Sam Moeller

“Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco’s Changing Real Estate Market” Research for SPUR and ULI San Francisco

HR&A Advisors has been honored to contribute to a landmark study with SPUR, ULI San Francisco, and Gensler to investigate how stakeholders might shape the post-pandemic future of downtown San Francisco. We investigated the economics underlying office to residential conversion to help fuel downtown San Francisco’s post-pandemic recovery. With downtown office space sitting vacant, can residential conversion activate downtown and deliver on needed housing? What would it take to make that happen?


SPUR Shares “Office-to-Residential Conversion in San Francisco’s Changing Real Estate Market” Research 

“Flexible work has transformed San Francisco, changing how companies and employees use office space. Firms are reducing their physical footprint, and the decrease in people and activity downtown has negatively impacted small businesses, cultural institutions, and the hospitality industry. Downtown’s recovery is hindered by a lack of economic diversity and a shortage of workforce housing. Could converting vacant office space to residential use be a financially viable solution to both problems?


In a first-of-its-kind study, SPUR and ULI San Francisco, in partnership with Gensler and HR&A Advisors, explored not just the physical suitability of office buildings for redevelopment as housing, but also tested the financial feasibility of conversion projects under different economic conditions and policy scenarios. We published a summary of our findings in March 2023. A report presenting our full analysis and expanding on our findings will be released later this year.”


You can learn more about the study on SPUR’s website and access the Executive Summary of the report here.


Press Coverage

S.F.’s empty office space could hold 11,000 new homes — but only with City Hall’s help, report saysSan Francisco Chronicle (March 2023)


More than 10K residences could replace SF’s empty office towersThe Real Deal (March 2023)


Non Profit Equity Action Tea

Strengthening L.A.s’ Nonprofits for the Committee for Greater LA

Non Profit Equity Action Tea

HR&A was proud to support the Committee for Greater LA and partner with the Nonprofit Finance Fund to create “Resetting LA City to Meet Urgent Community Needs,” a report that outlines immediate actions the City can take to reduce unnecessary financial strain on the nonprofits it partners with to deliver critical services.


23% of all City of Los Angeles jobs are nonprofit jobs, and nonprofits are vital to the economic well-being of Los Angeles.


Nonprofits are critical to helping meet the needs of some of the city’s most vulnerable populations, including people experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, too many nonprofits face barriers limiting their ability to deliver critical services to those most in need. BIPOC-led nonprofits face additional barriers, even though their cultural expertise is essential to reaching people most in need.


Resetting LA City to Meet Urgent Community Needs outlines immediate actions to overhaul how the City of Los Angeles works with nonprofits with the goal of eliminating unnecessary financial strains to the city’s nonprofit partners. The report reveals that nonprofits are unfairly burdened by cumbersome bureaucracy, delayed payments, and underpayments, impacting their ability to meet increased demands for social and supportive services.


Mayor Bass endorsed the recommendations in the report, saying ““The Committee for Greater L.A. is spot-on – Los Angeles nonprofits confront so many obstacles every day, but City bureaucracy should not be one of them.” 


Read more about the report findings on the Committee for Greater LA’s website here, and you can read the full report here.


Photo: Committee for Greater LA

Downtown DC Parks Master Plan Release


Congratulations to our client, the DowntownDC BID, on the release of the DowntownDC Parks Master Plan!


Working with a multi-disciplinary planning and design team, HR&A conducted a real estate market analysis for the new plan, with the goal of understanding current and future drivers of demand for parks within downtown Washington DC.


As part of the market scan, our team conducted a real estate market analysis scan, highlighting trends in office, residential, and retail uses Downtown, and the impacts of COVID-19 on office occupancy and visitation trends within the BID. We developed case studies of aspirational office typologies that could drive further downtown foot traffic and increase available funding for parks.  We also identified opportunities where investment in parks and open space could further Downtown’s economic development goals.


“The DowntownDC Parks Master Plan was created to spark interest in developing an intentional, vibrant, and meaningful downtown park system. Based on community engagement and coordination with concurrent planning efforts, the plan offers six system-wide recommendations.” Find out what they are and explore the new plan on the DowntownDC website.


We look forward to seeing how this new plan will help shape strategic investment to create a more vibrant, prosperous downtown DC!

Governor Hochul, Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand Announce New York State Will Receive $100 Million in Federal Funding to Expand Broadband Infrastructure

Congratulations to our client, Empire State Development (ESD) on this important milestone! This funding will help provide access to New York families who need it most. We have been proud to support ESD in this critical work.


Governor Hochul said it best: “This critical funding to unlock high-speed internet for thousands of New York renters will build on the success of our ConnectALL broadband initiative while supporting the goals of our five-year plan to build and preserve more affordable housing. Thanks to the Biden administration and New York’s Senate and Congressional delegations, New York will continue to lead the nation in bridging the digital divide and making broadband available to all.”


You can learn more about this historic investment in Broadband in the Governor’s press release.

HR&A Principal Greta Byrum Speaks at FCC Roundtable on Broadband Access, Affordability and Deployment



HR&A Principal, Greta Byrum was invited to speak at this roundtable discussion hosted by the Federal Communications Commission’s Communications (FCC)’s Equity and Diversity Council (CEDC). Alongside stakeholders spanning community organizations, internet service providers (ISPs), federal agencies with emergency broadband funding, and state agencies, Greta shared lessons learned from the pandemic.


When building solutions to close the digital divide, Greta stressed the importance of working with organizations on the ground that might not be considered technology providers at first glance — for example, churches, food banks, schools, libraries, and community organizations. These connections can be the key to getting digital access to people who need it most.


You can learn more about the Roundtable discussion on the FCC’s website.

Video: FCC

A Simple Housing Fix for Wake County: Buy the Building, Cap the Rent


This opinion piece by Phillip Kash was originally published in INDY Week.


Change is a natural phenomenon in any neighborhood – families move in and out, businesses come and go, new immigrant groups bring different languages, cultures, and cuisines. When rents begin to grow faster than the incomes of residents, however, the resulting economic pressure can force people from their homes before they are ready to leave. The result is displacement that harms individuals, families, schools, and communities.


Displacement, sometimes called gentrification, is primarily driven by affordability, the difference between the cost of housing and a household’s income. As rents rise far faster than incomes, long-time residents are forced to leave and are replaced by higher-income newcomers.


In North Carolina, unprecedented population growth and limited housing development over the past decade has eroded housing affordability.


The most powerful tools to prevent displacement require systemic changes to the housing market – building more housing in desirable areas, dedicating more public funding, and adopting legislation that balances tenant and property owner interests. Even in an optimistic scenario, these reforms will take years to adopt and decades to create a healthy, equitable housing system.


Wake County is one of a small handful of local governments around the country that are taking on a more direct solution to affordability: buying existing apartment buildings and imposing limits on future rent increases.


The benefits are myriad – the purchases can be targeted to neighborhoods facing displacement pressure, limited public or grant capital can be leveraged to create far more affordability, and, most importantly, the impact of these policies is immediate. Current residents can stay in their homes with the confidence that their rent will only rise in relation to income.


This year, Wake County has established its own loan fund to purchase existing apartment buildings, preserve their affordability and prevent the displacement of current tenants. With an investment of $10.5 million, the county is leveraging over $40 million from banks and the City of Raleigh, and is expected to preserve over 1,000 affordable homes in the next two years.


Buying apartment buildings is the most effective tool available to Wake County – and potentially hundreds of other counties and municipalities nationwide – to protect residents from rapidly rising rents and forced displacement.


Amazon has already taken up this strategy as a corporate stakeholder. The company’s Housing Equity Fund was created to preserve affordable homes in communities where Amazon has a significant employee base. Part of its $2 billion commitment to preserve or create 20,000 affordable homes, in less than 21 months since launch, the fund has committed financing for the purchase of more than 20 existing apartment buildings, representing nearly 5,000 rental homes.


In cities like Arlington, VA and Bellevue, WA this represents a 20%+ increase in the number of long-term affordable homes. Rents in these apartments will now remain permanently affordable, rising only as an area’s median income rises. More than half of those investments have gone to minority-led developers and thousands of those units have easy access to public transit.


Amazon’s story in Seattle and Arlington is one that can be replicated across the country – and local governments like Wake County can take action without the support of a major private backer like Amazon.


Housing affordability and displacement require solutions that provide immediate relief to give time for longer-term solutions that rely on grinding zoning fights and policy reform. Stakeholders with financial means, both public and private, can have a near-immediate impact by buying and preserving affordable housing options.


Photo: Unsplash

HR&A named New York Urban League Recruitment, Retention, and Belonging Champion

We are proud to announce that HR&A Advisors has been named a 2023 New York Urban League Champion!


“Champions are considered to be one of the highest accolades for individuals and organizations committed to diversity, equity and inclusion. As one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country, the New York Urban League seeks to celebrate companies and individuals who embody the pillars of our mission for equity.”


We are honored to be included amongst an impactful group of fellow Champions working to foster anti-racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in their industries, and we are even more honored to have been nominated by HR&A Analyst Ejiro Ojeni.


The People Make the Place: Announcing a New Class of Leaders

Celebrating the people making an impact at HR&A


The old adage is true — the people make the place. At HR&A, we come from diverse backgrounds, have a breadth of lived experience, and share a passion for creating places, systems, and tools that help people thrive. While the problems we tackle are often complex, the driving force behind our work is radically simple. We care. You can see this care in the mission-driven culture we have built across six offices and in the places and impact we’ve helped our clients create.



Arjun Gupta Sarma

Arjun leads product development and data science at HR&A — focusing on the intersection of quantitative methods and policy for clients across the country.



Jared Press

Jared helps local government agencies leverage public investment in infrastructure and place-based economic development to catalyze the private sector in support of long-range planning initiatives.



Lydia Gaby

Lydia leads projects that promote equitable economic development and resiliency and manages large-scale participatory planning processes.




Thomas Simpson

Thomas advises clients on devising feasible programs, building public-private partnerships, and infusing equity and innovation into visionary real estate developments.



Amelia Taylor-Hochberg

Amelia’s work focuses on organizational and governance design, sociopolitical analyses of place, and building technological infrastructure that combats disenfranchisement.



Christina De Giulio

Christina draws from a decade of community and economic development experience to guide clients from visioning to implementation of place-based strategies to advance their goals.



Erman Eruz

Erman works with state and local governments on accessing once-in-a-generation federal funds and assists with the development and implementation of broadband and clean energy projects.



Gail Hankin

Gail focuses on crafting strategies that support equitable economic development, creating vibrant and inclusive open spaces, and advising a wide array of clients on pressing urban policy issues.



Garrett Rapsilber

Garrett supports the development of sustainable, context-specific real estate and economic development strategies.



Hannah Glosser

Hannah draws on her experience in climate adaptation, stakeholder and community engagement, and economic development to support equitable and resilient practices.



Jamison Dague

Jamison advises clients through complex planning and development projects with a focus on public-private partnerships that leverage innovative funding and financing tools to create thriving and sustainable places.



Landry Doyle Wiese

Landry uses economic and strategic analysis to bridge the gap between vision and implementation — designing operating models and governance structures to put ideas into action.



Rachel Waldman

Rachel advises public, private, and non-profit clients on leveraging their existing assets, funding, and influence to promote mission-aligned real estate and affordable housing development.

Senior Analysts


Ana Licona

Ana provides guidance to government and community leaders on closing the digital divide and implementing an equitable broadband future.



Aram Kamali

Aram performs economic and policy analysis in support of efforts that advance equitable development and build community wealth.



Ariel Dames-Podell

Ariel supports real estate and economic development strategies for public and private sector clients that enable equitable growth and create transformative destinations in cities across the country.



Benjamin Cole

Ben helps local governments and nonprofits leverage funding and drive policy change. He specializes in criminal justice reform, equitable economic development, and fair housing policy.



Geon Woo Lee

Geon Woo leverages data analysis to advance climate mitigation strategies, promote transit equity, and encourage equitable development across the country.



Laura Semeraro

Laura specializes in real estate advisory, housing affordability, and economic development, supporting financial analysis and strategic advisory for public, private, and institutional clients.



Madison Morine

Madison works at the intersection of developing cultural institutions, urban open space, and comprehensive plans to help clients improve opportunities for communities.




Adina Jahan

Adina works on projects to create more inclusive cities, build digital equity, and advocate for criminal justice reform. She is guided by the principle that where you live should not determine your quality of life.



Alejandra Cabrales

Alejandra provides research and analytical support to advance sustainable and equitable placed-based solutions through economic development policy, transit-oriented development, community engagement, and governance design.



Anna Gallicchio

Anna specializes in housing affordability and economic development policy, working with city governments and non-profits to implement community-centered and data-driven solutions.



Clark Ricciardelli

Clark provides financial and data analysis for real estate development, asset repositioning, and workforce development projects across the U.S.



Lauren Kim

Lauren works on place-based projects that bring people joy. Grounded by community insights, she advocates for food justice, parks and open space, and neighborhood revitalization.



Marco Rodriguez

Marco specializes in knowledge economy, transit-oriented development, and economic development strategy, helping cities across the country become engines of innovation, inclusivity, and prosperity.



Sophia Campbell

Sophia provides research and analytical support for projects ranging from affordable housing and transit-oriented development to parks and open space.



Sophia Clark

Sophia provides analysis for real estate development, economic development strategy, and knowledge economy projects across the country.



Zada Smith

Zada works to advance equitable economic development through placemaking, strategic planning, and policy to drive better outcomes for communities.