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TOD Corridors Planning Study (Vermont Station Area)

SSMMA/CSEDC TOD Corridors Planning Study – Phase 2 Implementation

Download the full SSMMA Phase 2 project scope [.pdf].

Key Study Areas

The study area for Phase II will focus on sites in 3 municipalities: Oak Forest, Blue Island and Homewood. All 3 communities have adopted TOD plans for their station areas and are looking to move forward with implementation on specific sites:

City of Blue Island
The City of Blue Island is looking to redevelop 2 small areas near the Vermont Street Station. The 1st area is an approximately 3 acre site located at 2125 Fulton. It is an underutilized parking lot owned by Metra. Preliminary environmental studies indicate some basic remediation activities (tank removal) will be required prior to redevelopment. The second site is an approximately 1.5 acre parcel located at 2250 Fulton. This site currently serves as a commuter parking lot.

City of Oak Forest

The City of Oak Forest is looking to redevelop the current Wille Brothers Company concrete plant located at the southwest corner of 158th Street and Lamon Road as well as the westernmost area of the Gateway Development that remains undeveloped. This redevelopment would complement the planned Gateway Development at the northeast corner of 159th Street and Cicero Avenue. Wille Brother’s has already agreed to relocate elsewhere in the City; City Staff is currently working with the EPA to perform an environmental assessment to make sure the site is clear for future redevelopment.

Village of Homewood

The Village of Homewood is looking to redevelop a 4.05 acre site that is strategic to the revitalization of the Central Business District. This area is bounded by the Metra/Amtrak on the west, Village Municipal Complex on the north, Dixie Highway on the east and the downtown shopping/entertainment district on the south. The Downtown Master Plan, adopted in 2005, identified this area for a TOD development which included two 4-story mixed use buildings at the west end of the redevelopment area and 2-3 story mixed used buildings at the east end of the redevelopment area. The majority of property owners have expressed a willingness to sell their properties for redevelopment; the area is located in a TIF district. This is also the site of a Children’s museum which is currently under negotiation.

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee will include staff from SSMMA and CSEDC and representatives from the RTA, Metra and Pace. Representatives from Blue Island, Homewood and Oak Forest will also participate on the Steering Committee.

Phase 1: Discovery & Diagnosis

The 1st phase of the planning process consists of 7 primary tasks – facilitation of a Kick-Off Meeting, developing a Stakeholder Participation Plan, Background Data Review, Visual Site Assessment Surveys, Existing Conditions Evaluations, Stakeholder Interviews, and Financial Incentive Inventory and Utilization Tolerance. Phase 1 will establish for the consultant team parameters and limitations with which the Conceptual Development Plans and Programs must contend in Phase 2.

Phase 2: Preliminary Site Development Programs

Task 2.1: Conceptual Development Plans & Programs

Utilizing the findings and input collected during Phase 1, the consultant team will prepare a minimum and a maximum approach, Conceptual Development Plan for each of the TOD study sites (total of 8). The Conceptual Development Plans will provide for consideration alternative development programs for each site. The alternatives will each highlight market supportable land uses, their compatibility and incorporation with the surrounding neighborhood, site massing in regards to building and ancillary structure configuration, access/circulation, parking, infrastructure amenities and landscaping, and prototypical exterior architectural style. Each alternative will include 2D and 3D illustrative plans and renderings, photographic development samples, design guidelines, descriptive narrative, and order of magnitude cost estimates.

Task 2.2: Preliminary Pro-Forma Evaluations

The consultant team will prepare pro-forma evaluations for the minimum and maximum approach for each of the four TOD development sites (total of 8 pro-forma evaluations). The pro-forma will clearly relate the construction costs to: land costs; revenue produced from the project; and, required developer rate of returns in order for the development to proceed. The pro-formas will illustrate the relationship between density, tenant revenue, sales price (in the event of equity residential) and various developer return rates in order to begin the decision making process which relates project type and mix to the probability of successful development. The pro-formas will be developed using interactive tools which will allow the Steering Committee to explore multiple pro-forma options quickly and efficiently in order to finalize two proposed plans for each site which meet the community vision and at the same time provide some probability of success with the development community.

Task 2.3: Gap Analysis & Financial Incentive Application

Utilizing the eight approved pro-formas the consultant team will prepare a gap analysis for each concept plan where a negative gap exists. The gap analysis will clearly indicate the areas which generate the gap: developer construction cost vs. the revenue produced by the property; land costs which are too high for the proposed concept; infrastructure requirements which the developer cannot sustain in their pro-forma; expensive parking solutions which cannot be sustained (i.e. parking decks); environmental clean-up requirements; and, any other relevant issue. The consultant team will then illustrate various mixes of options utilizing municipal financing tools which can close the gap. These tools will be presented in an interactive format so that the Steering Committee can see how these tools (including state/regional grant options) can be manipulated to achieve the greatest success. The Steering Committee will select the concept plans which have the best chance to achieve success either through the lack of any gap or through the ability of multiple financial tools to close the gap

Phase 3: Development Scoping & Preliminary RFQ Documents

Task 3.1: Consensus Development Plan & Program

Based on the input provided from the Steering Committee in regards to the desired direction for the conceptual site plans, development programs, and appropriate financial incentives the consultant team will prepare a Consensus Development Plan and Program (a.k.a Final Scoping Documents) for each of the respective transit-oriented development sites (total of 4).

Task 3.2: Preliminary RFQ Solicitation Document

The consultant team will prepare a full RFQ/RFP document for each site (total of 4) which is tailored to the approved site concept and the administrative process within the municipality. In addition, the consultant team will prepare a preliminary list of recommended developers and their contact information who fit the developer typology for the proposed concept. The RFQ/RFP and the initial list of developers will position each municipality to move very quickly when it decides that the market is ready for an aggressive solicitation. For those communities who determine that they wish to do a solicitation immediately (certainly not required), the consultant team will assist in hosting a meeting and site visit as part of the municipal pre-submittal process.

Phase 4: Predevelopment Toolkit & Project Presentation

Phase 4 provides the roadmap for strengthening the capacity of the local officials and staff to “tee up” future transit-oriented sites for development.  In order to help SSMMA/CSEDC assist other municipalities in positioning their TOD sites for future development/redevelopment, the consultant team will standardize and document the processes, evaluations, and procedures used for each of the 3 study sites into a prototypical Predevelopment Tool Kit.

Task 4.1: Predevelopment Toolkit

In order to help SSMMA/CSEDC assist other municipalities in positioning their TOD sites for future development/redevelopment, the consultant team will standardize and document the processes, evaluations, and procedures used for each of the 3 study sites into a prototypical Predevelopment Tool Kit. The components of the Predevelopment Tool Kit may include but are not necessarily limited to:

  • • examples of how developers and tenants view market potential;
  • • review of Metra commuter rail projects to determine the long term role of the TOD;
  • • illustrations of how pro-formas are developed and how the elements in the pro-forma impact development;
  • • discussion of the barriers which developers much cross in order to finance projects in the current and future marketplace;• discussion of the elements of the RFQ/RFP;
  • • discussion of the developer typology scenarios and their relationship to the sites;
  • • a summary of the best practices for municipal developer review once the RFQ/RFP process has been initiated;
  • • discussion of the various tools available and their application to public-private partnerships (i.e. TIF, SSA, grants, height and density variances, zoning variances, provision of municipal infrastructure, sales tax rebate, etc.);
  • • discussion of design guidelines and the flexible manner in which they can be applied; and
  • • community consensus building techniques relative to larger development projects.

Task 4.2: Predevelopment Tool Kit Training Session

The consultant team will conduct a training meeting with local officials, staff, and members of the Steering Committee to familiarize them with the various components, opportunities, and benefits provided within the “Predevelopment Tool Kit”. The training session will be used to further strengthen the internal capacity of the individual municipalities and theirkey officials, staff, and representatives to continue the critical marketing and predevelopment work to “tee up” future TOD sites for development.

Task 4.3: Municipal Project Presentation

The team will facilitate a PowerPoint presentation of the final Chicago Southland TOD Corridors Planning Study – Phase 2 Implementation plan before a meeting of the planning commissions or the Council of each of the municipalities (total of 3 meetings).