. But it’s local governments who generally make the ultimate decisions about zoning and building codes.
Polis said that under his leadership, the state has already offered “carrots” to encourage what he considers better development. Areas that embrace density and public transit are eligible for larger amounts of federal money under laws passed by Democrats this year.
“What we’ve done is we’ve tied a lot of that to local zoning reforms,” he said.
He described the incentives as an “initial piece” to ensure “that it wasn’t just money shoved into a failing system that fails to deliver housing close to where jobs are, but it (instead) was aligned with incentives for local government to do the right things with regard to an inter-jurisdictional approach to housing,” he continued.
Asked how else he would encourage local zoning reforms, Polis started by describing a “partnership” between the state and cities in his potential next term.
“This is going to be a lot of our work and my focus … is to really solve rather than just pretend to solve, or throw money at, or talk around the edges of the housing affordability crisis in the state,” he said, describing conversations he intends to convene across party lines with everyone from housing, business and industry advocates to environmentalists and others.
But that still leaves a bigger question. Many local leaders have long considered development rules and zoning to be a matter of “local control” — an important concept that has allowed Colorado cities to have power over their own domains. Unsurprisingly, it’s a precedent that local leaders tend to defend zealously.
Would Polis embrace mandates, or a generally stronger role for the state government in housing, CPR News asked?
Polis’ response made clear that he doesn’t see local control as an ironclad rule when it comes to development.
“I think that the state is already involved with housing, of course. What we find more and more is the decisions of one community impact not only themselves,” Polis said.
And issues that cross local boundaries, he said, start to go beyond local control. Local control, he argued, “is about the idea you control your own destiny. It’s not, you control the destiny of your neighbors.”
Polis compared housing to transit, which the state is more active in planning and funding.
“We will succeed or fail as a state based on our ability to deliver housing (so) that people can actually afford to enjoy the great life that our state offers and thrive,” he said.
Ganahl targets regulations, calls for rural opportunities
Heidi Ganahl similarly believes that government is getting in the way of development that could ease the housing crunch.
Asked why housing is so expensive, she said that a quarter of the cost of building new residential units come from regulations, including taxes and fees.
“You’ve got to incentivize builders to build here and make it feasible for them to do business,” she said.
Ganahl named a few specific causes, such as lawsuits over defects in condo construction, as well as taxes, fees and “the regulations and red tape” at both the city and state levels.
Like Polis, she wants to see cities allow for greater development, and she sees herself as a “partner” in making that happen.
“We also have to honor this idea that it’s really up to the local municipalities to manage their growth, but I can partner with them as a governor, and incentivize them,” she said. She’s interested in ideas like redeveloping malls into housing, creating tiny home villages and encouraging European-style development with “smaller, more efficient” units.
It’s not clear yet what she would do to encourage that kind of development over the next four years. Later in the interview, Ganahl reiterated that she was hesitant to interfere with local government decisions.
“I think it depends on the issue, but overall, I defer to local municipalities or governments to make those decisions. But I can certainly incentivize them and talk about other places that are doing it really well around the world and how we can emulate them and make it exciting and fun and creative.”
That’s similar, in principle, to Polis’ use of financial incentives to encourage greater density. But Ganahl said she didn’t support that kind of use of government funds to influence local policy.
“You know me, I’m more about letting the free markets do their thing and using other kinds of incentives. We’ve got a lot of problems we’ve gotta solve in Colorado that we need our government funds for, so I think there’s other ways to do it,” she said.
Asked how else she would incentivize innovative ideas, as she hopes to do, Ganahl said she would work with others to develop a plan. She said she was interested in the work of a group of CU architecture students who have been reimagining main streets, as well as a free market-focused think tank called the Common Sense Institute.
In the same answer, Ganahl added that she would fight for water rights.
“That’s one of the most important things I can do as governor, is not defer to the federal government to decide what’s right for our water. Coloradans should make those decisions,” she said. “And we are the ones who should decide what smart growth looks like, not hand that decision off to the feds.”
She also raised the possibility of helping small towns grow, if they wish, by developing broadband and jobs.
“Let’s make sure they have the tools and resources to attract young people moving into the town, or their kids staying there — like healthy broadband and opportunity. And with this work-from-home shift from COVID, I think it’s very possible to see our growth happen in more of the smaller towns across our state.”
(Polis didn’t raise broadband in his interview, though he signed a recent executive order to develop a plan “to connect 99% of Colorado households to high-speed broadband by 2027,” along with legislation dedicating money to the cause.)
Ultimately, Ganahl said, the state has to work together to plan for its growth.
“I think it comes back to water, for the most part, and making sure we have enough water to grow, at the right pace,” she said. “But this is a conversation we need to have with the people of Colorado and the local municipalities and the small towns across our state about what their heart is for their neighborhoods and their streets,” she said.
What about designated affordable housing?
Both candidates remained focused throughout their interviews on the question of how to encourage and plan for development. They put much less emphasis on funding for designated affordable housing programs, where the government subsidizes development with below-market costs for residents.
The state currently has record amounts of federal money — about $650 million — going into housing and homelessness programs, but those spending levels will recede in the years to come. Aside from this short-term boost, the baseline spending is about $50 million a year.
Voters also have another housing choice on the ballot. Proposition 123 is the first statewide ballot measure for affordable housing funding, obligating the state to dedicate some $300 million of the annual budget to the cause. The measure wouldn’t raise taxes, but instead divert money from other programs.
Polis declined to say whether he supports Prop. 123, saying he’s still reviewing it. Ganahl’s campaign did not respond to a follow-up question about her position on the measure.
Asked if he would prioritize an increase to affordable funding levels in general, Polis didn’t give a firm answer.
“The housing challenge we face is not an issue that we can buy our way out of. And so what I’m more interested in solving are the policy reasons that Colorado has a housing affordability crisis,” he said.
He continued: “Money’s a part of it. Some of that can come from public-private partnerships. Some of that can come from housing authorities. Some of that could come from the state, where we are flush (with money) over the next several years. And there is a question about what we would do in the long term, but it all will be determined, whether it works, by how we’re able to remove barriers to the kind of housing that we need in our state.”
He pointed out that affordable housing generally means rental units, which he sees as necessary and welcome. But he said the ultimate goal is the kind of intergenerational wealth building and secure retirement that comes through home ownership.
“We’d really like to build the (subsidized) affordable housing program. It’s helpful to provide a place to live. But it should never hold us back from the kind of reforms we need to build more housing that’s affordable … for people to be able to purchase and own and benefit from the appreciation.”
Polis added that he supports models like community land trusts.
Ganahl, like Polis, is doubtful that government-subsidized housing can solve the housing problem by itself.
“It’s not working fast enough, so we’ve gotta have some big, bold ideas on tackling this issue, or we’re gonna have some real problems here. Our kids and grandkids aren’t gonna be able to stay here,” she said.
NEW YORK, Sept. 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — New York-based HPP Real Estate, a division of Hill Property Partners LLC (HPP), is pleased to announce it has closed on the recapitalization of North Hill Apartments, a 148-unit multifamily rental property located in Virginia Beach, Va., just one year after purchasing the asset.
The recapitalization marks the first transaction between HPP and Machine Investment Group (MIG)—a real estate investment platform focused on opportunistic, distressed, and special situations across the United States—as the two companies look to form a strategic partnership to buy value-add properties throughout the country.
“We are very pleased to have accomplished this portion of our business plan for North Hill—to complete an institutional level recapitalization following the implementation of an asset repositioning program that included extensive on-site capital improvements and a rebranding strategy that resulted in a higher rent trajectory for the property,” said Griffin Hoffmann, Partner at HPP Real Estate. “Eric and the MIG team are experienced, dedicated and a pleasure to work with. Their institutional investment platform is a perfect complement to HPP’s platform; we are excited to continue our partnership together moving forward.”
HPP acquired the 126,936-square-foot property in September 2021 for $28,175,000. Following the purchase, HPP embarked on a significant multimillion-dollar capital improvement program that included a full rebranding of the property; the addition of a state-of-the-art fitness center; and a renovation of the facility’s pool area, a revamped dog park, gut renovations of individual units, and additional updates throughout the property. HPP also retained Greystar to manage the property. As a result, HPP has realized rent increases of 25-plus percent property wide in less than 12 months. Renovations at the property are expected to be completed in Q4 of 2022.
The new joint venture plans to complete the value-add program that has been implemented and continue to reposition the asset into a class A rental community in the desired Hilltop submarket of Virginia Beach, Va. just minutes from the beach.
“The closing of this transaction with MIG marks the successful realization of HPP’s strategy to combine the depth of our GP family office-based capital structure with top tier institutional level LP investment partners”, added Mitchel Hill, Managing Partner at HPP Real Estate.
“HPP’s operational experience, creativity and professionalism made them an excellent partner to team up with on the recapitalization of North Hill Apartments. The institutional quality of this multi-family asset and HPP’s plans for it fit nicely within our fund as we continue to deploy capital across the U.S,” said Eric Rosenthal, co-founder and managing partner of MIG. “We look forward to working with HPP on future transactions in the near term.”
HPP is seeking to make significant GP and Co-GP investments in the near term with a target investment range per transaction of between $1.5 to $10 Million in GP capital, while MIG recently announced the closing of Machine Real Estate Fund I with approximately $350M in primary and co-investment capital to identify value-add and opportunistic investments across all commercial asset classes and capital stack positions.
About North Hill Apartments
Built in 1985 and renovated in 2022, North Hill Apartments features 148 two-bedroom residences with an average unit size of 858 square feet. The complex is located within the exclusive Hilltop Retail Corridor, one of the most desirable neighborhoods in all of Virginia Beach due to its robust collection of national and local retailers. Nearby retailers include grocers such as Trader Joes, Walmart, Target and Whole Foods. North Hill Apartments is less than 8-minutes from the Virginia Beach oceanfront and boardwalk, creating a unique sense of place and amenity for residents. For more information on North Hill Apartments, please visit https://www.livenorthhillapts.com/#
IMAGES: To view and download images of North Hill Apartments, please visit: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/6no02o9iiehpthl/AACsAg44nT1hWfftDUee1N4Ya?dl=0
HPP Real Estate LLC, a division of Hill Property Partners, (“HPP”) is a private investment firm that focuses on acquiring and developing commercial and multifamily real estate investments throughout the United States. As an owner, operator, and developer, HPP strives to achieve above market returns for its investors and partners by combining an opportunistic strategy with diligent and conservative underwriting and leveraging extensive relationships in the industry to source and execute creative and unique deals. Backed by significant family offices, HPP focuses on GP, Co-GP and controlling LP opportunities. HPP has also placed multiple debt investments through its lending program. Founded in 2015 by managing partner Mitchel Hill, and with the addition in 2021 of partner Griffin Hoffmann, HPP has acquired, developed, and invested in over 10,000 multi-family units, as well as multiple mixed use and commercial office properties in various US markets. HPP’s offices are currently located in New York City and Port Washington, NY. For more information, please visit https://hillpropertypartners.com
Machine Investment Group is a real estate investment platform focused on opportunistic, distressed, and special situations across the United States. Founded by former senior executives from Garrison Investment Group, Machine invests primarily in the middle market, where its reputation as a reliable counterparty, its solutions-oriented approach and extensive lender relationships distinguishes the firm from the competition. Machine’s strict risk discipline, institutional operating processes and well-developed sourcing network has been cycle-tested and is designed to deliver consistent, opportunistic returns while minimizing losses. For more information, please visit https://machineinv.com
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b8f5a1cb-99df-404a-8b40-d59503d36f99
The Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority (ARHA) has announced some next steps for plans to redevelop Ladrey High Rise, a public housing building in Old Town North.
The current building is an 11-story, 170-unit high rise building housing seniors and residents with disabilities. The redevelopment plans will see that building and an adjoining property demolished for a new mid-rise construction. The new development is slated to be a one-to-one replacement of the units on the site.
The building primarily houses seniors and residents with disabilities. ARHA said in the release the new development will increase the number of units on-site that are committed affordable units.
The building is currently fully occupied, with residents temporarily relocated during redevelopment. Earlier development plans noted that current residents will have a right to return — priority on new units given to current residents displaced during construction.
“This is the next big step in our plan for improving housing and the quality of life for all residents in our city,” said ARHA CEO Keith Pettigrew. “When completed, the units in the Ladrey High Rise will rival other modern housing developments in Alexandria. We look forward to hitting the ground running so that we can get these longtime residents into their brand-new homes as soon as possible.”
New amenities in the redevelopment include underground parking, meeting exercise and service rooms, and a community plaza. Residents will also have access to rooftop amenity spaces. ARHA said the redevelopment was spurred on in part by a need to make the building more accessible to residents with disabilities.
Kenneth Burton, a 20-year resident of Ladrey who uses a power wheelchair, said the in the release that the current building is not designed for him to easily get around.
“We are the ones who are going to live here, who will utilize the building day in day out, so it’s good to have a voice in the process,” Burton said. “We have been told Ladrey would be renovated and upgraded many times before, but it hasn’t happened yet. But now this time, I believe it will.”
In a release, ARHA said it selected Winn Companies and developer IBF Development to help spearhead the redevelopment plans. The project still has to work through the city’s redevelopment process.
“Both firms have extensive experience developing quality affordable housing communities regionally and nationally,” ARHA said in the release. “The proposed development plan will replace all the current Ladrey units and increase the number of apartment homes available to working households.”
Photo via Google Maps
Advocates say holiday homes bring a level of wealth and spending to an area which otherwise would have less; they claim local people choose to sell to outsiders when they could select locals if they wish; and they believe there is a moral right for people to spend their money as they wish, including on multiple properties.
Opponents cite second homers unloading boxes of London Waitrose shopping as evidence that they don’t inflate the local economy as much as they claim; and with housing supply limited, holiday homes take the stock which otherwise would go to local people, and then drive up the prices of the remaining stock to unaffordable levels.
No matter how passionate the debate, it’s one we’ve all heard before.
But – to use a term which is not meant to be as glib as it sounds – we are where we are.
Second homes exist and there’s every evidence that the new Liz Truss government is going to enshrine both the inequalities and individual freedoms which mean second homes are likely to become more common, not less, in the short term.
So here is an idea.
Why don’t we do as some other countries do and have purpose-built blocks and schemes dedicated to second homes?
At the cheap and cheerful end, that’s what caravan parks are in effect. And there are a few examples at the luxury new build end of the market too – Watermark, a successful development in the Cotswolds is perhaps the most well known, and is extremely well regarded.
The reasoning behind Watermark was that by giving an area designated for holiday homes, pressure from individuals to buy existing houses for use as holiday homes would reduce – lessening the financial impact on the local market.
In some other countries (France and Italy come to mind) this kind of scheme is more commonplace. Of course those countries have the advantage of more space and perhaps a more generous attitude towards those with the affluence to afford a second home.
But whatever the motivation, building a scheme for second homers must surely lessen the downside of holiday properties.
If so, this throws into doubt the measures taken by a small number of local authorities in the UK, which have used a device called Neighbourhood Plans to ban new build homes from being sold to second home buyers.
The most high profile location to have down this is St Ives in Cornwall.
This is quite the reverse of what I believe would be a more useful suggestion – positively encouraging second home purchasers to choose new builds on the outskirts of pretty tourist hotspots, and stopping them from purchasing centrally-located older houses and apartments which are more useful for locals.
The genie may be out of the bottle however.
Vote-seeking councils, powerless to do anything other than impose silly new build restrictions on non-locals, are queuing up to bring in those very Neighbourhood Plans – even though they are largely ineffective at making more homes available to local people.
And try getting people in many NIMBY areas to agree to new builds of any kind, let alone ones designated for holiday homes.
But if the incoming Truss government wants to pioneer a new answer to the old question of whether holiday homes are good or bad, it could at least try this suggestion.
It would be a more constructive approach than the sniping and arguing which characterised the debate before national mourning became a temporary replacement for national moaning.
*Editor of Letting Agent Today and Landlord Today, Graham can be found tweeting about all things property at @PropertyJourn
The Kalispell Planning Board on Tuesday will consider a proposal to construct a parking garage, along with retail space and housing, at First Street West and First Avenue West.
Bill Goldberg and Montana Hotel Development Partners are seeking a conditional use permit for a parking structure and for a building over 60 feet high, which is the height limit allowed as a use by right. The building is planned to be eight stories or about 88 feet tall.
The planning board meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 201 First Avenue East.
The site is currently a surface parking lot. The proposal calls for about 240 parking stalls on four levels with commercial uses on the ground floor. On the upper floors of the building, 78 residential units are planned.
The project has come out of a request for proposals for the development of city-owned property at the corner of Third Street West and Main Street. The city advertised for proposals in 2020 and one project, named The Charles Hotel, was submitted by Montana Development Partners and provides for the transfer of the city-owned lot on Main to the company for the purpose of constructing a five-story boutique hotel.
The hotel requires valet parking and to meet that requirement, the company additionally proposed the construction of a parking garage about two blocks north at First Avenue West and First Street West. The hotel project requires providing parking for its own demand at 90 spaces, but also 69 spaces to replace those in the existing parking lot on First and First, 43 to replace those lost to the hotel and an additional 40 spaces for future parking demand downtown, according to the city planning report.
Though part of a larger plan, the planning board will forward a recommendation to City Council only on the CUP requested for the parking structure and height of the building.
The city growth policy land use map designates the property as commercial.
“The proposed project fits within both the general historical use pattern and the anticipated future development in the downtown area,” the staff report notes.
In terms of the building, the application says the main floor is designed entirely around the pedestrian experience with retail and lobby spaces wrapping the first floor parking and providing an interactive experience. The brick facade with large storefront windows is expected to pull “elements from classic urban design principles like those shown on Main Street.”
The maximum height for a building without a CUP is 60 feet. The building is requesting an extra 28 feet, which would allow for the residential component of the project along with aesthetic considerations, planning staff notes.
The application says that the architectural design of the building is intended to mitigate the visual impacts of the additional height. The building could be constructed to stay within the 60-foot height, but that would reduce the amount of housing or eliminate some of the design features such as building setbacks and courtyards.
Without them, the “result would be a shorter building that is perceived as more massive,” the application says and also wouldn’t be able to give consideration to making the building fit the historic context of the area.
Planning staff is recommending approval of the CUP with nine conditions.
ALSO ON the agenda, the planning board will take public comment on requests from both the Morning Star Court Community and the Green Acres Court Community on applications to the Montana Department of Commerce for grant funding for water and wastewater improvement projects for both communities.
The board also will consider a request from Green Acres Cooperative for annexation and initial zoning designation of R-4 residential for a property located at 1721 South Woodland Drive. The annexation is to allow the property to be connected to city sewer due to a failing septic system for the existing mobile home park.
The board will hear a request from Loucas Scholer and Sarah Russell for annexation and initial zoning designation of R-4 residential for two properties at 2150 and 2152 Airport Road. The annexation is to allow the properties to connect to city water due to a failing well.
Features Editor Heidi Desch may be reached at 758-4421 or email@example.com.
SIOUX CENTER—The city of Sioux Center recently took steps toward making another area in town ready for new commercial development.
The Sioux Center City Council at its Aug. 22 meeting approved a $783,189.97 contract with Vander Pol Excavating of Orange City to begin site development for a 10-acre property that was the former Bleeker farm property north of the NAPA Auto Parts store.
Vander Pol was one of three bidders for the contract, which the council approved following a public hearing. Its $783,189.97 bid is made up of a base bid of $719,964.97 with an alternate addition of $63,225 for “subgrade stabilization.” Landon Like with Beck Engineering in Sioux Center, who is lead engineer on plat design for this development, said the area can have wet soils. He said subgrade stabilization is the use of geosynthetic reinforcement elements to provide constructability and access over very soft soils.
“It’s my recommendation the city award the base bid with the alternate and we can tests the soils as we move forward to see if the alternate would even be needed,” Like said.
Vander Pol’s estimate, including the alternate addition, came in $190,365.78 below the engineer’s estimate of $973,555.75 for the project. Including the alternate option, Hulstein Excavating of Edgerton, MN, submitted a total bid of $932,825 and Bainbridge Construction of Kinglsey submitted a total bid of $999,689.40.
The layout for development, accepted by the city council at its July 11 meeting, includes three lots, ranging from about 2-3 acres, zoned for general commercial use. The plat also includes adding 11th Street Northwest coming off of Highway 75 that has a curved intersection with new street First Avenue Northwest.
“This location will provide a great opportunity to expand our already thriving retail footprint,” said Sioux Center development director Dennis Dokter at the July 11 meeting. “It is important to us to provide retail growth opportunities along the entire Highway 75 corridor.”
The accepted plat is shaped by a concept created in 2020 when city staff worked with planning and design firm Confluence to create a vision for this property, as well as a few other potential commercial sites. The goal for that planning was to be prepared to use and market this property in alignment with the community’s comprehensive plan as a new commercial opportunity. The concept created during that planning suggested this property be used for sales and services or retail sales.
“During the planning process, we had significant interest in retail expansion,” Dokter said. “This area is getting the attention of developers, and we plan to have development taking place in 2023.”