Field Studies in Real Estate

Field studies sponsored by property owners, non-profit organizations and public agencies in the United States and Ireland will be undertaken by students working in teams of four to eight members. Past projects have included development plans for brownfield properties, complex mixed-use urban redevelopment sites, urban fringe community development, redevelopment of dying shopping malls, and research on complex real estate finance issues. Students work in interdisciplinary teams under the guidance of the professors and in cooperation with the sponsor. Students will visit the sites in late February or early March. Expenses are covered by the Field Study sponsors. Field study work is tailored to the needs of each problem site. The course emphasizes the financial implications of design alternatives that respond to realistic market demand, political, and other regulatory constraints. Investigations include development feasibility studies (market, physical, environmental, financial, and political), site planning, building design, urban design, landscape and streetscape, working with the community, financing, public/private joint ventures, public impacts, and other critical factors affecting the best solution to planning, design and development of each property. This is a four unit class but the nature of the class typically requires more time than other four unit classes. Students will select the project they want to work on. An in-class lottery will be used if too many students prefer a particular project. Field study projects for Spring, 2005 include the following urban development problems:1. Complex mixed use redevelopment on an island in Newry, Ireland. Newry is located on the border of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and was the scene of violence until the peace was signed five years ago. Four MDES students will work on this Field Study in conjunction with eight students who are in the Newry studio. This project emphasizes design alternatives for the island adjacent to the town center. Potential uses include residential, commercial, public, recreation, and harbor-oriented uses. The Field study emphasizes integrating the island into the town center as well as providing for view corridors, pedestrian flow, open space, landscaping, low-rise retail, and mid-rise residential buildings. Design and planning students may register for eight units by signing up for the Newry Option Studio. 2. Conservation land development project in Hanover, New Hampshire. This field study emphasizes integrating development into nature for two sites in Hanover – one is a mixed use commercial/residential site in a village center; the other is a farm on the edge of town in the conservation belt for which limited residential development is planned. For both sites, the preservation of 60-80 percent of the site in a natural state is required. For the mixed use site, the challenge is to create a viable center of activity inside the nature preserve through the siting of commercial and residential uses. For the residential farmland site, the challenge is to integrate the open space into a larger network of open space. Investigations include design alternatives, financing alternatives, market analyses and site analyses as well as legal and joint venture structuring issues. 3. Creating a National park in Alliance Texas in the northwestern part of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex. This Field Study will extend work done in two previous field studies of Wise County, adjacent to Alliance Texas in which students developed a regional open space plan surrounding an urban-edge county beginning to experience rapid growth. The developers of Alliance Texas want to study the opportunity to create a national park on their property, taking advantage of the nearby LBJ National Grasslands. Among the questions the students will address are the following: What is the opportunity for a national park on or ad