Construction starts next year on National Western Center

Colorado– A collaborative project between the city of Denver, Denver County, Colorado State University and the Western Stock Show Association will transform the stock show campus along Interstate 70 into a year-round destination. The first two phases of construction, costing $756 million, will stretch over the next seven years for the National Western Center. The redevelopment will preserve historic buildings, connect the site to the South Platte River and surrounding neighborhoods, and potentially create one of the largest campuses to be powered by renewable energy.

 

Major assets within the National Western Center’s first two phases will include redevelopment of the stockyards, construction of a 508,000-square-foot, year-round Equestrian Center with 1,050 below-grade parking spaces, and a Livestock Center, including an equestrian barn and arenas. When not in use for the stock show, the 325,000-square-foot Livestock Center will provide multiuse space for small concerts and other events.

 

The final piece to the National Western Center, a 60-acre parcel known as the Triangle, will include construction of a new 10,000-seat event center to replace the Denver Coliseum, along with a Trade Show and Exhibit Hall, structured parking and renovation of the historic 1909 Stadium Arena into a new use. A request for qualifications is expected to go out late this year. National Western Center partners will be looking for innovation and creativity to deliver the required and associated uses on the Triangle site. The hope is for the county to start breaking ground on the projects as early as 2019.

Atlanta BeltLine considers P3 for housing/transit projects

Georgia– Amid a leadership switch, Atlanta BeltLine Inc, the city’s urban redevelopment program is rethinking how it will create its new housing and transit plans. In 2005, the agency set a goal to build 5,600 affordable housing units within the BeltLine Tax Allocation District. The project has a deadline of 2030. So far only 1,600 homes have been constructed.

 

Now, officials are considering a public-private partnership for the development. Twelve years into the 24-year project and only $600 million of the $5 billion for the project has been spent. About $3 billion of that price tag was the cost of adding transit along the BeltLine. The project will need to build 300 to 400 homes per year to reach its goal in addition to developing its transportation component. The Beltline organization plans to have a specially-called meeting in the next couple weeks to figure out the next steps.

ODOT to form public-private partnership for autonomous vehicle testing

Ohio– The city of Columbus will be testing self-driving shuttle buses this year and to get those autonomous wheels turning, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released a request for proposals that will be due Aug. 13. Vehicle testing is to start in October, with service to begin in December and continue into 2019. Each shuttle will hold roughly 12 passengers and an operator will be on-board to take over the shuttle if necessary.

 

This is a collaborative project between Smart Columbus, ODOT’s DriveOhio, the state agency devoted to autonomous-vehicle research and Ohio State University. The test is a result of Columbus winning the Smart City Challenge in 2016 and receiving $40 million grant from the United States Department of Transportation and a $10 million grant from Paul G. Allen Philanthropies.

 

The downtown shuttle service will be the first of a three-phase program that will include future testing in other locations of the city. According to the proposal, the fleet operations will be similar to a traditional transit service, with predetermined routes and stops. The first automated-vehicle pilot of the series aims to provide a shuttle service to help circulate people within a developing area adjacent to downtown Columbus. The test is meant to evaluate self-driving vehicles and to develop guidelines for self-driving technology that could be used by cities throughout the country.

Denver considers P3 office for vetting large projects

Colorado– Denver has a $1 billion plan for the National Western Center campus. The only issue is, funding subsequent phases of the project. City leaders are considering a series of public-private partnerships (P3) for those projects. Part of the plan includes creating an office dedicated to vetting and overseeing such projects. Projects deemed large enough to warrant P3 treatment would go through five stages: planning, screening, structuring, procurement and implementation. The office would include an executive director, an attorney and a financial specialist.

 

The city budgeted $2.5 million for the creation of a P3 office but it requires council approval. The city’s portion of the campus project amounts to $765 million but the remaining balance is unfunded. Later phases that need funding call for a 10,000-seat arena, a large exposition hall, the redevelopment of the Denver Coliseum and the retrofitting of the century-old Stadium Arena to turn it into a market.