The Advisory Services Times-Dispatch, September 2012

The Advisory Services Times-Dispatch is a quarterly on-line newsletter for ULI’s premier outreach program. Established in 1947, the Advisory Services program has conducted over 600 panels around the world.

This installment of our newsletter includes links to more information about the last few panels completed by ULI Advisory Services. This issue also includes a focus on David Stebbins, Vice President of Buffalo Urban Development Corporation and long-time participant in the Advisory Services Program.

As always, I look forward to your feedback.


Tom Eitler
Vice President
ULI Advisory Services

Panel Focus: Colorado Springs – The story of a forest fire, a new ULI partnership, and a Renaissance for Downtown

Downtown Colorado Springs

Chaired by Former Indianapolis Mayor Bill Hudnut a first-ever joint Urban Land Institute / International Downtown Association (IDA) panel visited Colorado Springs June 24-29, right in the middle of the horrific Waldo Canyon Fire.  The Waldo Canyon Fire was one of the largest and most destructive forest fires in Colorado’s history.  It was a testament to the spirit and tenacity of the city stakeholders and civic leaders that they were able to participate in the panel and deal with the impacts of the fire at the same time.  A special thanks goes out to Chris Jenkins of Norwood Development and longtime ULI member.   Not only was he the inspiration behind bringing the panel to the Springs but he did a masterful job of seeing the panel through this process while the fire raged outside of town.  Thanks also goes out to Mayor Steve Bach and his staff, who were still able to attend the panel interviews while directing a valiant effort to same homes from the fire.

Waldo Canyon Fire

Colorado Springs is situated near the base of one of the most famous American mountains, Pikes Peak, in the eastern edge of the Southern Rocky Mountains. With a population of 415,000 it is the second most populous city in Colorado. Home to the Air Force Academy, the US Olympic National Governing Bodies, Colorado Springs also has a burgeoning high tech industry centered around military installations such as Fort Carson, Peterson Air Force Base and Shriever Air Force Base.  While the suburbs have grown dramatically over the past few decades, there has been a steady decline of the downtown core.

The assignment for the panel centered on revitalization of downtown.

Recognizing that a vision must be created locally, the panel offered the following as a starting point:  Downtown Colorado Springs, staying true to its pioneering spirit, will create a cohesive, vibrant, mixed-use center that embraces the region’s history, culture, and natural assets to offer economic opportunity for its citizens.

 Specific panel recommendations included:

  • Establishment of an Arts and Entertainment District
  • Reimagining America the Beautiful Park as a new Olympic Park with a new iconic bridge and wall of Olympians of all Americans who participated in the modern Olympics since 1896.
  • creating new mixed use and mixed  income housing units in the core of downtown
  • ensure an appropriate mix of retail, late-night entertainment, dining, cultural attractions and business development ensure an appropriate mix of retail, late-night entertainment, dining, cultural attractions and business development and establishing new retail and commercial activities
  • Partnership strategies to collaborate with the US Olympic Committee, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs and Colorado College.
  • launching new tactics and strategies for  addressing downtown management and programing

As a joint panel the team benefited greatly from the IDA input, particularly as it related to recommendations on downtown management, programing and parking strategies.

For more information see the panel’s presentation here.

Announced at public presentation at the end of the panel week, ULI committed to return with a free disaster panel.  Like other disaster endeavors the panel will be paid for by the ULI Foundation.

Panel members for Colorado Springs:

Hon. William H. Hudnut, III

Walt Bialas
Jim Cloar
David Gazek
Mike Higbee
Hon. Glenda Hood
Jan Minami
Ralph Nunez
Dave Stebbins

Panel Focus: Hillsborough County, Florida – Economic Prosperity

Panelists talk with Gene Boles of Hillsborough County

In May, a ULI panel was invited by Hillsborough County, Florida to make recommendations on land use and economic development.  Franklin Martin, a longtime ULI member and panel program participant, led the team as they explored the various challenges and opportunities faced by the County given the economic climate and local governance structure.  The panel was part of a process spearheaded by the County’s Stakeholder’s Commission on Economic Prosperity, a group that included elected officials, community and business leaders, land use experts, and real estate developers.

Specifically, the County asked ULI to assess the county’s existing approach to economic

The cruise industry is one of Hillsborough County's economic drivers.

development and growth and to identify future challenges, opportunities, and directions for promoting effective economic development. The panel was asked to examine the ways in which the county can leverage its existing assets and overcome barriers to future job-creating commercial and residential real estate development. Although the assignment asked the panel to address the regulatory issues around land development through the lens of economic growth, while on site the panel also heard about several underlying issues that needed to be addressed to lay the groundwork for an effective economic development strategy.

The Panel met with over 90 stakeholders and toured the entire county.  They were also provided with invaluable assistance from Susan Jezek, Executive Director of ULI Tampa Bay and James Moore, Chairman of ULI Tampa Bay. The panel made a series of strategic recommendations to the County that addressed institutional and structural issues as well as land use and transportation:

  • Create an environment of predictability and fairness in the land development process
  • Invest in quality-of-life assets that will retain and attract workers and businesses
  • Activate and update the plan for open space assets
  • Develop and invest in a multimodal connectivity strategy to link activity centers
  • Focus investment on creating an anchor institution strategy that links key economic engines and builds an integration strategy to create a multiplier effect for longterm economic growth.

The panel recommended the County focus its resources on these activity centers.

In addition to these priority recommendations, the panel suggested that the County administration develop a culture of trust with its citizens and with its professional staff to create a cohesive community moving towards continued economic prosperity. Click here to download the panel report and presentation.

Franklin (Frank) A. Martin

Bill Clarke
Brian Fogarty
Pat Hawley
John L. Knott Jr.
Donna Lewis
Daniel B. Quinto
Douglas Porter
Dan Slone
Sue Southon

Spotlight: Dave Stebbins – Vice President, Buffalo Urban Development Corporation

The spotlight for this newsletter is on David Stebbins of Buffalo, New York, vice president of Buffalo Urban Development Corporation (BUDC), a local, nonprofit development entity that has become a key player in the revitalization of Buffalo. BUDC, which specializes in urban redevelopment, is developing the Buffalo Lakeside Commerce Park, a 275-acre reclamation of the former Hanna Furnace Steel Mill and Union Ship Canal. Stebbins and BUDC are also redeveloping the 260-acre former Republic Steel site—now known as RiverBend—in south Buffalo along the Buffalo River. His role has recently been expanded to include oversight and facilitation of development projects and infrastructure in downtown Buffalo in coordination with the city and its other partners.

Stebbins has served on five ULI Advisory Services panels, most recently the Downtown Colorado Springs panel in June 2012. “My experience serving on ULI Advisory Services panels has been tremendous,” Stebbins said. “I often leave the panels feeling guilty for having gotten more out of the panels than I may have contributed—exploring new communities, having the opportunity to brainstorm a new problem or challenge, and learning from my fellow panelists.”

“Dave has always been a go-to panelist,” said Tom Eitler, vice president of ULI Advisory Services. Stebbins most often uses his public/private urban redevelopment experience as a member of the panel’s implementation team, suggesting organizational and programming changes that help a sponsor get things done. As an urban planner, Stebbins can also participate on a design team and excel at both roles, Eitler said. “Dave also brings to the table the experience of development and redevelopment in the Buffalo/Niagara region. Fundamental knowledge regarding the loss of heavy industry and strategies for dealing with new employment in a challenged market are very helpful when a ULI panel visits a similar community,” Eitler said.

Said Stebbins, “The friendships and professional bonds I have formed with my fellow panelists have been enduring, and I have had the privilege to serve with some extraordinary real estate professionals—Bill Hudnut, Tom Murphy, Glenda Hood, and John Walsh, to name a few. As I sit with my fellow panelists during the final presentation, I am generally amazed at the recommendations we have been able to produce—in five days!”

Stebbins formerly was interim president and senior executive vice president for the Buffalo Economic Renaissance Corporation (BERC), a local not-for-profit economic development corporation. BERC is responsible for all economic development activities in Buffalo, including lending, incentives, and publicly sponsored real estate development projects. During his tenure with BERC, Stebbins managed development of over $40 million in real estate projects, including multitenant industrial buildings, downtown mixed-use projects, urban infrastructure, brownfield redevelopment, and business park projects.

Stebbins is a full member of ULI and a member of ULI’s Inner-City Council. He has been instrumental in working with the ULI district council in New York City to raise the Institute’s profile in the western part of the state. In the coming months, he will be helping local sponsors on the upcoming national panel in Niagara Falls and in a district council technical assistance panel in downtown Buffalo.

Stebbins has 32 years of diversified experience in urban planning and development, with a BA in environmental design from the University at Buffalo and an MA in city and regional planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He and his wife Elizabeth have two children—John, 27, and Emily, 25—and he lives in north Buffalo.

“The communities I have served in have all been gracious and welcoming, and, I believe, thankful for whatever focus and direction we have been able to bring to their particular problem,” says Stebbins. “Overall, since beginning to serve on panels, my ’take home value’ as a ULI member has increased ten-fold and I feel privileged to be able to give back to the ULI and the communities it serves.


One comment on “The Advisory Services Times-Dispatch, September 2012

  1. Tom,
    The newsletter is a great idea helping to give the entire membership a picture of the Advisory Services program. Also the idea of spotlighting in each issue a loyal panelist such as Dave is a very thoughtful way of providing well deserved recognition.
    Something that I would find very interesting is post panel reports on successful implementation of Panel recommendations.

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