New Light Rail Transit Line Promotes Urban Development In Denver Suburb

A light rail transit line is opening Friday and could remind long time residents of an earlier time in Denver’s existence when their trolley route through the suburbs to Golden, CO was booming. The Denver Tramway Corp.’s Route 84 connected suburban ranch homes to jobs in the city. When cars and buses replaced the trolley in the 1950′s, West Colfax Avenue corridor was a neon showplace of shopping, dining, and entertainment.

With the launch of a new light rail transit line, Denver officials are anticipating a boom returning to the area. Millions of private and public dollars have been invested and business owners are anxious for the possibilities of this new line.

One developer is using 5 acres to redevelop and place 110 homes 400 feet south of the Lamar Station Crossing light rail station.

Projects are coming out of the ground, and deals are being done right and left. West Colfax is on its way back. It’s just taking off. – Bill Marino, Director of the Lakewood -West Colfax Business improvement District

The West Rail Line — or W Line — is the first completed project in the $6.5 billion FasTracks mass transit package approved by voters in 2004 and paid for with a 0.4 percent sales tax. The Regional Transportation District projects the line will initially carry more than 19,300 riders daily, which is slightly more than the entire population of Golden.

If you are interested in learning more about light rail transit and how it can benefit your city, contact RWA today and let us help you.

Denver RTD Light Railimage credit: Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious on flickr

Multifamily Development In Denver CO Receives Backing From Urban Land Conservancy And U.S Department Of Housing And

The Urban Land Conservancy, in partnership with the Piton Foundation and Gary Community Investment Co., City of Denver and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently purchased the largest land purchase in ULC history. The purchase of 9.4 acres at about $6 million will be used to develop 156 permanently affordable apartments and additional assets to benefit the community.

This is ULC’s largest acquisition using Denver’s $15-million Transit-Oriented Development Fund, the country’s first fund created specifically to preserve and develop affordable housing near public transit, according to a ULC statement.

The property, called Park Hill Village West, is located in an area of northeast Denver where many families lack access to affordable housing, high-performing schools and quality healthcare. Connecting affordable multifamily housing to public transit is a necessity for PHVW and the property is located at the 40th/Colorado station on the East rail line of FasTracks. The commuter rail travels through an area of Denver that Piton has targeted because the neighborhoods are home to nearly 35,000 children living in poverty.

RWA understands the importance of transit-oriented development. Visit the RWA Transportation Consulting page to learn more and continue the conversation. 

Denver skylineimage credit: MomentsForZen on flickr

Cumberland County Future Transportation Projects Centered Around Economic Development

Cumberland County’s new transportation plan, which was approved this month, will have an economic focus on the direction of future transit policies. The hope is is to improve the connection between the county and the larger markets of South Jersey.

 It sets the direction in terms of future policies. It looks at transportation as the primary economic driver for Cumberland County. – Planning Board Director, Bob Brewer

The plan noted that economic development is ultimately dependent on transportation access, with roads serving as the main conduits for commerce and commuting in the county. In one possibility of changes to come, Brewer said the plan will set a future outline for improving express bus lines between Bridgeton and Atlantic City.

RWA understands the importance of economic development and its partnership with transportation development. Light rail development has been integral in economic development in major cities across the US. According to APTA, the rule for economic development around light rail development is 7 to 1. That means for every dollar spent in light rail, seven will be invested in economic development around the light rail.

Talk with RWA today and let us help you plan your communities transportation future. Economic development is important in every community and RWA knows how to help develop the right plan.

The Tide Light Rail Economic Developmentimage credit: tracktwentynine on flickr

Featured Photo: RWA President W. Randy Wright & Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye

RWA President W. Randy Wright, Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye

RWA President W. Randy Wright & Nigeria Ambassador to the USA H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye at The Africa – America International Business Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Wright spoke to conference attendees on Economic Growth Potentials in Light Rail.

Father of Light Rail to Speak to the Africa – America International Business Forum on Light Rail’s Influence on Economic Development

Randy Wright & Associates’ President will be speaking alongside other dignitaries in Atlanta, GA on the economic growth potentials in light rail.

NORFOLK VA, FEBRUARY 22, 2013: RWA President, W. Randy Wright, will be attending The Africa – America International Business Forum at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Atlanta, GA on March 14-16, 2013. During the 3-day event Mr. Wright will present on the topic of Economic Growth Potentials in Light Rail to a group of international bankers, independent financiers, market analysts and policy advisors, policy and business leaders from the U.S. and Africa, trade finance professionals, and commercial service diplomats among other multinationals and subject-matter-experts.

African Leadership Magazine is holding the event with the theme: “Harnessing Africa – The New Economic Frontier, the Forum shall attract leading business and policy leaders from Africa and the Americas, and highlight the need for a fully diversified American investment strategy in African Economies. The event is also aimed at leveraging on the provisions of the AGOA Act which has been underexploited by both the African Investors and their United States counterpart.”

Other distinguished guests and presenters at the event include H.E. Prof. Ade Adefuye, Nigeria Ambassador to the USA; Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, President African Business Roundtable & Chairman, African Leadership Magazine Advisory Board; Dr. Ken Giami, Editor-in-chief/CEO, African Leadership Magazine; H.E. Hon. Joyce Banda, President, Republic of Malawi; The Rt. Hon. Xavier Luc Duval, Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Finance, Republic of Mauritius; Sir Cletus Wotorson, President of the Senate, Republic of Liberia; DeLois Babiker, CEO, Intellectual Concepts, Atlanta; Chris Clark, President/CEO, Georgia Chamber of Commerce; Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Uganda; Rt. Hon Xavier Luc-Duval, Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Finance, Mauritius; Bisi Onasanya, Group Managing Director, First Bank Plc Nigeria; Dr. Joyce Aryee, Fmr CEO Ghana Chamber of Mines; Arc.Musa Sada, Minister of Mines & steel Development, Nigeria; Gov. Abdul Aziz Yari, Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Nigeria; Dr. Toks Onabanjo, CEO Pan African Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Quenton Dokken, President Golf of Mexico Foundation, Corpus Christi, Texas; Mr. Kojo Atta-Krah, CEO, PBC Gha Ltd; Tony Imokhuede, Chairman, Pan African Chamber of Commerce.

“I am extremely honored to be selected to participate in the Africa – America International Business Forum next month in Atlanta,” said Mr. Wright. “To be on the same dais with internationally known Heads of State is extraordinary for RWA. This is a unique opportunity to step on the International stage as a recognized authority on Rail Economic Development.”

More information on The Africa – America International Business Forum can be found online at

Randy Wright & Associates is a development, transportation, and government relations consulting firm focused on public/private finance and land planning. The firm provides a unique range of services to builders, developers, and municipalities by joining together the experience of finance options and government contacts. The consultants at RWA have experience in residential, commercial and urban development projects in Virginia and across the United States. For more information on Randy Wright & Associates, visit

Media and interview requests for W. Randy Wright and Randy Wright & Associates should be directed to JASE Group LLC at for scheduling.


The Father of Light Rail to Appear on WTJZ AM1270

Hampton Roads’ own Father of Light Rail will appear on WTJZ on Friday, 2/22 at 2:00 PM.Tune your radio to AM1270 to hear RWA President W. Randy Wright talk about such topics as transit-oriented development around light rail, urban development, and his upcoming speech to the African-American International Business Forum in Atlanta, GA.


York County Officials Unsure Retrofitting Yorktown Power Station Is An Option

The State Corporation Commission has asked Dominion Power to look into retrofitting the Yorktown Power Station for natural gas rather than shutting the station down completely. York County officials fear that retrofitting the station may not be an option. According York County officals, there is not a large enough supply of natural gas to power the plant.

We do not have a large enough supply, a large enough pipe, to support [a natural gas] unit here in Yorktown. The distance a pipe would have to travel to supply natural gas to the station would be cost prohibitive.  – Jim Noel, Director of York County’s Office of Economic Development
York County and Dominion officials have sat down for one meeting so far and a second will be scheduled for later in February. Noel said he is concerned about waiting until Jan. 1, 2015 for a complete shutdown and the station to be left with no alternatives. The Yorktown Station has employed around 100 people at any point and time over the years.

We want to try to get in front of this as much as we possibly can, you have a unique confluence of attributes, access to deep water, rail, heavy industrial zoning, access to the grid through transmission lines, and obviously, plenty of electric power. So how could that site be repurposed in a way that would bring jobs and investment to the county? – Jim Noel

RWA specializes in government relations knowing that sometimes it takes the right person to bridge the gap between business and government. Contact RWA today and learn how we can help your project. 

Yorktown Powerstationimage credit: Dominion Power

Congratulations To Suffolk Economic Development Director Kevin Hughes On 40 Under 40 Rising Stars Award

Recently  Suffolk announced that its Director of Economic Development, Kevin Hughes, is being honored for bringing economic success to the city of Suffolk during his tenure. Suffolk is the largest city in Virginia, by land area, and during Hughes’ time as Director of Economic Development, Suffolk has been on the prosperous end of economic growth.

In the last 10 years Suffolk has seen it’s population increase 32% while seeing many businesses bring their operations to Suffolk, including the 330,000 square foot distribution center that was added to the Port of Virginia. The Navy’s Cyber Forces command will move to Suffolk in August 2013 and will create 1500 jobs, helping to ease the blow of jobs lost when Joint Forces Command was shut down in 2011.

Development Counselors International recently selected Hughes to receive their 40 under 40 Rising Stars in Economic Development award. Hughes attributes Suffolk’s success in development by presenting projects to the planning commission that are already set up for success so that deals aren’t caught up in feasibility studies and red tape.

RWA understands the importance of presenting feasible plans when working in urban land development. Contact RWA today to learn how to make your next urban land development project a success. 

Port of Virginia Suffolkimage credit: VaDOT on flickr

Dearborn Michigan Looking For Input On Transit Oriented Development Plan

According to an article from the Press & Guide, developing a new train station has the city planner for Dearborn Michigan taking suggestions on what should be the vision of the new train station. Elizabeth Hendley, city planner for Dearborn, is looking for input on development of the space around the new train station being built.

The concept, called “Transit Oriented Development”, allows for anyone to suggest ideas for potential land development ideas based on two plans that have been proposed. The work is funded by a MiPlace Partnership grant from the state with the help of Michigan State University, the Michigan Municipal League, and Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

The goal of transit-oriented development is to create a mixture of housing, office, retail and other commercial amenities in a walkable neighborhood — all within half a mile of quality public transportation, the report says.

RWA worked closely with the City of Norfolk to make sure the implementation of The Tide Light Rail system was done with the best interests of the City of Norfolk. Urban land development and transportation development go hand in hand and are an integral part to a city’s long term success.

Would you like to know more about transportation consulting or urban land development consulting? Contact RWA to and let us help you plan your next development project.

Dearborn Aerial Viewimage credit: contemplative imaging on flickr

Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority Set To Purchase Vacant Parcel For Future Development

Pittsburgh’s Urban Redevelopment Authority is set to purchase a vacant/tax-delinquent parcel in Lawrenceville owned by a deceased business man whose estate is being handled by the wife of a city councilman.

URA board members were set to vote last week on a sales agreement and the acquisition of the property. If approved, the purchase would complete the acquisition of the entire property and give planners one large uninterrupted parcel for development.

Redevelopment projects are vital to the continued success of our communities. Negotiating these acquisitions can be sometimes difficult and troubled to navigate, but having committed parties, and, sometimes, a knowledgeable consultant can help navigate these projects.

Randy Wright and Associates specializes in urban land development consulting. If you would like to learn more about how we can help consult on your next development project, contact RWA today.  

Urban Land Developmentimage credit: ehavir on flickr

Long Island Receives $60 million for Multimodal and Economic Development Projects

New York’s Regional Economic Development Councils recently awarded Long Island nearly 60 million in funding for 86 multimodal and economic development projects in  Nassau and Suffolk counties, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced.

The Regional Councils was created in 2011 by Gov. Cuomo as strategy to revive the economy and create jobs. The Regional Councils’s approach to economic development is a community-based, performance-driven approach. The program promotes community, business, academic leaders, and members of the public in each region New York to work together to develop strategic plans specifically for their region. Each region focuses on their strengths and resources to initiate projects that will create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Long Island was awarded $59.7 million for 86 projects in Nassau and Suffolk counties. According to a release by Gov. Cuomo office included below are some of the multimodal and economic development projects funded:

  • $1 million to support the construction of an $80 million, 94,000 sq. ft. Research Institute at Winthrop University Hospital in the Village of Mineola. The Institute will be a medical research and education facility that will focus on diabetes and obesity.
  • $1 million to support the construction of a sewage collection system for the Ronkonkoma Hub transit-oriented development. The system will connect the proposed mixed use redevelopment project a to new sewage treatment plant being constructed by Suffolk County with Round One Regional Council support. A second component in the Town of Islip involves the construction of a four lane access road of approximately 9,000 linear feet to a 60-acre undeveloped parcel at MacArthur Airport. This project is critical to the retention of the FAA Tracon Facility on Long Island and retention of 800 jobs.
  • $1 million to construct a new Long Island Railroad station and pedestrian overpass, providing access to new commuter parking areas in Wyandanch.
  • $500,000 for Nassau County to redevelop the 77-acre Nassau Hub area to include a new state-of-the-art indoor sports arena, minor league baseball park, retail, office and residential development.
  • $500,000 for the expansion of the Brookhaven Rail Terminal in Yaphank to include construction of a 500,000 sq. ft. refrigerated warehouse and a multi-modal rail freight facility to transport of product on and off Long Island.

As a nationally recognized economic development consulting firm, Randy Wright and Associates is an industry leader in urban development and multimodal transportation projects. Follow our blog for the latest industry news and trends. 

Regional Economic Development Councilimage credit: Governorandrewcuomo on Flickr

High Speed Rail to Connect Michigan and Illinois

Troy, MI is one step closer to becoming the hub of regional high speed rail and bus service between Michigan and Illinois. Troy’s old Amtrak station will be torn down and replaced with a modern multi-modal transportation center, however existing rail line will be used.

The Troy Multimodal Center groundbreaking, for the 6.3 million, 28,000-square-foot project, occurred in November. The center’s site will include a 2,000-square-foot building connecting a pedestrian bridge to the train platform, a docking station for as many as four buses and parking for commuters and travelers.

Funding for the Troy Multimodal Transit Center was secured by Congressman Gary Peters. This project and several others in metro Detroit, the state and region are a part of a reinvestment plan by the Federal government. The goal is to offer a modern, safe ADA compliant facillty that is easy to use and promotes greater mobility options through a centralized facility that provides access to intercity passenger rail service, regional bus routes, taxi services and the Troy-Oakland Airport. Similar stations are also going to be built in Dearborn and Pontiac, both cities are located along a rail line that has been identified for high speed rail between Michigan and Chicago.

In a statement at the groundbreaking Congressman Peters emphasized the important of multimodal transportation projects. “Wherever there has been transit investment there’s been economic development,” he said at the facilities groundbreaking. The project is expected to stimulate employment and economic development in the surrounding communities.

As a leading transportation consulting firm, Randy Wright and Associates is an industry leader in urban development and multimodal transportation projects. Follow our blog for the latest industry news and trends.

US Groundbreakingimage credit: sabrefans77 on Flickr

Alaska Governor Proposes 12.8 Billion State Budget

Alaska Governor, Sean Parnell recently announced a proposed state budget that would increase by less than one percent over the previous year’s budget. In a speech to the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, Parnell proposed an operating budget that spends $9 billion overall and a state general fund portion of $5.7 billion. According to Parnell, Alaskans won’t feel any major changes. The lack of budget increase is expected to come from savings in Medicaid costs.

With Parnell’s plan state spending will be down nearly $1.1 billion from this year. Deductions occurred primarily with spending for buildings and other facilities. In Parnell’s proposal, the capital budget of $1.8 billion is decreased from this year’s $2.9 billion. Accordingly, the state general fund portion of the capital budget would see a 59 percent decrease, down from $1.9 billion.

If last year’s budget had been matched, Alaska would have had to dip into the state’s savings account.

“Our fiscal plan is built on our state’s resources and spending discipline. We focus on priorities that grow our economy and strengthen our families – for Alaskans today and tomorrow,” Said Gov. Parnell.

Key initiatives that will be pushed as a part of the budget are:  public safety, resource development, education and transportation. $531 million is proposed for state energy projects, including $95 million for field work toward a federal license for the Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project. A dam and other infrastructure earlier this year was estimated at $4.3 billion.  $50 million was also included for natural gas pipeline development. The money will be split evenly between reimbursement for companies working on a major line under the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act and the Alaska Gasline Development Corp.

Proposed multimodal transportation projects included more than $1 billion in road, airport and ferry spending, including $8.5 million for the Ambler Mining District road, $7 million for the Dalton Highway and $2 million for the Department of Transportation to identify corridors to timber and mineral deposits as part of the “Roads to Resources” program. The budget also included $10 million for a fund for the Knik Arm Bridge.

Randy Wright and Associates specializes in economic and urban development. Contact us to jumpstart your next urban development project. 

Alaskaimage credit: blmiers2 on Flickr

Grand Rapids Proposes Economic Development Projects for Federal Grants

According to an article in MLive, the West Michigan Regional Planning Commission recently updated a series of economic development projects to include bringing four additional projects on board for the city of Grand Rapids. These projects could be eligible for grants from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

“What this does is allow us to include projects that we think might be eligible for funding and pursue funding,” said Kara Wood, the city’s economic development director. “They’re on the drawing boards should money become available, but chances are they’re not going to happen without the EDA investment.”

Below are the four multimodal transportation projects:

1. Seward Avenue extension from Butterworth Street south to Wealthy Street. In 2011 Grand Rapids received a federal grant for the extension of Seward from Fulton Street to Butterworth.  The city has long-term plans to rebuild Seward Avenue north of Leonard and eventually connecting with West River Drive.

2. Acquire corridor of land along the railroad from Leonard and Plainfield Avenue to East Beltline Avenue. There is an Michigan Street Corridor study project to consider developing a multi-modal transportation hub along part of the railroad.

3. Rebuild Godfrey Avenue SW from Market Avenue to the city limit. The road feeds into an industrial area and would be reconstructed with water/sewer infrastructure, street lighting and bike lanes.

4. Conduct a feasibility study for a life sciences business incubator in the North Monroe area. Grand Rapids has a SmartZone tax district that includes a business incubator in Grand Valley State University’s Cook DeVos Center for Health Sciences, but a deal for using that space expires in 2017, Wood said. The city wants a grant to fund a study of where to move the incubator.

As a nationally recognized transportation consulting firm, Randy Wright and Associates is an industry leader in urban development and multimodal transportation projects. Follow our blog for the latest industry news and trends. 

mapimage credit: davecito on Flickr

Sacramento Delays Selecting Developer for Low Income Housing Community

The Sacramento City Council postponed selecting a developer for its revitalization plan of low income housing communities, Alder Grove and Marina Vista, in northwest Land Park. The city council decided to postpone after receiving complaints from residents about inclusion in the planning of the project.

John Shirey, City Manager and the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency – which oversees the 751-unit project – are developing a plan that incorporates the redesign of the low income housing communities with other city plans to develop the surrounding neighborhood. Other city projects include developing an industrial area west of the neighborhood, the broadway commercial strip, and the Sacramento riverfront.

According to Shirey, he would like city and housing officials to work with residents to develop a vision “to build a new neighborhood in Sacramento that is close in (to downtown).” His hope is that a more developed community would allow economic advancement for the community’s children.

The SHRA is proposing to knock down the aging housing units at Alder Grove and Marina Vista – formerly New Helvetia and Seavey Circle. The housing units, which date back to World War II, house 2,500 people. The new development would include new low-income units that will be incorporated into a larger neighborhood revitalization plan.

Randy Wright and Associates specializes in economic and urban development. Contact us to jumpstart your next urban development project. 

Sacramento Skylineimage credit: Cynezero on Flickr

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