When it comes to urban redevelopment and public private partnerships, we all wish the problems came in neat little baskets: You'd love to simply have a “real estate” or an “economic development” problem. Or only have to deal with a “political” or “community” issue. Unfortunately, the challenges and opportunities of urban real estate and economic development tend to present themselves as an interconnected mosaic. The Mosaic team's special understanding of urban redevelopment and passion for public private partnerships allow us to provide you with solutions that reflect, and respect, the complexity of your problems.
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We are uniquely qualified to advise cities, counties, states and governmental entities in their analysis and implementation of urban redevelopment plans, government solicitations and public/private transactions. We have been leaders at economic development agencies but have also have worked for private developers. We've been the governmental steward of master plans as well as the private developer attempting to implement them. We have drafted RFPs and responded to RFPs. We've run government solicitations as well as responded to them as part of private firms. This combination of private sector and public sector experience allows us to bring private sector expertise to bear on the special challenges faced by public sector clients. Unlike many advisors, however, we also understand the unique political, legal, community, and bureaucratic considerations public sector clients must take into account because we have actually been in their shoes. In addition, Mosaic staff has played these roles in a number of cities – therefore we are able to advise public sector clients based on best practices used in multiple jurisdictions. Our specialty is public/private redevelopment projects. We provide you soup-to-nuts support from the initial market and project feasibility analysis to the selection of private bidders through the final negotiations.
Project Feasibility and Market Analysis
Mosaic can provide clients with a comprehensive assessment of the viability of an existing real estate project, the development potential of a site, or the redevelopment capacity of a broader geographic corridor or market area. Our team can also perform an analysis of the fiscal impact of a proposed program. We can also recommend municipal & market-based project financing strategies.
Project Example: Walter Reed Army Medical Center Base Re-Use Plan
As part of a planning team led by Perkins + Will and HR&A Advisors, Mosaic completed a comprehensive 80-page market study and a separate economic and fiscal impact analysis for the Walter Reed redevelopment. Mosaic's market study compiled and analyzed significant market data, and leveraged qualitative industry reports to assess the potential for new institutional, commercial, residential, retail and hospitality uses on the site. Mosaic's economic and fiscal impact analysis calculated the additional tax revenues that would be collected by virtue of the redevelopment of the Army base, as well as the new operating costs to the District of Columbia government. In addition, the impact analysis calculated the number of new construction and permanent private sector jobs that would be created based on the new development. Finally, we calculated the number of net new residents that would move to the District as a result of the new development. In addition to Mosaic's market study work on the Walter Reed project, Mosaic also provided a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations for financing the infrastructure costs and historic preservation requirements of the project.
See also: Naylor Road Station Action Plan
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Economic Development Strategies
Mosaic helps public sector clients leverage urban redevelopment and revitalization strategies to create positive economic development outcomes in their communities. Many public private partnerships present the opportunity to positively affect the people who live, work and play in the associated community. Mosaic has the capacity and experience to properly advise public sector clients on the benefits, and limitations, of leveraging public private partnerships to revitalize urban communities.
Project Example: Livernois Avenue Corridor Revitalization Plan, Detroit, MI
Mosaic, through the Urban Land Institute (ULI), acted as development advisor to the City of Detroit's planning and economic development departments on a year-long analysis of revitalization options on a multiple-mile commercial corridor in Detroit, Michigan. The study resulted in a short and long-term implementation plan to begin to re-energize this once-vibrant corridor. The corridor currently faces a series of real estate and land use challenges which constrain the economic potential of existing businesses and the corridor's ability to attract new businesses and customers. Mosaic's work on the Livernois Corridor illustrates the firm's approach to leveraging urban neighborhood assets to create economic development opportunties.
Livernois Avenue is surrounded by stable neighborhoods with healthy demographics but its current offerings and auto-oriented layout fail to meet the needs of either neighborhood or commuter customers. Working closely with the urban design firm Civitas, Mosaic identified opportunities to improve the design and feel of the corridor and to align the businesses along Livernois Avenue with the consumers who want to shop there. Mosaic assessed the market opportunities and constraints along the corridor and with Civitas and ULI, Mosaic also moderated small group charettes for local stakeholders. Synthesizing findings from the stakeholder charettes, together with the market assessment findings, Mosaic identified strategies for turning the corridor around. Mosaic's deep understanding of the "on-the-ground" efforts needed to work with existing businesses and communities during the beginning stages of a large-scale redevelopment is critical to creating a useful implementation plan. In the first stages of implementing a revitalization plan for Livernois Avenue, Mosaic has moderated the exchange of ideas between public sector leaders and private sector land and business owners to establish a strong framework for a public-private partnership to revitalize Livernois Avenue.
See also: Naylor Road Station Action Plan
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Oftentimes, a public sector or non-profit client has already selected a partner for its development activities, but needs assistance with finalizing appropriate deal terms. Mosaic can assist in the structuring of the deal and the negotiation of the applicable documents – in a way that starts off the business relationship in an amicable and efficient manner. We have particular expertise in structuring public/private transactions where publicly-owned land, government financing or affordable housing are components of the project.
Project Example: Skyland Shopping Center Redevelopment
Mosaic, as real estate advisor to the Washington, DC Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (Deputy Mayor), analyzed the feasibility of the proposed development program, deal terms and financing structure for a $285M mixed-use, mixed-income redevelopment project that will result in 460 new residential units and 320,000 square feet of new retail in Southeast Washington, DC. The proposed development will use Tax Increment Financing, New Market Tax Credits, and local affordable housing financing to fund some of the improvements. Mosaic led all negotiations with the private development team on the key business terms and all transaction documents, including the deal term sheet, Exclusive Rights Agreement and a Land Disposition Agreement. Mosaic also provided discrete project management services to the Deputy Mayor on the project.
This effort will ultimately transform an 18-acre blighted site with largely undesirable and insufficient retail options into a pedestrian-oriented town center with neighborhood-serving retail and new housing.
See also: Forest City/Johns Hopkins University
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Solicitation and Procurement Services
We have a particular expertise in the management of complex solicitations and procurements on behalf of governmental entities. We provide soup-to-nuts support spanning the entire selection process, including: (1) Procurement Strategy; (2) Solicitation Preparation; (3) Procurement Management; (4) Proposal Analysis and (5) Negotiation Assistance.
Project Example: DRES Procurement Template and Tenant Solicitation
The District of Columbia Department of Real Estate Services (DRES) engaged Mosaic to provide solicitation and procurement support to the City's leasing team. Mosaic completed three distinct procurement support activities for DRES: (i) Recommending a leasing-solicitation strategy and evaluation process for underutilized District real estate assets; (ii) Creating the document templates for the leasing strategy; and (iii) Drafting a unique Request for Offers for a data center tenant at a 350,000 sq. foot District office building. Mosaic's procurement work with DRES impacts D.C.'s entire portfolio of expiring leases and vacant assets. DRES manages over 3 million square feet of leased space.
See also: Cultural Development Corporation
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Mosaic collaborates with public sector clients to ensure that their stakeholders are engaged during the creation and implementation of redevelopment plans, economic development strategies and public/private partnerships. We realized long ago that our clients don't have pure "real estate" problems or "economic development" problems. They have real estate, economic development, political, bureaucratic, procurement and financial problems. These challenges create a diverse set of stakeholders. It would be easier if our clients worked on "greenfield" sites with no stakeholders, no local communities and no conflicting viewpoints - but they don't. Accordingly, we provide our clients with a full suite of options in order to assist in the stakeholder engagement process. Mosaic can help create and implement your outreach strategy and prepare and lead presentations for your stakeholder engagement meetings. Finally, we can assist you with negotiations with key stakeholders at any point in the process.
Project Example: Convention Center Retail Strategy and Implementation
The Washington Convention and Sports Authority engaged Mosaic as a retail advisor to increase the viability and economic development impact of the 2.3M square foot Convention Center's 13 retail spaces. Mosaic, acting as the prime contractor and project manager, assembled a team of retail subcontractors including H. Blount Hunter Retail and Real Estate Research and Madison Retail. Overall, the Mosaic team performed a retail market study and created a retail revitalization strategy.
Mosaic's retail approach is to identify strategies that go beyond the boilerplate retail and office tenants typically recommended for urban retail spaces. In this case, we proposed leveraging arts related installations, arts festivals and other creative community programming to activate the client's vacant retail spaces. The result was new interest in the vacant spaces that resulted in lease negotiations, local artists obtaining work, and a new vibrancy in the retail corridor.
Mosaic also played a significant role in the stakeholder engagement efforts of the client. Mosaic created and led a presentation to the Convention Center's Community Advisory Committee (made up of City Councilmember staff, local businesspeople and community members). The presentation was designed to update the stakeholders and obtain project feedback. Mosaic also separately created and led a presentation at an open public meeting to discuss the final findings of the market study and to discuss the planned implementation strategy. In each case Mosaic was able to effectively engage key stakeholders to obtain valuable project feedback and buy-in.
See Also: Cultural Development Corporation
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We think of ourselves as the implementation partner of public sector planning, real estate and economic development departments. We're really not consultants at all – we're “doers” masquerading as consultants. Accordingly, we pride ourselves in taking our public sector clients from planning into implementation. Let the planners plan. Let the consultants consult. We'll help you “do.” Effective implementation of urban redevelopment plans requires a real world and real-time understanding of the political, market and bureaucratic forces that can derail a well-designed plan. Mosaic can help you manage public sector pre-development activities, vet municipal financing strategies and properly create the operating structures necessary to move forward large-scale redevelopments.
Project Example: St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center, Baltimore, MD
Mosaic, under contract with NeighborWorks America, was engaged to assist St. Ambrose Housing Aid Center by analyzing the sales performance of St. Ambrose's portfolio of single family homes. St. Ambrose is a leading non-profit developer of affordable single family homes in the Baltimore, Maryland market, acquiring, renovating and re-selling up to 50 homes annually. A significant number of those homes are obtained from HUD. Mosaic approached analysis of St Ambrose's sales performance from two distinctive directions: (i) Real Estate Market Analysis; and (ii) Organizational Strategy Assessment. As real estate market analysts, Mosaic compared St. Ambrose's active listings in a specific Baltimore submarket to the broader pool of for-sale homes in that same submarket to identify any property characteristics of St. Ambrose's listings impacting pricing and sales performance. As organizational consultants, Mosaic reviewed the marketing process used for St. Ambrose properties to identify opportunities to compete more effectively with foreclosure and short-sale listings. Mosaic's findings and recommendations for St. Ambrose Housing Development Department reflect the firm's ability to integrate technical analysis with organizational performance problem solving.
Mosaic confirmed St. Ambrose Housing Development Department's perception that short-sale and foreclosure listings are key competitors to the organization's offerings in the sales market; and proved that St. Ambrose's offerings out-perform the average property in the study area by achieving shorter listing periods and higher sales prices than the market average. Through an organizational assessment of St. Ambrose, Mosaic identified specific marketing and branding actions to position St. Ambrose's listings favorably against competition from foreclosure and short-sale listings; recommended collection of additional data from home buyers through a survey tool to inform the organization's marketing and branding messages; and recommended a new integrated social media strategy leveraging various social media channels and the St. Ambrose website.
See also: Walter Reed Army Base Re-Use Plan
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Arts and Economic Development
Increasingly communities are turning to arts and the creative class to anchor economic revitalization in their neighborhoods. Such efforts almost always reflect a partnership between the public, private and non-profit sectors. Mosaic's public-private partnership expertise, combined with our economic development services platform, makes us highly effective advisors for designing, implementing and evaluating arts-based revitalization and development initiatives.
Project Example: Cultural Development Corporation, Washington, DC
Mosaic was engaged by Washington, DC-based arts non-profit Cultural Development Corporation (CuDC) to identify potential arts-based real estate projects and development partners. CuDC specifically sought opportunities to build or operate both artist housing and a commercial arts building providing office and retail space for local creative professionals. As real estate advisors to CuDC, Mosaic structured a region-wide real estate project and partner solicitation process. Mosaic managed the solicitation process from initial document drafting through initial partner negotiations. Mosaic's work included creating a strategy, drafting a Request for Expressions of Interest, advertising the solicitation, leading a pre-bid conference and evaluating responses with our client. The solicitation process was designed to maximize responses from a range of stakeholders and to reflect the client's broad definition of an ideal partner. The Mosaic-drafted RFEI generated industry interest exceeding client expectations by close to 100%. Mosaic also drafted the content and structure for the pre-bidder's conference and provided evaluation tools leveraging calculable metrics to effectively compare a range of proposals.
Mosaic's work for Cultural Development Corporation illustrates the firm's ability to: (i) translate a non-profit mission into private-sector action; (ii) implement arts-based project planning; and (iii) assess the feasibility of arts-anchored projects.
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Urban Retail Services
We say it all the time at Mosaic, "Retail is rocket-science." This maxim is particularly true for urban retail. Despite rumors to the contrary, there are no silver-bullets in urban revitalization. Stores must be located where they have a chance of success and every implementation detail has to be executed with precision. Mosaic has seen retail landlords struggle to lease space for reasons that range from space depth and column spacing, to poor signage and being located on the wrong side of the street. Cities encourage, and in many cases require, ground-floor retail in urban development. Mosaic can advise private owners, developers and governments on the repositioning of underperforming retail space and assist in the creation of comprehensive urban retail strategies. In addition, Mosaic has expertise in leveraging consumer market data to assist in making retail-related development and planning decisions in traditionally underserved communities.
Project Example: Forest City and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Mosaic is currently engaged by the Forest City – New East Baltimore Partnership with co-consultants Williams, Jackson, Ewing to provide a market analysis, program recommendations, and a marketing strategy for the retail component of the New East Baltimore Development Initiative (EBDI). The EDBI is the largest urban renewal project in the country and is a unique public-private partnership between Forest City, Johns Hopkins, and the City of Baltimore. The EBDI encompasses an 88-acre site area projected to support over 1.5M square feet of new biotechnology research and office space; 1,600 new and rehabilitated residential units; and 170,000 square feet of retail. Mosaic's work for Forest City in Baltimore illustrates the firm's ability to quantify under-valued retail demand in communities with challenging demographics.
The team's Retail Analysis and Implementation Strategy report to the Forest City-New East Baltimore Partnership included (i) quantification of existing retail demand for the EDBI based on a retail gap analysis; (ii) specialized analysis of consumer spending habits at Johns Hopkins Medical Campus based on original data collected by Mosaic from a focus group and stakeholder surveys; (iii) projections for future demand based on the development program and demographic trends; (iv) merchandising recommendations incorporating niche themes; and (v) implementation recommendations for tenant mix, retail design, parking, and site activation.
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Transit-Oriented Development Services
Mosaic understands that transit-oriented development (TOD) is inherently more complex than many revitalization projects. TOD projects include all of the financing, entitlement, and approval hurdles of typical projects, but also requires the coordination of multiple public sector agencies including their requirements, policies, and funding considerations. TOD takes the mixing of uses in development to another level by further requiring operating facilities for rail or buses in addition to access to housing, office and retail components for drivers and pedestrians. Mosaic excels at understanding both the public and private stakeholders in a transit-oriented development and can provide analysis, partnership frameworks and negotiating skills to move these increasingly important projects forward.
Project Example: Naylor Road Station Area Revitalization Action Plan, Prince George's County, MD
Partnered with consultants at HR&A Advisors and planners from Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects, Mosaic worked for M-NCPPC to provide a market and development assessment for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) land parcels at the Naylor Road Metro Station in Prince George's County, MD. The study area included over 20 acres of developable land at a Metrorail transit stop, and may eventually be built out to include over 1.5M square feet of mixed-use real estate.
This development implementation study required the consulting team to identify transit-oriented development solutions for a site with challenging market and demographic dynamics. A key factor in the team's success was to establish economic development goals for the project with MNCPPC and the local Councilmember. Mosaic provided a comprehensive market study of the area including assessment of the housing, office and retail sub-markets to quantify the challenges for both real estate and economic development. The team identified a menu of implementation options ranging from immediate to longer term and from low cost to high costs to tackle the multi-disciplinary and complex challenges facing transit-oriented development at Naylor Road. Mosaic leveraged its extensive knowledge of public-sector redevelopment efforts to inform the approach and content of the "step-by-step" Action Plan. In addition, Mosaic drafted the catalytic first steps of the Plan which included recommending initial public realm improvements, interim programming, and marketing strategies to jump-start the rebranding of the studied development area.
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Project Example: Development Impact Analysis of Streetcar, Washington, DC
As an important component of the comprehensive market study completed by Mosaic for the Walter Reed Re-Use Plan, Mosaic analyzed the impact of planned streetcar service on the development potential of the Walter Reed site. Mosaic assessed variables of the streetcar plan that could potentially impact the development outcomes for the site including: timing, alignment, connection to Metrorail and the location of stops within the site plan. In order to assess the impact of streetcar service on the Walter Reed redevelopment program, Mosaic researched the impact of streetcar in other jurisdictions and interviewed developers to better understand the local market's perception of streetcar. Mosaic's work required an intimate understanding of the intersection of real estate development, transit and economic development to assess the potential impact of streetcar on the Walter Reed Re-Use Plan.
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