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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds 5.8 Developers An increasing number of developers and property managers around North America are becoming interested in car-sharing. This is especially true for new housing and mixed-use developments. There are also several com- mercial developments, such as the Bank of America Tower in Seattle, which have incorporated car-sharing successfully. Goals and Benefits Car-sharing provides several benefits to developers and property managers, including the following: · It is an amenity to residents and tenants, particularly for those without a car. One developer pointed to competitive pressure; in some urban markets, car-sharing may be becoming a standard amenity in new apartment buildings. It is an amenity for the de- veloper as well, since car-sharing is a turnkey solution with little involvement from the developer. Some developers also mention that car-sharing will help marketing the development, but that it is not their main motivation. · It promotes sustainability and corporate citizenship. Forest City Enterprises in Denver, CO sees car-sharing as a contribution to sustainability, which is one of the firm's eight core corporate values. In Seattle, Equity Office Properties considers promotion of car-sharing as part of its obligation as a good corporate citi- zen. It has a wider interest in improving transportation, in order to maintain the accessibility and attractiveness of its properties downtown. Car-sharing can also help developers gain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. At present, car-sharing is not formally incorporated in the LEED rating system, although some projects such as Hillsdale Library in Multnomah County, Oregon have used car-sharing to gain an innovation credit. However, draft LEED proposals would formally incorporate car-sharing into the alternative transportation credits (US Green Building Council, 2004). · It can be used as a parking mitigation. By introducing car-shar- ing, some developers have been able to reduce the number of parking spaces required by parking ordinances. For instance, the Gaia Building in Berkeley has 91 apartments and 10,000 square feet of commercial space, but only 40 parking spaces. (More details of car-sharing's relationship to the development process are provided in Section 5.5 earlier in this chapter.) There is also a financial incentive to developers who incorporate car-sharing to reduce parking requirements. A Canadian survey respondent mentions that the cost savings to developers from reduced park- ing $20,000 per stall far outweigh the cost of car-sharing. He stated that one developer received a variance to provide 100 fewer Page 5-43
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Chapter 5 · The Role of Partners stalls for an investment in car-sharing of just $50,000, plus a mem- bership purchase. Finding a Partner Often, partnerships have been established through the developer making contact with a local car-sharing operator to establish a partnership. Most operators, however, see the development market as an important new source of growth and have made significant outreach efforts to attract developers. City CarShare in San Francisco, for example, has placed articles in profes- sional journals for developers and spoken at industry conferences such as one organized by the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California. Non-profit organizations can also play a role in encouraging developers to adopt car-sharing. In San Francisco, the Housing Action Coalition endorses residential projects that meet its criteria, in order to help them gain plan- ning approval. One criterion is the incorporation of City CarShare into a development. Types of Support Parking is the main support provided by developers and property managers. Some developers also invest financially, for example in locations where car- sharing may not be commercially viable. Administrative support, however, is usually not required, since this is handled by the car-sharing operator. As with employers, the turnkey nature of car-sharing services is a key attraction to developers and property managers. Marketing Most developers and property managers have a vested interest in making car-sharing work in their complexes and are therefore keen to promote the service. This is particularly true for those that provide financial support, but also for other developers who risk losing a service if it is not used enough to be commercially viable. Marketing techniques include newsletters, promotional material posted in leasing/management offices, and website information. JSM at its Venezia Apartments complex in Santa Monica, CA, promotes car-sharing to a wider audience through signage on the exterior of the building. Equity Office Properties manages the Bank of America Tower in Seattle, WA, and promotes Flexcar as part of its Commute Options Program (Exhibit 5- 24). Equity offers each company in the building $250 to get signed up and Page September 2005 5-44
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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds driving with Flexcar. It also helped make a major marketing push when the service first began, with cleaning staff leaving material on employee desks overnight, and promotional messages on LED signs in elevators. Ac- cording to Equity, property managers have a particular role in promoting car-sharing to smaller employers who may not be subject to trip reduction or similar TDM legislation. Car-sharing in a new development can also be an indirect marketing tool in itself, in that car-sharing helps to promote the development. Bruno Wall at Wall Financial Cor- poration in Vancouver, BC states that bringing car-sharing into one of his new developments, the Electric Avenue Condominiums, has not needed any extra marketing. In fact, the development "is probably more well-known now because of this green and creative idea." In another Canadian example, AutoShare's website features details of condo- minium projects where it provides Exhibit 5-24 Equity Properties in Seattle has established a Commute Option Program for its Bank service. of America Tower. Parking Most developers and property managers provide free parking for the car- sharing vehicles that are placed in their complexes, either because it is an amenity to the residents or because it is part of a development agreement for reduced parking. The vehicles are typically located in spaces with high visibility and access, to encourage non-users and to further promote the concept. If the car-sharing operator is a non-profit organization, the value of these spaces is tax deductible. Most often the car-sharing vehicles are used not only by tenants, but by all members of the car-sharing organization, in order to maximize utilization. A major concern for many developers is how non-tenants get access to the vehicles that are placed in secure garages. Partly for this reason, Forest City Enterprises stresses the need to consider the location of parking for car-shar- ing during the development phase, when issues such as garage access and Page 5-45
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Chapter 5 · The Role of Partners overall parking ratios can be considered. There are different solutions to this problem. Citizens' Housing and Pan- oramic Interests (Exhibit 5-25) are two developers in the San Francisco Bay Area that have incorporated car-sharing into their mixed-use developments, in exchange for more flexible parking requirements. Non-resident members can use their City CarShare fob to access the garages. Flexcar in Washington, DC and Seattle, WA uses the same technique. A manager in Los Angeles lets non-resident Flexcar members receive the access code to the building when booking the car online. Financial In most cases, developments that incorporate car-sharing are lo- cated in neighborhoods where the service is commercially viable. Sometimes, however, financial in- centives may be necessary in order to convince a car-sharing operator to provide service in less favorable locations, or to reduce tenants' bar- riers to joining. A US example is the Buckman Heights development in Portland, Photo: City CarShare OR. The developer of this 144-unit mixed-use project agreed for the first year to cover the operational costs of two CarSharing Portland Exhibit 5-25 City CarShare vehicle entering vehicles available to tenants. Panoramic Interests' Gaia Building in Berkeley, CA. Another reason for financial support may be to waive or reduce the require- ment for deposits, which can pose a barrier to tenants signing up. UBC Properties has given a grant to the University Neighborhoods Association in Vancouver, British Columbia. The grant will be used to subsidize 50% of the $500 membership fee for the Cooperative Auto Network (CAN). Wall Financial in Vancouver has gone one step further and offered to actu- ally buy the first seven vehicles for CAN in order to get around the $500 membership fee. CAN would then manage these vehicles like any other CAN vehicle. By doing so, the condominium owners avoid the need to join Page September 2005 5-46
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Car-Sharing: Where and How It Succeeds the cooperative and thus only pay a $20 registration fee rather than a $500 membership share. Some of the most extensive examples come from European developers. For example, a 250-unit car-free housing development in Vienna, Austria Autofreie Mutersiedlung Floridsdorf has only 25 parking spaces, which are exclusively for car-sharing vehicles. Residents have free membership in the car-sharing club for the first year, to which 57% of the households have subscribed. The complex is also situated near public transit. Memberships Another form of support for car-sharing involves subsidizing membership fees. This may be necessary to convince a car-sharing operator to provide service, be required as a condition of a development agreement, or sim- ply provided voluntarily as a tenant amenity. Developers of a residential property in Victoria will provide two cars and permanent parking stalls for them, and will purchase a membership for each unit. The membership will be assigned in perpetuity to the unit, not to the current occupants. Other developers follow suit. When the Electric Avenue Condominiums, a 456- unit complex in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, opens in summer 2005, the condo owners will be offered affiliated membership in CAN, a non-profit car-sharing organization. Again, Europe provides some of the most far-reaching examples. Developers in Freiberg, Germany subsidize a one-year free pass on all public transit and a 50% discount on train tickets when residents join the car-sharing club. Some property managers have corporate accounts and use the service in the same way as any other employer. For instance, Equity Office Proper- ties in Seattle, WA is a corporate member and uses car-sharing vehicles for business. Page 5-47