Economic Tremors Felt By New Urbanists

"Economic troubles spread from housing to other development sectors, including retail and offices."
December 12, 2008, 11am PST | The Intrepid Staff
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"From one end of the US to the other, new urbanists are entering tough times, thanks to the combination of a severe credit squeeze and a rapidly deteriorating national economy.

'All of a sudden, the phones stopped ringing - it happened very quickly,' architect John Massengale says about a drastic fall-off in work being offered to architects in greater New York.

In Chico, California, John Anderson of New Urban Builders says of the decline in activity at his development firm: 'It's been pretty frustrating.' The first residential phase of his company's Meriam Park development had to be shelved early this year despite the fact that it had been fully engineered. New Urban Builders adjusted by concentrating instead on the 250-acre development's office and mixed-use buildings, expecting to begin site work on those this fall.

But further troubles in the economy made that impossible. 'The credit crunch put us in a position where we had to put the office and mixed-use phase on hold until we can be confident that the parties building office buildings can close their financing,' Anderson says.

'Even with a robust master plan and an adopted form-based code that gives us lots of flexibility, when the tectonic plates of the credit market shift, the tremor rolls through the entire market, buffeting all projects, both conventional and new urbanist,' Anderson observes."

Thanks to The Intrepid Staff

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Published on Friday, December 5, 2008 in New Urban News
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