Industrial land focus of commercial real estate development association
On Wednesday Aug. 18, board members for NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, responded to a Metro presentation on a proposed Community Investment Strategy with a clear call for economic development. "We need to figure out how to get open for business," said David Kotansky of Felton Properties. Kotansky cited numerous examples of prospective large tenants that located in other regions because they couldn't get what they needed in the Portland area – mainly business-ready, available large lots.
Metro Chief Operating Officer Michael Jordan presented recommendations that he released on Aug. 10 for a regional Community Investment Strategy, calling for smarter investment of both public and private money to create great communities, protect natural areas and develop good jobs. Contained in the recommendations are specific proposals for maintaining the necessary supply of land to accommodate growth for the next 20 years – including modest urban growth boundary expansions for residential and industrial use.
Jordan emphasized that his recommendations include policy changes that would preserve land for industrial use including restricting division of large lots reserved for industrial use and establishing a system to replenish the inventory of industrial land as existing parcels are developed.
Greg Manning, NAIOP Oregon chapter board president, expressed concern about the "low supply of large lot industrial land" included in the recommendations and uncertainty that the metering system proposed for replenishing large lots could move swiftly enough. "Are we handicapping ourselves? The market doesn't have confidence in that philosophy."
Jordan pointed out that much of the land previously brought into the urban growth boundary for industrial use has not been developed, underscoring the need to focus investment in areas that have the governance and resources to support and leverage private development. Expressing skepticism that current assumptions about public investment are achievable, Brad Miller of Ball Janik LLP concurred that we "need to be explicit about putting money where local governments want to grow."
The meeting ended with several proposals of collaboration: NAIOP Executive Director Kelly Ross suggested convening a group of elected officials and private sector leaders to discuss and explore the "state of the market". Greg Manning pointed out that NAIOP members have broad professional expertise that could be called into play to evaluate potential industrial and employment sites.