Practice Areas: Economics
Our Clients Ask Us:
About employment: How much employment can we expect, and what kinds of jobs? How can we influence the amount, type, and location of future employment?
Our Types of Projects
About land use: How can we attract more [retail] [housing] [affordable housing]? How can we [preserve] [improve] our mix of uses?
About economic impacts of change: How will this [general] [specific] [area] plan affect jobs and population growth? How can we encourage reinvestment?
Economic Element of the San Ramon General Plan » Located in the Tri-Valley area of central Contra Costa/eastern Alameda Counties, San Ramon benefited from the decentralization of employment from San Francisco in the 1970s, with office park development first anchored by the Bishop Ranch project and subsequently expanded through telecom sector and other tech-oriented growth. For the General Plan update, M&A analyzed prospects for continued high-tech growth as well as local-market-oriented development, and recommended measures to support San Ramon's long-term viability through economic diversification, targeted redevelopment, expanded education and housing offerings, and consolidation of community identity/activities by guiding the evolution of a town center area.
Economic Element of the Marin County General Plan » Key issues that will affect the future economic health of Marin County - economic vitality, labor force readiness and availability, traffic congestion and transportation infrastructure, and the effects of changing technology - were identified through M&A's work with a General Plan citizens' subcommittee. M&A staff then assembled background information on each of these issues and worked with the subcommittee to identify policies and strategies responding to the issues in a manner that was appropriate to Marin's economic context and consistent with the sustainability philosophy that is the guiding principle of the General Plan. The outcome was a draft economic element that provided the basis for the economic section of the Economy, Equity, and Culture Element of the Countywide Plan.
Economic Element of the San Luis Obispo County General Plan » M&A structured and led a series of workshops with the Economic Advisory Committee of San Luis Obispo County and interested members of the public to formulate an economic element of the County's general plan. Issues identified by the working group included trade-offs between economic vitality and environmental preservation, appropriate locations for new commercial and industrial land uses (cities vs. the incorporated area), and subregional jobs/housing balance. The role of jobs in maintaining residents' quality of life was a key factor in the consideration of policy choices. M&A prepared interim products to guide the Advisory Committee's work and drafted the Economic Element.
Economic Element of the Petaluma General Plan » M&A initiated the preparation of the General Plan economic element by completing an in-depth analysis of Petaluma's employment, retail sales, visitor data, and fiscal trends over the preceding two decades; seeking input from local businesses and employers in key local economic sectors; and gleaning economic insights from a General Plan-sponsored community survey and a series of public workshops. As the Preferred Plan emerged from a series of alternatives, M&A drafted an economic element that provides direction for fostering economic vitality, opportunity, and diversity; furthering community sustainability; strengthening and expanding the retail sector; and enhancing Petaluma's Downtown. Concerns about the adequacy of the city's resources to support Plan implementation were addressed through a General Plan fiscal analysis that evaluated the General Plan alternatives and, when it was completed, the Preferred Plan. In tandem with its General Plan work, M&A has assisted the City in formulating a retailing strategy and options for supporting the historic town center.
Economic Background Analysis for the Novato General Plan » M&A assessed existing conditions, obstacles, and opportunities for the City of Novato as part of the background information for the preparation of its General Plan during the mid-1990s. M&A's economic analysis evaluated the relationship of three Plan alternatives to the general economic context and specifically to three key issues: the viability of downtown/old town, especially in light of the opening of a new discount shopping mall elsewhere in the city; attracting employment growth to the city; and reducing travel times between home and work. The analysis phase also included formulation of an economic development strategy appropriate to each of the three alternatives.
Redevelopment Implementation Strategy Study for the Richards Boulevard Area of Sacramento » The study area, located immediately north of downtown Sacramento, had historically been used for heavy industry and warehousing. In the 1990s, the area had also become the location of social service facilities attracting transients and the homeless. Work by the M&A-led team (which included traffic, urban design and infrastructure experts) focused on assessing economic and land use influences in the study area and the region, and identified ways to improve both visual and functional qualities of the area, facilitating its transition from a warehouse and industrial district to a back office and support area for downtown Sacramento. Implementation recommendations were organized around three sets of program/project targets - public improvements, key projects, and urban design - collectively comprising the focus of the redevelopment strategy adopted by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency.
Market Analysis for Revitalization of Downtown Newhall » Newhall, an older community within the City of Santa Clarita (incorporated in 1988), had been subject to marked economic decline resulting from competition from newer centers (such as Valencia, also part of Santa Clarita) and changing demographic characteristics of the market area. M&A evaluated historic and current market conditions to identify obstacles to and opportunities for revitalization. This work identified the market niches served by different locations within the study area, and provided the basis for a revitalization strategy that combined changes in development controls with targeted public investment.
Revitalization Strategy for Downtown Arcadia » Part of the Los Angeles metropolitan area, the City of Arcadia has a downtown area that must compete for retail clientele with a healthy regional shopping mall and extensive strip commercial development elsewhere in the city, as well as with retail centers and districts in nearby Pasadena and Los Angeles. Nevertheless, the proximity of Santa Anita racetrack and expectations for a future light rail station in or near downtown created the potential for improvement. M&A analyzed existing economic and market conditions and previous market reports, and worked closely with the urban design consultant to recommend an economic and regulatory strategy that would complement the design strategy for downtown revitalization.
Market and Financial Analysis for Transit Area Planning in Union City » M&A identified land uses that would be feasible for development in the vicinity of the proposed Union City intermodal transit station (ITF) to be served by multiple rail and bus lines. To be feasible, uses must be supported by foreseeable market demand, complement the transportation orientation of the project area, and contribute to the planned "town center" character of the vicinity. The challenge faced by the urban design team lay in the area's low profile: lack of sufficient existing development to constitute a self-generating market for additional growth and uncertainty about the scale of stimulus to be provided by the ITF. As team economists, M&A focused on a strategy of preparedness, enabling Union City to shape a plan for growth that takes account not only of current trends but of accelerating development concentration in the ITF area in response to regional economic restructuring and changing commute travel patterns over the next two decades.
Economic Impacts of a Downtown Multiplex Cinema Projects San Mateo, Redwood City, and Sacramento » The downtown multi-screen cinema, a real estate product that emerged in the 1990s as a means to jump-start redevelopment in older suburban downtowns, has been analyzed by M&A in a number of settings. M&A's work in San Mateo began with a comprehensive investigation of the success of multiplex projects in other communities (San Luis Obispo, Berkeley, Concord, Santa Cruz, and Pasadena) and then focused on the potential gains such a project would bring to San Mateo's already-thriving downtown. The Redwood City analysis examined a multiplex in combination with a sizable addition to downtown retail square footage, addressing not only the increase in downtown sales contributed by new stores proposed as part of the cinema complex, but also the potential for diversion of sales from existing merchants to the new retail outlets. The estimate of net benefit served as the basis for a fiscal impact analysis of the project, establishing the foundation for a finding of overriding economic considerations in relation to the project's projected environmental effects. In Sacramento, the question was primarily one of location: choosing the site within an existing pedestrian mall at which the beneficial impacts of the multiplex would provide the greatest support for other mall businesses.
Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Superstores » M&A analyzed the potential impacts of a proposed Kmart store on the economic viability of downtown Fort Bragg and of an expansion of an existing Costco store, with the addition of a gas station, in Redwood City. In Fort Bragg, M&A considered the potential for the proposed store to capture sales that currently "leak" out of the local area to larger nearby retail centers along with its potential to attract purchases away from existing local businesses. Employment and income effects were also addressed. In Redwood City, M&A compared the likely increase in sales at the (proposed) larger Costco store to recent retail sales in the Redwood City market area, and the amount of space added to the existing inventory of retail space devoted to similar types of goods, to evaluate the likely impact. The Redwood City study also included a focus group interview with owners/managers of local gas stations, to identify their concerns about and expectations of the effects of the proposed Costco station.