28 Austin St. Development Assessment
The City of Newton’s Master Plan identified a municipal parking lot located at 28 Austin Street as an ideal location for future mixed-use, transit-oriented development. The City procured a development partner through a Request for Proposals process to implement the Master Plan's vision. Despite the proposal's compatibility with the Master Plan program, the City Council faced substantial opposition from local community residents to the project. The group opposed to the project cited a number of primarily fiscal concerns about the development as proposed. In response to these concerns, the City procured the services of RKG to test for market viability, financial feasibility, and the fiscal impact of the 28 Austin Street project.
RKG performed a detailed market analysis for the multifamily residential, retail, and office market within context of the project's Newtonville neighborhood. The analysis included one-on-one interviews with several of the existing business owners within the submarket, and led to the creation of a pro forma development finance model.
In addition to the market assessment, RKG Associates collected relevant financial information about the performance of mixed-use assets in and around the City of Newton. This data was critical to creating a locally-focused financial analysis, which included the financial impacts of a performance agreement between the City and the developer. The agreement dealt in part with the replacement of public parking displaced by the project through structured parking.
Finally, RKG Associates assessed the City’s fiscal performance for the previous three years to understand the incremental fiscal impacts of new development on the City’s general fund. These effects were incorporated into the pro forma analysis, allowing RKG to provide analysis on both the private financial feasibility and the public fiscal impacts of the project.
The RKG analysis highlighted the project as viable in terms of both market capacity and financing, while having a slightly positive fiscal impact on the City's coffers. The results of the analysis were presented to the City Council during an open meeting, where RKG answered several Councilmembers' questions about the assessment. The City ultimately approved the project and construction began shortly thereafter.
City of Newton, Austin Street Partners