Perhaps my favorite part about the Urban Land Institute (ULI) is how it brings together professionals from different specializations to collaborate and communicate about current topics and trends related to land use and communities. One example of this is the Technical Assistance Panels, or TAPs, which ULI assembles to analyze and discuss land use challenges in a specific situation and to develop and present solutions to those challenges. I recently completed a pro bono TAP composed of young professionals, such as yours truly, through the Young Leaders Group of the Orange County/Inland Empire chapter of ULI.
Our panel consisted of architects, planners, a lawyer/broker, an environmental engineer, and economic/real estate analysts. The client was ShareKitchen, a non-profit business incubator looking for assistance in developing a comprehensive plan for a Food Innovation Center in Riverside County. ShareKitchen provides space for food-based entrepreneurs who cannot prepare their food for sale at home due to space, equipment, and legal constraints, but who are not yet big enough for a full commercial operation.
The analysis we prepared focused on place, design, and finance. More specifically, we advised ShareKitchen on where to locate its food innovation center, how to structure a purchase with the landowner, how to organize the site, what building elements to include (for practicality as well as for environmental sustainability), how much the project would cost, and how to pay for it.
With a proposed site in the City of Coachella, we presented our findings and recommendations to a packed house at the Coachella City Hall. We were even featured on the local news! Personally, I enjoyed the exposure to the viewpoints of other professionals involved in land use, as well as providing my expertise to a promising business incubator that has already achieved success. I’m excited to see how ShareKitchen will use our recommendations to provide more opportunities for new businesses in Coachella and to bring exciting culinary products to residents of Southern California and beyond.
Written by Dima Galkin who is an Analyst at RSG.
Photo courtesy of Jessica Candaele.