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Discover Division Provides Unique Approach to Redevelopment

Freese and Nichols' urban planning team developed a detailed, strategic plan for Division Street in Arlington. Planning-led development made the critical difference in how this project succeeded. The team did a thorough investigation of each property, meeting with individual property owners and assessing redevelopment potential. The team concluded that the most effective path for transforming the mile-long study corridor would be to work from the inside out. They identified a core group of properties clustered around the Center Street intersection on both sides of Division and performed intensive financial analysis or senior living, residential lofts, restaurant infill and a mixed-use incubator.

Public meetings also became models for both welcoming public input and discourse, including live voting on development proposals, while at the same time preserving both decorum and the flow of planning information. The team used area exhibits which encouraged discussion within small groups around each exhibit to create a well-designed response to the charged environment. A significant factor in the success of communications outreach was the attention given to consistency of message which graced project outreach materials. The appearance, tone and style of the message throughout the project conveyed sound planning principles and can easily transfer to strategic implementation.

The material developed by this team — including identification and evaluation of redevelopment opportunities, supporting financial materials and a cohesive, step-by-step plan for implementation — reflect a real-world approach to successful municipal planning in today’s environment. Today, there are first signs of change: small shops, parcel assembly and funding of two improvements that had seemed unlikely … sidewalks and underground utility lines.

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