Now, let's pretend that City Council is a generic Loan Committee.
Any recommendation that the consultants may make to City Council should be accompanied by data that substantially proves their point. That concept is carried out every day by any development lender in the USA. As I have alluded to in other posts, the loan officer must present to loan committee the feasibility of any project he/she is presenting. This is usually done with a number of tools, one of which is absorption rates. The loan officer studies the rate in which the market is absorbing the same product that is in his/her presentation to loan committee. For example, if the proposed project is an office building, the loan officer will know the rates that office space is being absorbed into the market within a certain radius. The loan officer will also know the rate of how much vacant land suitable for office space will be absorbed within the near future. The loan officer will know the land pricing within the market area. All of this data is submitted along with the consultant's presentation. This is the "science" of the feasibility study. "Mathmaticaly" the data will forcast the need and the timeline to develop and rent up the project for the foreseeable future. The "art" of the presentation is the study of the physical features and desirability of the land in the immediate area. It would include any anticipated "flat spots" in the local economy. Some land is just uglier, more difficult to develop, and harder to get to than other pieces of dirt. Math at 50, 000 feet doesn't shed much light on the "art" of a development study.
These features are used to demonstrate to any loan committees that, when positive, a development loan should be made.
There are also "indicators" that are used as tools. Indicators are features that already exist and contribute to the identification of what should be built, or developed. A good example is our DART station. I gives some credibility to a proposed TOD (Transportation Oriented Development). This type of development suggests higher density, but it also lends itself to "charm." Our older downtown building, the DART station and the older homes in the area certainly suggests charm. Therefore, don't overkill density. Blend it in without damaging the charm that could be a great draw to the area. A four story parking garage and 150 apartment or condo units would be difficult to "blend" in, however a very talented architect/designer could probably do it. The "slam, bam, thank you" approach should be a jail time offense.
The downtown area, the land east of the Community Centre, the Wellness area, and the Gateway area are all blessed with "indicators" that help the consultants develop a plan. In my opinion, this is where the focus needs to be. Coming right on the heels above should be concentrated efforts to acquire Robertson Park. Obviously, it must be a financially sound decision, however it offers enormous opportunities. I would much prefer the consultants be working on above than pursuing an ill conceived market in Northshore. In my opinion, their efforts on Northshore are counter productive. They have actually harmed Rowlett by preventing at least development of a $1.2 million revenue stream. (See other posts.)
I am going to be writing about Form Based Codes soon. That should broaden your horizons. Be sure and read Chris Kilgore's comments on the previous post.