Economic and Housing Opportunities Study for the Grand Boulevard
Client: Grand Boulevard Initiative
Location: El Camino Real San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties, CA
Strategic Economics was retained by the Grand Boulevard Initiative (GBI) to study the economic benefits of transforming El Camino Real, a 43-mile state highway stretching from the San Francisco Peninsula to the Santa Clara Valley, into a multi-modal, mixed-use boulevard.
In the first phase of the study, Strategic Economics demonstrated that focusing the region’s future housing and employment growth on the corridor would provide substantial tax revenues to local governments, and help to achieve other economic development goals. Strategic Economics also identified some of the regulatory and economic barriers that needed to be addressed in order to successfully implement the Grand Boulevard vision. In the second phase of the study, Strategic Economics conducted further analysis to address the barriers to attracting development on El Camino Real, including an examination of the financial feasibility of infill development under different assumptions of density, height, parking, and other land use requirements. Strategic Economics’ work revealed that in many cities, density and height restrictions were set too low to encourage infill development, especially on smaller parcels that are more difficult to develop.
Based on this work, Strategic Economics developed an “implementation toolkit” that provides cities with guidance on how to facilitate new development by calibrating land use regulations to market conditions, and establishing zoning incentives to encourage higher intensity development on challenging parcels.