All posts in “News”

Bob Geolas Joins HR&A Advisors in North Carolina



Please join us in welcoming our newest Partner, Robert (Bob) Geolas. Bob is a nationally-recognized leader in the development of innovation districts, university campuses, and research parks, and most recently served as CEO of the Research Triangle Park Foundation. Bob brings his vision of placemaking as a public service to HR&A, where he will work with public, private, and university clients to deliver economic growth and real estate strategies that enhance assets and communities.


“Bob is a bold, visionary, and thoughtful leader. He has the rare ability to inspire while pursuing practical steps to get something built – uniting real estate savvy, discipline, and political skill.”
– John H. Alschuler, Chairman

Bob has 20 years of experience advancing the missions of top research and technology campuses for greater public impact. He led the first redevelopment of Research Triangle Park in over 50 years, and, as Executive Director of the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR), helped created one of the country’s most successful public-private research and development campuses.


“I am enormously proud to be joining such a well-respected team of talented and thoughtful leaders.  HR&A provides the ideal platform to serve our universities, our great cities and our diverse communities as they imagine and build new centers of innovation to promote dynamic and robust economies.”
– Bob Geolas


In addition to his role as Executive Director at CU-ICAR, Bob previously served as the Centennial Campus Coordinator for North Carolina State University. Bob also has significant public-sector experience and has worked for the North Carolina Department of Transportation, The Resource Center for State Laws and Regulations, and the North Carolina General Assembly.


Bob will join Director Kyle Vangel in HR&A’s Raleigh office and can be reached at


The Landscape Architecture Foundation Appoints Stan Wall to its Board of Directors

Stan Wall joins a distinguished group of landscape architects, designers, planners, and engineers to guide the direction of America’s leading landscape architecture organization.


We are delighted to announce the appointment of Stan Wall to the Board of the Landscape Architecture Foundation, an organization that provides best-in-field research and scholarship in the field of landscape architecture, and awards fellowships to promising students and professionals. As someone who is dedicated to contributing to urban spaces and environments, we can’t think of a better individual to help guide such a dedicated organization in support of the preservation, improvement, and enhancement of the environment.


Stan has worked to preserve and enhance urban green spaces throughout his career as a development consultant, private developer, and public-sector official. He continues to ensure the development of inclusive and sustainable places through his work in HR&A’s parks and open space practice, where he is creating funding and financing strategies for parks and open spaces in Atlanta and Washington, DC.


We’re very proud of Stan’s accomplishment and look forward to the future successes of the Landscape Architecture Foundation.


To learn more about Stan and his work, read his bio here.

The Hub@GCT Opens at Grand Central Tech


Image Courtesy NYCEDC

Today marks the official opening The HUB@GCT, a partnership between Grand Central Tech and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC). HR&A is proud to have supported the HUB@GCT’s successful proposal to secure a funding commitment from the NYCEDC, which will help provide 50,000 square feet of working space, as well as and programming and support services, for companies that produce technology-based solutions to address today’s urban challenges.


Grand Central Tech is a highly selective tech-accelerator that is committed to growing a diverse and accessible tech economy in New York City. The accelerator provides free space to tech-startups without requiring an equity investment, and leverages its premiere East Midtown location to provide companies with top advisors, educational and corporate partners, and a network of investors. HR&A advised on the expansion of this proven business model – building upon our work on OneNYC, the Strategic Plan for the Brooklyn Tech Triangle, and NYC BigApps – to realize the City’s policy objectives of growing the NYC tech sector in Midtown Manhattan; providing diverse and inclusive pathways to economic opportunity; and creating smarter cities.


We’re excited to see the ongoing developments at the Hub@GCT, and congratulate the program on its excellent efforts to grow New York’s tech ecosystem.


HR&A works with government agencies, civic organizations, real estate developers, and private firms to capitalize on the economic opportunities presented by America’s growing innovation and technology economies. To hear more about our work, please contact us.

Creating a vision for a Freeway Cap Park in Glendale


Cities across the greater Los Angeles region, have recently taken steps to reweave the urban fabric where sunken freeways slice through urban neighborhoods. HR&A in partnership with Melendrez, Nelson Nygaard and Cummings, is supporting the City of Glendale’s feasibility study to build a “cap” park over the Ventura Freeway, which cuts through Downtown Glendale.

Space 134, the proposed park, envisions as much as 30 acres of new open space in the heart of downtown Glendale. Building on our experience working on similar projects, including Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway and Phoenix’s Hance Park, HR&A is providing strategic guidance on capital, operational and governance as the team develops a conceptual design.

HR&A studied the capital and operational cost implications of a series of conceptual designs, as well as relevant funding options. To finance construction, HR&A explored the capacity of an Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District (“EIFD”), a new tax increment financing tool in California. HR&A also evaluated potential earned income and ongoing management strategies  based on national best practices.

To communicate the Space 134 Vision and build consensus among residents and businesses in Glendale, HR&A identified a series of economic and social benefits associated with the park’s development. These have supported the project team’s outreach through a series of pop-up workshops around the City.  The project has been well-received by Glendale residents, members of the business community and has gained support from local and State lawmakers. Looking toward next steps for the Space 134 project, HR&A is assisting the team to prepare a concise concept plan– including a phased implementation framework and potential project benefits — to support fundraising and to continue to build support amongst a wider constituency.

Advantages of Locating Office Product in Mixed-Use Neighborhoods

Our latest study focuses on the ascension of urban mixed-use development as the preferred environment for the modern office. This report, produced on behalf of the NoMa Business Improvement District in Washington D.C, examines trends in mixed-use office development, and explores its future implications. To understand these trends, we prepared a case study analysis of seven mixed-use districts to measure successes against comparable Commercial Business Districts.


Office rents in new, urban mixed-use districts are highly competitive with nearby established central business districts.

Our data analysis found that mixed-use development has become the standard for office development in many urban centers because employees want access to convenient services near their work. Furthermore, employers desire these mixed-use areas in order to attract a talented workforce. Interviews with 19 developers, financiers, brokers, and tenants helped explore the causes and implications of the trends in the data, and examined the benefit the office sector receives from locating in mixed-use districts.


Developing new mixed-use areas is challenging because of the risks associated with bringing new uses to an untested market.

Cities and improvement districts that foster mixed-use areas will have a competitive advantage that will be difficult to erode. Interviews emphasized the importance of the public realm and the bottom floor of buildings in successful mixed-use districts, elements municipalities can control or influence. The streetscape and the ground floor of buildings have an impact on the resulting urban spaces that should be attractive, inviting, and have the distinct sense-of-place employees and residents desire.


Read the full white paper below, and find out more about Washington DC’s NoMa neighborhood here.


10 Parks that are Changing Cities


We’ve worked for 30 years to create some of the most celebrated parks in the U.S. and abroad. These open spaces are critical pieces of urban infrastructure – providing places to play, while also generating economic value, improving public health, and ensuring social cohesion. In our open space practice, we transform underutilized spaces into great urban places, and ensure sustainable stewardship for the generations to come.


Tomorrow night at 8:00 PM, we invite you to watch a special television program, called 10 Parks that Changed America, on your local PBS channel. The program, hosted by Geoffrey Baer of Chicago’s WTTW, highlights ten of America’s greatest parks and explores their role in transforming and defining communities throughout the nation. We hope that this program contributes to a growing discussion about the role of urban parks and an appreciation for landscape architecture.


In this spirit, we’ve created our own list of ten parks that are changing cities today:

  1. The High Line | New York, NY
    Reimagined what a park can be and how it can define a city
  2. Klyde Warren Park | Dallas, TX
    Reclaimed space over a freeway for leisure and culture in Downtown Dallas
  3. Lakefront Parks | Toronto, ON
    Transformed the lakefront from its industrial past to mixed-use neighborhoods
  4. Brooklyn Bridge Park | Brooklyn, NY
    Laid a cornerstone for Brooklyn’s renaissance, becoming New York City’s first great 21st century park.
  5. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park | London
    Used the Olympic Games and this park to tilt development Eastward
  6. Romare Bearden Park | Charlotte, NC
    Affirms Charlotte’s eminence as a choice destination to live, work, and play
  7. Fountain Square | Cincinnati, OH
    Engaged civic leadership to catalyze downtown reinvestment around the Square
  8. Anacostia Waterfront Parks | Washington, DC
    Anchored a new neighborhood and reintroduced residents to the river
  9. Shelby Farms Park | Memphis, TN
    Reimagined Memphis as a city of equity and opportunity
  10. The Lawn on D | Boston, MA
    Demonstrated the value of engaging interim programming in placemaking

As we look to the future, we are thrilled to help shape and sustain the next great urban open spaces. We hope you enjoy tomorrow’s show and continue the conversation with us.

Resilient NOLA receives a National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice

HR&A Advisors is a proud partner of Resilient NOLA, this year’s recipient of the American Planning Association’s National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice.




Resilient NOLA, the groundbreaking resilience strategy for the City of New Orleans, released in August 2015, is this year’s recipient of the APA National Planning Excellence Award for Best Practice. The strategic actions in this plan, developed with HR&A’s support as part of 100 Resilient Cities – Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, will shape the future of New Orleans by defining an implementation-driven, holistic approach to advancing the city’s physical, economic, and social resilience. This approach, which incorporated the input of over 350 stakeholders including historically underserved residents, looks beyond traditional recovery and physical resilience interventions to create a transformative vision for inclusion, connectivity, and economic vitality.


The team developed the strategy’s 41 project-specific initiatives through an integrative process that considered the critical needs of environmental preparedness, infrastructure and systems modernization, and equitable access to opportunity. These actionable initiatives include increased coastal protections, urban water management strategies, and infrastructure systems redundancy to protect the city’s physical assets, as well as affordable housing policies, workforce development programs, and improved transit connectivity to foster empowered, equitable communities and economic growth for multiple generations of New Orleanians.


HR&A is a proud partner in this work, and will continue supporting the City of New Orleans through the implementation of its resilience initiatives, including the Gentilly Resilience District, which was recently awarded $141 million from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the National Disaster Resilience Competition.

Green Infrastructure’s Triple Bottom Line

Green Infrastructure places an imperative on stormwater management strategies that deliver powerful environmental, societal and economic benefits.


Eric Rothman will moderate and present on the panel “The Triple-Bottom-Line Beauty of Green Infrastructure” at the annual New Jersey Future Redevelopment Forum on Friday, March 11 in New Brunswick, NJ. Panelists will present case studies and lessons learned on evaluating cost and benefits, managing risk and innovation, and maximizing the social and economic value on green infrastructure for stormwater management.


Eric is joined on this panel by Michele Adams PE, President, Meliora Design; Russ D. Dudley PE LEED AP, Environmental Engineer, Tera Tech; Christopher Franklin, Director of Construction, Brandywine Realty Trust; Matthew Testa LEED AP, Director of Construction, Bijou Properties.


HR&A Advisors has promoted Green Infrastructure for its clients including economic assessments of a district stormwater system within the proposed Southwest EcoDistrict in Washington DC, proposed changes to the City of Detroit’s stormwater policies, and green infrastructure retrofits within Dallas’s park system.


The New Jersey Future’s annual Redevelopment Forum is their biggest event of the year, attracting more than 500 local and state officials, citizen activists, development professionals, architects, attorneys, planners, business leaders, and students. In September 2015, New Jersey Future launched a significant statewide initiative on Mainstreaming Green Infrastructure.

HR&A President Eric Rothman Named Board Chair of the Design Trust for Public Space

Board Chair


The Design Trust for Public Space is a nationally recognized non-profit catalyst that engages planners, government agencies, and community stakeholders on projects to improve New York City’s landscape. These projects have ranged from incubating the High Line Park to re-imagining Times Square, as well as it’s most recent Under the Elevated project, to make spaces underneath highway and transit infrastructure more inviting for New Yorkers.


“I’m proud to lead the Design Trust Board and to continue Andrea Woodner’s legacy. Andrea and her creation of the Design Trust catalyzed new thinking about public space, dramatically transforming the lifeblood of our city—its public buildings, streets, plazas, parks and infrastructure. The Design Trust’s work has raised people’s expectations for a higher quality of life; changed how city agencies operate; and resulted in new laws and regulations for a lasting, positive impact for the lives of New Yorkers.”

– Eric Rothman


Eric first joined the Design Trust in 2006 as an Economic Policy Fellow to evaluate the economics of the New York City taxi industry and make policy recommendations for Taxi 07: Roads Forward, a re-imagined taxi system for the twenty-first century. Eric continued working with the Design Trust as a member of a jury and an advisor for Made in Midtown and Making Midtown, the organization’s enhanced vision for Manhattan’s Garment District. Eric joined the Design Trust Board in 2013 and served as co-chair of the DT Council and on the Executive and Finance committees. He succeeds the Design Trust’s co-founder and long-time board President Andrea Woodner. Andrea will continue to focus on fundraising for the Design Trust as Chair of the Founder’s Circle, while launching her new Hercules Art/ Studio program, which provides affordable studio space and community for emerging artists in Lower Manhattan.


Read this press release from the Design Trust to learn more about Eric Rothman’s appointment and the organization.

HR&A Supports The Rockefeller Foundation’s Resilience Capacity Building



In an era in which limited public funding for infrastructure and community development meets increasing risks due to climate change and other factors, HR&A is a key strategic advisor and technical assistance partner for local, state and federal governments as they create and implement innovative strategies and initiatives to enhance their resilience. As program manager for The Rockefeller Foundation’s Capacity Building Initiative in support of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)’s National Disaster Resilience Competition (NDRC), HR&A provided technical support as 67 cities, states, and counties that suffered presidentially-declared disasters between 2011 and 2013 prepared projects and programs to respond to a broad array of climate-related risks in an innovative manner that also addresses social, economic and environmental challenges.


The initiative included overwhelming participation in 10 “Resilience Academies” across the United States as well as other technical assistance efforts, which were supported by a network of over 150 federal agency representatives and 250 designers, engineers, scientists, professors, and other subject matter experts representing nearly 75 universities, professional firms, and non-profits. Officials including Director Shaun Donovan (OMB), Secretary Julian Castro (HUD), Judge Alice Hill (National Security Council), and John Podesta (White House) attended various convenings organized by HR&A to demonstrate their support of the initiative.


The Capacity Building Initiative generated robust outcomes toward The Rockefeller Foundation’s goals. The workshops successfully built capacity to create more resilient communities over the long term by teaching key resilience concepts, encouraging multi-agency collaboration and team-building, and connecting the applicants to subject matter experts and government agency representatives. The initiative broadened our national approach to creating resilient communities and provided support and tools to generate compelling, competitive NDRC proposals.


The Obama Administration will announce the winners of the NDRC in early 2016 from among 40 finalist jurisdictions, who submitted proposals ranging from adaptation of major infrastructure and creation of green and grey stormwater infrastructure, to housing and community development, to workforce development and social resilience programs.