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ULI to teach developers how to deal with neighborhoods and politicians

The Urban Land Institute, which bills itself as a non-profit education and research institute that focuses on the use of land in order to enhance the total environment, will hold a December 16 webinar for developers who have to, HORRORS!, deal with neighbors.

The ULI PR flacks lament that “Great plans and projects often collapse in the face of NIMBY opposition and the reluctance of public officials to make controversial or unpopular decisions.”  (Hmmm, maybe if they were indeed “great plans and projects” that respected “the total environment,” community and political support wouldn’t be so hard to gain.)

At the seminar you’ll get “practical how-to knowledge” to put together your own outreach and lobbying plans.  You’ll learn how to assess politicians’ decision-making styles and communications biases; avoid or manage hostile audiences; minimize community resistance; and turn pro-project attitudes into pro-project action. 

For your registration fee of $100 to $165, you’ll learn:

  • The three steps to avoid and manage hostile audiences.
  • The four steps to mobilize overt expressions of public support for your project.
  • How to minimize and manage the four causes of community resistance to land use proporsals (sic).
  • How to develop and implement customized lobbying plans to get the “yes” vote from public officials.

What ULI and developers apparently haven’t learned themselves is “people support what they help to create.”  It didn’t take $100 to $165 for that bit of advice.

Lobbyists flock to historic downtown Phoenix for offices

This historic building is home to the lobbying firm R&R Partners located in the growing lobbying hub of the Valley at Third Avenue and Roosevelt. Some refer to the area as Arizona's version of K Street in Washington D.C.  John Severson/The Arizona Republic[Source: Mary Jo Pitzl, “Building the Valley’s own K Street,” Arizona Republic, June 22, 2008] — Washington, D.C., has K Street, known for its high rises, proximity to the Capitol and its signature residents: lobbyists.  In Phoenix, the K Street equivalent is a stretch of Roosevelt Street on either side of Central Avenue.  It’s home to historic brick buildings, old store fronts adapted to modern uses and a growing cadre of lobbyists.  These practitioners of persuasion all cite similar reasons for setting up shop on the north end of downtown.  It’s close to government offices.  It’s near key transportation services.  And it’s cool.

“It’s a beautiful neighborhood,” said Doug Cole, a partner in HighGround, one of the earliest lobbying and public-affairs firms to venture into the Roosevelt Historic District.  HighGround has been in the area for 10 years, and eight years ago moved into a World War I-era Arts and Crafts house with a deep front porch, lots of wood detail, and loads of character.  Oh, and a swimming pool.  “We’re the only ones with a swimming pool,” boasts Cole, who keeps a pair of swim trunks in the office.

Riester, an advertising and consulting firm, blazed an early trail 12 years ago, moving into a newer building at Third Ave. and McKinley St.  Now, the firm is preparing to open a second office across the street to handle its expanding staff.  “All these other firms are in the area, and we want to be bigger than them,” joked Joe Yuhas, the firm’s executive director of public affairs.

Bullish on downtown, Yuhas sees the proliferation of smaller professional offices, restaurants, and shops as votes of confidence in the city’s core.  The historic nature of the area adds to its allure.  Yuhas delights in walking down McKinley Street and seeing a WPA stamp in a sidewalk that was poured in the 1930s.  The historic houses adapted by many new arrivals into office space are another draw.  “They have fireplaces, hardwood floors and basements,” said John Kaites, who bought a pair of old houses on McDowell Road, a few blocks north of Roosevelt.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]