All posts in “News”

Dominion Square Project Announcement


It is becoming increasingly difficult for families living on a low-to-moderate income to find housing that is affordable. As housing costs reach unprecedented heights, the production of new housing is failing to keep up with the growing demand, resulting in a severe deficiency of available homes across the nation. Addressing this critical shortage of  affordable housing demands a collaborative effort involving various sectors and stakeholders. 


HR&A Advisors is pleased to announce the closing of $55 million in financing through the Amazon Housing Equity Fund (HEF) for the development of 516 new permanently affordable homes at Dominion Square. Located in Tysons, Fairfax County, Virginia, Dominion Square is being developed by the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), a renowned non-profit developer in Northern Virginia. HR&A collaborated with Amazon and Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) to underwrite an Amazon HEF loan. 


Dominon Square is in a transit-rich neighborhood, just a five-minute walk (0.3 miles) to the Spring Hill metro station and several bus stations, providing residents with reliable and affordable transit options to high-quality schools, economic opportunities, and amenities across the region. The project will also include a 30,000 square foot community center for the Tysons community, to be operated by the Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services department. Dominion Square will be the first 100% affordable housing multifamily development at scale in Tysons, and the largest project ever developed by APAH. 


Amazon’s $55 million commitment, initially announced in May 2022, helped catalyze and accelerate the Dominion Square redevelopment. As a result of Amazon’s initial interest, APAH increased the scale and accelerated the delivery timeline for much-needed affordable housing. $9 million of Amazon’s funding will be available to APAH to fund pre-development activities, helping the non-profit finance the significant upfront costs associated with this large-scale project. 


The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is providing more than $2 billion to preserve and create over 20,000 affordable homes in Amazon’s home communities of Washington’s Puget Sound region, Arlington, VA and Nashville, TN. HR&A works with Amazon as a credit underwriter for transaction in the Washington DC Metro Area and Nashville. 


Additional Coverage  

Dominion Square Affordable Housing Community Secures Development Site and Funding 

Amazon-Backed Affordable Housing Towers Moving Forward In Tysons 


Rendering: KGD Architecture 


Clearwater opens new Coachman Park and waterfront

In contrast to other downtown waterfronts in the Tampa Bay region, Clearwater Beach’s downtown and adjacent waterfront have seen less development, cultural programming, and recreational activity. There is no question that Clearwater’s downtown waterfront is one of its most beloved civic assets, and it is an important gathering place for the community that hosts cultural events that draw visitors from across the region.   


HR&A Advisors is proud to have supported the City of Clearwater to develop a vision to transform Clearwater’s downtown park into an expanded signature space as a way to rebrand downtown, increase visitation, improve connectivity and accessibility, and catalyze adjacent residential development. This plan included a phased redevelopment strategy for potential catalyst sites, a vision and framework for public and private investment, and an action-oriented implementation plan. 


Throughout the master planning process, HR&A worked with the City to conduct a comprehensive public engagement strategy that included seven community workshops, with over 700 community members participating. Imagine Clearwater, the actionable master plan was presented to City Council, stakeholders, and the public in January 2017, and with the opening of Coachman Park and the waterfront.  


Check out this  article from Tampa Bay Times that highlights the incredible journey behind the transformation of Coachman Park into a stunning waterfront oasis. 

Welcoming Nike Irvin to HR&A Advisors’ Board of Directors

HR&A Los Angeles was excited to welcome Nike Irvin to our Board of Directors earlier this month with a rooftop happy hour at our downtown office. Thank you to clients, collaborators, and friends who were able to join us to celebrate Nike’s appointment!


Looking to the future

Working with some of the most innovative clients and collaborators in the world, HR&A is focused on building solutions that address the complex, interconnected challenges facing urban communities. The unifying theme across this work is our passion for building more resilient, equitable cities for the people who live in them — a passion Nike shares.


This is a critical time for cities. Our clients are coming to us to help them leverage once-in-a-generation federal funding, integrate emerging technologies, and build tools to chart new paths forward. We look forward to Nike’s leadership and contributions to further expand HR&A’s critical work with clients and communities in over 180 cities, six countries, and three continents.


“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)


Nike Irvin Joins HR&A’s Board of Directors

“As a believer in cities as the engines to our equitable and prosperous futures, I’m thrilled to join the Board of HR&A Advisors. HR&A is at an important inflection point, and I look forward to helping the company advance an even more brilliant future.”   


HR&A Advisors is pleased to announce Nike Irvin’s appointment to HR&A’s Board of Directors.


More about Nike

A lifelong Angeleno with a deep love for her hometown, Nike is a highly regarded leader in policy, politics, and philanthropy in Los Angeles and across the country. A member of Mayor Karen Bass’ transition team, she also serves on many local and national Boards. Nike’s insights, accomplishments, credibility, and experience will be invaluable to helping shape HR&A’s future as the company continues to grow and advance our mission and impact.


Nike leads the Civil Society Fellowship, which engages next-gen leaders to build civil discourse across ideological differences through text-based, moderated seminars in Aspen, Amsterdam, the Middle East, and the American South. A member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN), this new Fellowship is a partnership of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and AGLN.


Nike previously led the California Community Foundation’s (CCF) grantmaking for six years, overseeing grants to arts, education, juvenile justice, and health. Before this work with CCF, Nike served as president of the Riordan Foundation for seven years. She is active in American Truth and Reconciliation efforts with AGLN and in Los Angeles. Prior to her nonprofit career, she was a Brand Manager for Nestlé and Pepsi Cola. She is a trustee for The Durfee Foundation, the John Randolph Haynes & Dora Haynes Foundation, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and the Broad Center at Yale School of Management.


Nike received a Bachelor of Art in Economics & Political Science from Yale and was named one of the “100 Most Inspirational Alumni” by UCLA Anderson School, where she earned her MBA. Nike is a Marshall Memorial Fellow and a member of the 2004 Class of Henry Crown Fellows within the AGLN at the Aspen Institute.


Looking to the future

Working with some of the most innovative clients and collaborators in the world, HR&A is focused on building solutions that address the complex, interconnected challenges facing urban communities. The unifying theme across this work is our passion for building more resilient, equitable cities for the people who live in them — a passion Nike shares.


This is a critical time for cities. Our clients are coming to us to help them leverage once-in-a-generation federal funding, integrate emerging technologies, and build tools to chart new paths forward. We look forward to Nike’s leadership and contributions to further expand HR&A’s critical work with clients and communities in over 180 cities, six countries, and three continents.

Urban Land Institute Panel Provides National Insight on Downtown San Francisco Recovery


This press release was originally issued by Urban Land Institute.


WASHINGTON (June 15, 2023) – San Francisco can create a more commercially vibrant and socially inclusive downtown that attracts a diverse range of industries and employers, advances housing attainability, and promotes stronger leadership, according to findings released today by the Urban Land Institute (ULI).


The recommendations are the product of a panel of renowned urban planning and real estate experts convened in May through ULI’s Advisory Services Panel (ASP) offering. The panel is a multi-day program that is tailored to meet a community’s specific needs, wherein ULI members from across the country hold in-depth interviews with local stakeholders and deliberate on potential courses of action before making a final presentation of their recommendations. This ASP represents the first time ULI has worked with the City and County of San Francisco and provides an opportunity for communities across the country to learn from the findings.


Following the release of Mayor London Breed’s Roadmap to Downtown San Francisco’s Future, in February the panel was tasked with helping the city prioritize implementation actions and policy changes that will create a downtown neighborhood benefitting San Francisco’s residents, businesses, and the broader Bay Area region. While the panel’s findings are applicable to the entirety of Downtown, the recommendations focused on a 239-acre study area that falls mostly within the city’s historic financial district.


“San Francisco has a track record of responding to challenges by collaborating across sectors and thinking outside the box – it’s time to apply that muscle to the Downtown Core,” said panel co-chairs Eric Tao, managing partner, L37 Development in San Francisco, Calif.; and Kate Collignon, partner, HR&A Advisors in Oakland, Calif. “Our panelists have shown us how city government, community groups, and institutions such as ULI can evolve the current narrative of Downtown San Francisco as a place only for business interests.  We can profoundly transform Downtown into a place that welcomes everyone, drives economic benefit, serves as a center for arts, culture, entrepreneurship, wellness, and entertainment beyond 9-5, and reflects the diversity of and is embraced by all San Franciscans.”


Sponsored by ULI San Francisco, the City and County of San Francisco, the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing, and the ULI Foundation, the panel provided short- and long-term strategic recommendations for leveraging the city’s existing physical assets, identifying opportunities for financial incentives, and implementing public policy reforms that promote the economic and social health of Downtown, with many of the recommendations aligning with key elements of the Mayor’s Roadmap.


Top recommendations include:

    • Pursue placemaking and programming to make Downtown a magnet for residents, businesses, and visitors. Ground-plane activation is needed to help transform public spaces and empty storefronts into vibrant city attractions. Revitalized Downtown community spaces will enliven the neighborhood and provide compelling spaces for arts and cultural expression. The panelists recommended specific Downtown destination zones to meet the needs of current and future residents, workers, and visitors.
    • Ensure public transit provides comfortable, safe, and easy access to Downtown, along with a welcoming arrival experience. Public transit, including Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Muni are reliable, but the panel recommends an infusion of funding to ensure comfortable rider experiences into and out of Downtown. Enhanced collaboration between the City and BART will be essential to ensure the transit experience, and the surrounding points of arrival downtown, are clean and feel safe.
    • Reduce and restructure business taxes to facilitate a diverse mix of companies Downtown. A meaningful reduction in the gross receipts tax, CEO tax, commercial rents tax, and transfer tax will help the city retain its current employers and help attract new businesses. Mayor Breed has initiated a process to identify broader business tax reforms to ensure the city’s tax structure is more resilient and competitive and that will be informed by the panel recommendations.
    • Incentivize office to residential conversions to address the housing shortage. Building on recently approved legislation to reduce zoning and building code barriers to adaptive reuse projects, the panel recommends providing a bundle of incentives to catalyze conversions in the short-term, with a goal of establishing a basis for purely market-supported conversions in the future. The city should require some level of affordable housing by reducing other taxes and fees. Incentives could include temporarily waiving impact fees or the transfer tax, providing property tax abatement through the Mills Act or other state legislation, and identifying other direct funding tools.
    • Counter the negative narrative about Downtown San Francisco. The panel found the negative narrative about Downtown does not match reality. While the city and Downtown stakeholders have launched a series of focused campaigns to attract visitors and businesses, the city should embark with its partners on a strong and sustained branding and public relations campaign that celebrates Downtown and rebrands it as a vibrant neighborhood, rather than just a business district.
    • Build community and governmental capacity to facilitate action. The panel emphasized the importance of coordinated leadership within City Hall to champion Downtown recovery efforts in partnership with stakeholders and the community, building on the efforts of the Economic Recovery and Regeneration division within the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. Enhanced governance and an internal champion will help expedite decision-making and approvals to reduce uncertainty, break down silos, and identify financial tools to attract and drive investment. The panel also suggested building the capacity of Community Benefit Districts (CBDs) to direct public and private resources to implement the recommendations.


    “The roadmap the Mayor has laid out for Downtown’s future is a strong foundation for the work we have ahead, and the contributions of this panel of national urban planning experts both affirm and expand upon that vision,” said Sarah Dennis Phillips, Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “While we’re already moving ahead on many of the ideas called out by the panel, from business tax reforms and attraction efforts to supporting a diverse mix of arts and culture events, I look forward to collaborating with city and state leaders as well as private-sector and community partners to take further actions.”


    Tao and Collignon were joined on the panel by Antoine Bryant, planning director, City of Detroit, Detroit, Mich.; Mike Grisso, senior vice president, development and land planning, Kilroy Realty Corporation, San Francisco, Calif.; Paul R. Levy, president & CEO, Philadelphia Center City District, Philadelphia, Pa.; Nolan A. Marshall III, executive director, South Park Business Improvement District, Los Angeles, Calif.; Rico Quirindongo, acting director, City of Seattle Office of Planning & Community Development, Bainbridge Island, Wash.; Geeti Silwal, principal, Perkins&Will, San Francisco, Calif.; Michael Spies, founder, Fuse Strategies LLC, New York, N.Y.; Sujata Srivastava, San Francisco director, SPUR, San Francisco, Calif.; and Carl Weisbrod, director, Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, New York, N.Y.


    “We’re grateful for ULI’s work to assemble a team of accomplished industry leaders with fresh perspectives. We’ve already rolled-up our sleeves and begun the work to take the panel’s ideas and shape them into policy,” said Rich Hillis, Planning Director for the City and County of San Francisco.


    A summary of the panel’s recommendations can be found here.


    For more information, contact


    Photo: Sebastien Gabriel

Congratulations to Senior Advisor Marilynn Davis on her appointment to the American Academy in Rome’s Board of Trustees!


HR&A Advisors congratulates Senior Advisor Marilynn Davis on her appointment to the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome! Marilynn will apply her past experiences in advisory roles and on several boards related to the arts, architecture, and cities to advance the Academy’s mission to “support innovative artists, writers, and scholars living and working together in a dynamic international community.” 


Click here to  read more about the American Academy in Rome. 

Welcoming the 2023 Class of HR&A Summer Fellows!



Welcoming the 2023 Class of HR&A Summer Fellows  

The Summer Analyst Fellowship is a 10-week program offering the opportunity to engage in projects and skills aligned with core analytical staff at HR&A.  Fellows have the opportunity to work as integrated members of our project teams and build their skills in market analysis, case study research, econometric modeling, spatial analysis, preparation of real estate pro formas for a range of uses, and public-private structures, and public policy analysis.    


Fellows can work from any of our six offices in New York, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Raleigh, or Washington, DC, and they may help prepare written reports, presentations, and Excel models for clients, as well as firm marketing materials and proposals for new projects. Each Fellow is assigned an Advisor to help set goals and make the most of the experience, and many members of HR&A’s team started as Analyst Fellows. 



Meet HR&A’s 2023 Summer Fellows! 


Alyana Acacio, Summer Fellow  

Alyana supports public-private partnerships to identify infrastructural gaps and implement strategies that build equitable and inclusive cities. 
Prior to joining HR&A, Alyana worked on a range of urban intervention projects in Manila. From designing a network of emergency quarantine facilities to managing the Horizon masterplan project, her work focuses on developing strategic frameworks for project design and implementation to serve underrepresented communities. She also brings with her experiences in architecture and education during her time in the Bay Area and Oslo. 
Alyana is currently pursuing her Master’s in Urban Planning at Columbia University. She holds an MPhil in Comparative and International Education from the University of Oslo and a Bachelor’s in Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley where she minored in Sustainable Design in Developing Countries and received funding to conduct research on homelessness in Barcelona. 


Andrew DeFrank, Summer Fellow

Andrew engages in projects and skills aligned to the core analytical staff at HR&A as a Summer Analyst Fellow in the Washington, DC office.


Andrew is a Master of Urban Planning student at New York University’s (NYU) Wagner School of Public Service. Previously, he was a transportation planner and community engagement specialist at the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in Washington, DC. As a transportation planner, he was a deputy project manager on the bus priority team. As a community engagement specialist, he worked closely with the DC mayor’s office, the DC Council, and advisory neighborhood commissioners. Andrew is a writer for 730DC, a daily newsletter focused on local news and culture, and the Wagner Planner, an NYU independent student journal. He also writes as a guest contributor for Greater Greater Washington.


Andrew has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with Honors from Colgate University. 


Aroosa Ajani, Summer Fellow

Aroosa aims to leverage her experience in the public and private sectors to address complex issues surrounding the development of the built environment and economic equity.


Aroosa is joining the New York office as a Summer Analyst Fellow. With a multidisciplinary background in civic engagement, urban planning, and corporate project management, Aroosa aims to take on projects related to her current focus areas of economic development, real estate development, built environment advising, and urban strategy. Prior to joining HR&A, Aroosa spent 4+ years at Dell Technologies in various roles including Forecast Analysis, Procurement Strategy, Supplier Diversity Programming, and Operational Risk and Resilience Strategy. Aroosa has also worked on special projects with the San Antonio Housing Authority and the City of Houston Department of Housing and Community Development. Outside of work, Aroosa developed a curriculum for and managed an annual multi-day workshop for college students in her community to learn about civic engagement and social justice topics.  


 Aroosa holds a Bachelor of Science from Trinity University in Business Analytics and Technologies, and Urban Studies. She is currently pursuing a  Masters of Science in Urban Planning from Columbia University.  


Elena Castellanos, Summer Fellow

Elena Castellanos is committed to supporting cities in building resilient, inclusive, and just communities.


As a 2021-2022 Henry Luce Scholar, placed at the University of Seoul’s Community and Urban Design Lab, Elena studied Seoul’s Seongdong-gu District’s government-led anti-gentrification policies’ impact on Seongsu-dong’s commercial displacement and development. More recently, her research at Harvard’s Asia Center focuses on how recovery and reconstruction efforts post the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami center urban resilience planning.  


 Elena’s research at the intersections of space and equity has also led her to study the impacts of the 2008 recession on rural community development in Ottumwa, Iowa, and the uses of urban design as a tool for social exclusion during apartheid in Cape Town, South Africa. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research fellow, she studied how feminist epistemology can serve as a tool for evaluating unjust spatial arrangements and aid urban planners in justifying participatory planning methods. 


Elena is currently a Master of Urban Planning candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She also graduated from Claremont McKenna College in 2021, majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) and Public Policy. 


Eva Phillips, Summer Fellow

Eva is passionate about helping communities leverage data to understand local needs and design solutions that create socially just and economically resilient cities.


Prior to joining HR&A, Eva was the Senior Data Analyst of Research & Evaluation at Enterprise Community Partners. In this role, she supported the design and evaluation of housing and community development strategies across the country, providing technical assistance and data expertise. Her projects included the evaluation of an emergency rental assistance program for undocumented New Yorkers and the implementation of a neighborhood revitalization effort in historically disinvested communities. Before moving to New York, Eva helped design and launch the City of Oakland’s Scooter Share Program with a focus on improving transportation access in low-income neighborhoods. She was also a researcher at the UC Berkeley Urban Displacement Project where she studied gentrification, displacement, and California’s housing affordability crisis, developing evidence to support local policymakers.  


Currently, Eva is pursuing a Master’s of Urban Planning at NYU Wagner where she is a Bloomberg Public Service Fellow and a Researcher at the NYU Furman Center. Eva holds a B.A. in Urban Data Analytics and a minor in Geographic Information Systems from the University of California, Berkeley. 



Felipe Urrutia, Summer Fellow

Felipe bridges analytical research with humanistic thought to advance equitable development practices.


Before joining HR&A as a Summer Analyst Fellow, Felipe co-founded the Open Source Homelessness Initiative. This project leveraged the power of open source technology to deliver an information-centralizing tool for architects and developers building affordable and supportive housing in Los Angeles. More recently, Felipe has been named an editor of URBAN, a publication at Columbia University that features written and graphic work about the built environment. 



Felipe is currently a master’s degree candidate in urban planning at Columbia University. His coursework and research focuses on community economic development practices at both domestic and international scales. Before studying urban planning, Felipe pursued graduate coursework in philosophy, focusing on population ethics, metaethics, and moral philosophy. 


Felipe graduated summa cum laude from the University of Chicago with degrees in Philosophy and Fundamentals: Issues & Texts. He also graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s in philosophy, awarded with highest distinction. Felipe is currently pursuing an MS in urban planning from Columbia University. 



Gertie Ma, Summer Fellow

Gertie brings experience in interdisciplinary analysis and research to support inclusive economic development and public-private partnerships.


Before joining HR&A, Gertie worked at Sembcorp Development, a Singaporean land and real estate developer specializing in integrated developments in Asia. Her experience in the firm was wide-ranging, including supporting business-wide strategy reviews, pursuing new business ventures, and conducting feasibility and impact analysis. Through working on several large-scale urban projects, she possesses a strong understanding on the merits and challenges in navigating public-private partnerships. 


Gertie holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from Yale-NUS College where she majored in Urban Studies. She is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Urban Planning at Columbia University with a concentration in Community and Economic Development.  


Jewel Evans, Summer Fellow
Jewel Evans is an experienced ethnographic researcher of the built environment and public health. She aims to create equitable land use strategy and policy that encourages intentional placemaking for disenfranchised populations. Jewel will join HR&A’s Los Angeles office advancing projects to create equitable communities as a Summer Analyst Fellow for 2023.


As a research assistant on projects through Washington University in St. Louis’s Brown School of Social Work and The New School, Jewel has collected and analyzed narrative-based data on individual experiences with vacancy, disinvestment, and land misuse as well as analyzed accessibility of community-based healthcare networks for reproductive care. 


Jewel has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a focus in Global Health and Environment from Washington University in St. Louis. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Public Health at The Brown School of Social Work specializing in Urban Design. She is a member of the American Anthropological Association. 


Sierra Scott, Summer Fellow

Sierra is a Summer Analyst Fellow, supporting the office in Atlanta, GA.

Her interests lie in the interdependence between institutions, and the resulting impact on environmental sustainability, equity, and economic development.

While working for the Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP), she conducted research to identify infrastructural gaps between environmentally sustainable policy and application. Focusing on air quality, energy, watersheds, and waste management, she created a database tracking sustainable legislation in these sectors. Additionally, she was tasked with analyzing municipal climate change initiatives in the Southeastern U.S. and identifying applicable funding sources provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. After reading over 300 city plans, she co-produced a report that was subsequently published, identifying almost 150 plans from 38 cities across 12 Southeastern states, and created an appendix identifying 71 funding sources.  


In her urban design studio, she was on a team that partnered with the Georgia Conservancy and the Habersham County Government in order to create a growth management plan. For this project she created a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program for the county and redesigned the county’s zoning map in order to encourage development along industrial corridors.  


Sierra has a Bachelor of Science in Music Management and an Urban Studies Minor from the Georgia State University, and a Master of City and Regional Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. 


Trevian Ambroise, Summer Fellow

As a summer analyst fellow, Trevian provides research and analytical support.


Trevian is a graduate student studying City & Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania’s Weitzman School of Design. He is concentrating on Public & Private Development and earning a certification in Urban Redevelopment. In addition, Trevian is interested in the intersection of equity planning & economic development practices to envision more just futures. Before attending Penn, Trevian had experience working as an undergraduate researcher studying historic community development practices at the Center for Louisiana Studies and was an intern for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 


 Trevian has a B.A. in history from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and will graduate with an MCP from the University of Pennsylvania in 2024. 


Member, Urban Land Institute & American Planning Association 

A Post-COVID downtown that better serves Indianapolis residents

Rendering: Merritt Chase 


Cities across the country are looking to reshape their downtowns to be more vibrant and resilient in the post-COVID world. While Indianapolis has had continued success attracting tourists and conventions to its Downtown, City leadership has been making ambitious moves to build on existing strengths to make the City more equitable and livable for residents, while attracting workers back to their offices. Indianapolis engaged HR&A to develop a coordinated, thoughtful, and impactful model for post-COVID Downtown recovery, focused on placemaking and user experience, equitable development, and equitable programming for local residents.  


The City’s Downtown Connectivity and Vision Plan was released on June 7, and the City has committed funding to execute the plan’s first public realm project. The timing of this release is key, as roughly 25% of Downtown blocks are currently being redeveloped with new buildings or improvements or soon to see investment. All of this investment has the potential to create a near-term headache and long-term jumble of projects. HR&A’s plan will inform public and private design decisions with the goal of connecting disparate elements of Downtown. 


HR&A acted as project management lead, heading a team that included Merritt/Chase (urban and landscape design), GANGGANG (cultural placemaking, branding and community engagement), DLZ (civil engineering), and Art Strategies (project advisor). The Vision Plan for South Downtown addresses and focuses on circulation, public realm interventions, and the activation of ground floor uses.  


Rendering: Merritt Chase 


As a component of the Vision Plan for the entire South Downtown neighborhood, Merritt Chase developed a concept plan to redesign Indianapolis’ Georgia Street and close part of the iconic Monument Circle to support public programming, both projects which are now moving towards implementation. Georgia Street and broader investment identified by the plan will improve overall connectivity and pedestrian safety to in turn create a more walkable Downtown that better supports its current and future residents, its visitors (both locally and nationally), and those who work, live, and play in Indy. 


In addition, HR&A is supporting the development of changes to City policies and structures that will create long term sustainable funding sources to keep public space beautiful and active long into the future, streamline clunky experiences such as permitting that can be difficult to navigate, and enable ongoing participation of community members in the decision making process surrounding how public spaces are managed. 


Read the full Connectivity Vision Plan here 


Press Coverage 

“Monument Circle, Georgia Street going (partially) car-free”Axios Indianapolis (June 2023) 


San Francisco Submits Plans for a Public Bank to Fund Sustainable and Equitable Economic Recovery



This press release was originally issued by Supervisor Dean Preston.


San Francisco, CA — As the city and the country grapple with the ongoing instability and collapse of the banking industry, the San Francisco Reinvestment Working Group advances a plan to create a municipality-owned bank. The Public Bank proposal offers a game-changing tool as the city navigates ongoing concerns with the post-pandemic economic recovery.


The plans focus on the next steps and investments that the city can take to create a public bank, including financing for affordable housing, small businesses, and green investments. The
RWG’s approval includes a business and governance plan for creating a publicly owned municipal financial corporation (MFC) and for converting the MFC into a full San Francisco public bank.


“As we continue to chart a path to economic recovery and a sustainable economy, the Working Group’s business and governance plans provide the road map for our city to create the first municipal public bank in the nation, a crucial strategy to ensure that our city funds are used to reverse inequities, not perpetuate them,” said Supervisor Dean Preston. “The final plans submitted by the RWG is a huge step forward in turning the public bank concept into a reality.”


Traditional private banking has failed to offer sufficient access to financial services for residents and small businesses, especially in communities of color. The consequences of that lack of
access include inequitable economic, employment, health, affordable housing, and environmental outcomes that continue to this day.


“If the plan is adopted, San Francisco will be creating the first municipal public bank in California, which will provide a relatively speedy return on investment and serve as a model for other cities. With a $40 million investment spread out over the corporation’s first three years, we can create the infrastructure to benefit San Franciscans and achieve moderate profits that can be reinvested throughout the city,” said Andrea Batista Schlesinger, a Managing Partner at HR&A Advisors. “This plan could help San Francisco achieve significant benefits for people and the planet through a new, financially sustainable model.”


The business and governance plans were a year in the making. The Working Group worked closely with HR&A Advisors, leaders in inclusive economic development, who have produced similar public bank studies in Seattle and Philadelphia and led the analysis for the California Public Banking Option Act; Gary Steven Findley and Associates, experts in establishing de novo banks and providing guidance on management, operations, and compliance in California; and Contigo Communications, San Francisco-based practitioners who co-construct solutions that reflect the needs of community members.


“The reinvestment working group has done excellent work; throughout this process, they’ve delved into the existing gaps for small businesses, affordable housing, and green energy, especially post-pandemic. Our city urgently needs a public bank for economic recovery, and the plan provides officials with a no-brainer blueprint,” said Jackie Fielder, co-founder of the San Francisco Public Bank Coalition.


The plans will be presented to the Board of Supervisors at a hearing in July, after which the Board will take action to formalize and implement the process of starting an MFC and public bank in San Francisco.


For more information on the Reinvestment Working Group, visit


Additional Press Coverage

SF Takes Big Step Toward a City-Owned Bank as Local Lenders Falter,” The Frisc (May 2023)



Photo: Shen Pan via Unsplash