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Roundup 1-12-2018

January 12, 2018

Contents

Transportation – On and On

— As Expected

— Gateway Express

— Pledge? What Pledge?

— HART

Airports – Records

Downtown/Channel District – Water Street Special

Downtown – It’s Still Bad

Ybor City – Revving Up

Westshore – Tri-Pointe Thingy

Tampa Heights – Opening

West Tampa – Why You Don’t Need to Settle

Economic Development – Checking in with VC

Economy – On Jobs

Port – More Cuba

Built Environment – Bayshore Not So Beautiful

_____________________________


Transportation – On and On

Well, it is a new year, but our issues are pretty much the same, including, of course, transportation.


— As Expected

Back in October, we discussed the Premium Transit study, which is a study of studies. (See “Transportation – All Those Ideas: — About Studying Transit”)  At the time, the study had ranked the options for regional transit, ranking light rail along the I-275 corridor first and some sort of bus service along the same corridor second.  It also noted that Hillsborough and Pinellas favored light rail, with Pasco favoring buses.  Pinellas had the buses third.  Hillsborough had no buses in the top three.

At that point, they were only ranking preferences.  Everything was still open to change. We wrote, with a quote from a Times article:

Frankly, we did not expect the results to be anything other than the highest ranked alignments, though we would not have been surprised if buses came first (nor would be surprised if buses end up being the top ranked idea when all is said and done for political reasons).

For now, the second highest-rated project was a “rubber tire” option — such as bus or self-driving vehicles — with its own dedicated lane along that same I-275 route. Instead of sitting in traffic and facing the same slow downs as those in their cars, these vehicles would run in exclusive lanes meant for transit.

This option could be incorporated into the state’s Tampa Bay Next plan to add express toll lanes to the region, meaning drivers who opted to pay a fluctuating toll could also use that lane.

Buses, autonomous or normal, have always been a justification for express lanes. That is not going to change.

And it hasn’t changed. This week we learned from a Times article:

Transit leaders appear ready to scrap their dream of building a light rail line connecting Pasco, Hillsborough and Pinellas counties in favor of a bus rapid transit system that would run alongside Interstate 275 from Wesley Chapel to Tampa to St. Petersburg.

Also known as BRT, the plan to bring that form of transit to the bay area is being drawn up by Jacobs Engineering, which was hired to conduct a regional study of premium transit options that can one day become a reality.

The plan will be unveiled to the public at the Jan. 19 meeting of the Tampa Bay Transportation Management Area Leadership Group (TMA), a group of political and transportation leaders from the three counties. But the planners said they could not discuss the details before next week’s public meeting.

However, they’ve already started explaining the plan to public officials. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa City Council member Harry Cohen, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman said they were recently briefed on the 40-mile bus route that has emerged as the lead option from that ongoing regional transit study. 

Because there are no details, we will refrain from getting into the plan (or quotes) much further, except this:

The buses are expected to have a dedicated lane for at least a majority of the route, allowing them to bypass regular traffic. And they might not even look like traditional busses, Cohen said, instead favoring smaller or more agile vehicles.

“I think the idea is to get vehicles that don’t look like your standard bus, that have more of a rail feel to them, but the technology is still rubber tire,” Kriseman said. “So you’re kind of combining the feel of rail with the cost and flexibility of BRT.”

That system would ideally be able to accommodate autonomous vehicle technology in the future. However, those details and many others, including the cost to build and maintain such a system, are still being worked out.

First, smaller than traditional buses is not anything like rail.  Second, we have been on some of the signature BRT routes in the US, and, regardless of whether you favor BRT or not, it does not have the “rail feel”; it is like riding a nice bus (not to mention all the potential issues if, and it is still if, it is in the middle of the interstate).  Third, while it is not clear, if they run in express lanes, they will not be dedicated lanes, they will be in lanes with other traffic.  Fourth, “at least a majority of the route” in dedicated lanes does not sound promising if it is to be real BRT.

We have not seen the plan, but the bus selection was predictable. Whether it is something promising or just the old express bus plan repackaged and with a new sales pitch (as we have noted before, express buses have a place in a system but are inadequate as its core), we shall have to see next Friday. We are cautiously pessimistic.


— Gateway Express

Gateway Express is getting under way.  From ABC Action News:

A major construction and reconstruction project is starting this year in the Gateway area of Pinellas County that will not only change the landscape but impact people’s daily drive to and from Hillsborough County.

Right now crews are installing orange construction signs alerting drivers they are entering a construction zone as well as doing temporary barrier wall work ahead of the groundbreaking.

The Gateway Expressway, in a nutshell, will allow drivers to travel, with no traffic signals, between US 19 and I-275 and between the Bayside Bridge and I-275. It will allow drivers to bypass congested surface streets by taking tolled express lanes. . .

* * *

The project includes two new 4-lane elevated tolled roadways connecting US 19 and I-275 and between the Bayside Bridge and I-275. Also, I-275 will be widened to add one toll lane in each direction in the median next to the existing freeway lanes from south of Gandy Boulevard to the Howard Frankland Bridge. Another component of the Gateway Expressway is to reconstruct existing Roosevelt Boulevard from the Bayside Bridge to Ulmerton Road and reconstruct sections of US 19 and 118th Avenue North, including new ramps and flyover structures.

* * *

The Florida Department of Transportation says the tolled lanes will be “static”, meaning the cost will remain the same at all hours. However, that is only true for the Gateway Expressway portion of the project.

First, we need to make something clear: unless FODT made changes without putting them on various websites, not all the tolled lanes mentioned will be static. As FDOT tells us in a website for which a link was provided in the news report:

Tolls
All tolls will be collected electronically using the SunPass pre-paid toll program.

SR 690 and SR 686A Tolls
Tolling will be “static.” This means the cost will remain the same at all hours of every day.

I-275 Express Lanes
Tolling will be “dynamic.” Express lanes are dynamically priced to maintain steady traffic flow in the lanes.  Prices change based on the amount of traffic in the express lanes. With dynamic pricing, prices increase as the express lanes become more congested and decrease as congestion goes down. Dynamic pricing is designed to provide more predictable travel times, particularly during peak travel periods.

(Note that normal toll roads the boring “static” while roads while variable rate lanes where the cost can be excessive and which are built with the intent to not have most people drive in them are the positive “dynamic.”)

In other words, Gateway Express, meaning the part not on I-275, will be “static” tolls.  The lanes on I-275, which are really part of TBX, will be variable rate toll lanes.

We actually have no problem with the “static” toll roads, either as a concept or these specific roads.  Decent connections in central Pinellas are actually long overdue and a fixed toll road is a rational solution.  As for the variable rate lanes on the interstate, we oppose them for all the reasons we have laid out over the years.


— Pledge? What Pledge?

The Times came out with two editorials on transportation. The first editorial involves the County Commission.

The 2018 to-do list spelled out by members of the Hillsborough County Commission is a heartening one.

Transit, economic development, jobs, stormwater drainage, affordable housing, reviving the Museum of Science and Industry.

The informal priority list came in response to an end-of-the-year question to each of the seven commissioners from Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times. Only Ken Hagan failed to respond; he’s had little to say to reporters since October when he announced a preferred Hillsborough County location for a Tampa Bay Rays stadium in case the team decides to move from St. Petersburg.

Aside from MOSI (and maybe affordable housing, though, with our incomes, probably not), in the last decade (or decades) when would that list be different? Anyway,

Three commissioners listed transit as a priority — the two Democrats, Les Miller and Pat Kemp, and Republican Chairwoman Sandy Murman. That all seven didn’t jump at the chance to shout, “Transit in 2018,” is cause for some concern. When they voted early last year to spend more than $800 million for roads over 10 years, it came with a somber pledge that they would follow up with money for mass transit.

Republican Commissioners Victor Crist, Stacy White and Al Higginbotham apparently need reminding of this.

Indeed.  All that is true, though based on the fact the list of priorities is quite static, not surprising.  The editorial then goes on a bit about some Commissioners who did not support the ill-fated and ill-conceived Go Hillsborough (we are not going to lament Go Hillsborough, but we do lament the complete lack of action after it and the lack of vision overall), but then moves to this:

Murman, another “No” vote on Go Hillsborough, has signalled that she at least understands the desperate need to find a mass transit plan worth supporting. She told Contorno she aims to unveil a proposal to fund the woefully inadequate bus system for three to five years and “get them really transformed.” Miller said commissioners might need to raise taxes. Kemp wants to spend county dollars on transit.

It’s all talk so far. And Go Hillsborough was three years of talk that produced nothing but frustration and serious doubts about whether this commission has the capacity to tackle the most pressing need facing the community.

Let’s be clear.  The Commission has the capacity to tackle the needs of the community.  The question is whether they have the will (simple answer: not so far), which becomes even more of a question given this:

Also coloring the county’s progress in 2018 will be an election that decides which commissioners remain in office. Term limits have made for a curious game of musical chairs: Four commissioners are up for re-election — Crist, Hagan, Murman and White — and all but White are attempting to move from their current district to another seat on the commission. Higginbotham will retire at the end of the year.

Setting aside that the musical chairs situation is completely contrary to the foundational idea of term limits, there is little to no evidence that the Commission does have the will (or incentive) to change. But hope springs eternal, we suppose:

Will the commissioner-candidates pander to the new electorate they need to engage? Will they take on projects that boost their profiles rather than serving their constituents? Will they spend more time campaigning than earning their near-six figure salaries?

Taking steps to improve mass transit in Hillsborough is really just a humble first step toward the comprehensive transportation plan that the Tampa Bay area needs. But as a 2018 priority for a county commission facing election, it holds promise as an action both vital and popular.

On past evidence, we’d be more inclined to answer the questions in first paragraph in the affirmative than think the Commission will do anything in the second paragraph.  Then again, as they say, past performance is not a guarantee of future returns or, in this case, past non-performance is no a guarantee of future failures.  It may not be a guarantee, but it is a cautionary tale.

In other words, could they move to start fixing transportation and planning?  Yes.  Will they? Let’s just say we have our doubts.


— HART

Last year the CEO of HART left for a job in Pittsburgh, where the local government cares about transit.  At the same time, one of the much hyped initiatives was the planned roll out of autonomous little buses downtown this month.

A highly touted autonomous shuttle project along the Marion Street Transitway won’t be ready by the NHL All-Star weekend at the end of the month, as previously planned.

Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, the county’s bus agency, oversees the project. Problems arose with the contractor, Stantec, which didn’t meet certain requirements, HART spokeswoman Sandra Morrison said.

“They were not performing under the terms of the contract,” Morrison said. “The proposed cure was insufficient and they received a notice of termination.”

HART officials are working with Stantec to find a resolution. Morrison said the agency can’t comment further because of potential legal disputes.

Because we are not told what the problem really is and whether it is an issue with the contractor or the equipment, it is difficult to comment specifically, but it unfortunate.  In any event, it appears that even alternative technology using roads is subject to delays and other issues.

In more HART news,

As expected, the HART board also approved a list of $2.3 million worth of bus projects to supplement the roll out of Mission Max, a complete overhaul of the agency’s bus network.

The changes includes connections to the airport to Tampa International Airport and Tampa General Hospital, along with more frequent trips for some routes.

* * *

The changes depend on the approval of the Hillsborough County Commission, which is expected to discuss the plan Thursday. If the commission approves the list, those route additions can go into effect Feb. 25.

The intent of the additions is to add service where it is useful but was trimmed by the reorganization. Of course, if the system were properly funded, this would not be an issue.  And even if the Commission does approve the money, they should not be allowed to use that (or buses on the highway, see above) as a band-aid for the much broader failure of transportation (and planning). Even if we get buses on the highway, we will need a much more robust local bus system to get people to and from the connecting stops.


Airports – Records

This week the new Southwest nonstop between Tampa and San Diego began.  That comes as we learned this:

With the tune “Happy” playing, Tampa International Airport officials announced record passenger numbers of 19,624,284 for 2017 surpassing the old record that occurred a decade ago.

The new figure beats the previous record of 19,154,957 in 2007. “I got here in 2011 and we were in the bottom of a really deep recession. We lost 3 million passengers at that time,” said Joe Lopano, CEO of the airport. “We put together a strategy that was endorsed by this board to market aggressively and market smart to try to dig out of the hole.”

Part of that is an improved economy, but, while many will claim credit, the airport administration and the people with the original vision to drop the complacency of the past and get a new director who would market aggressively and take advantage of the situation deserve the credit. Hopefully, the good trends will continue.  Even at the airport, there is still much to be done (but at least the administration will be the first to say it).

And across the bay,

For the first time, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport surpassed 2 million passengers in a calendar year.

The new figure of 2,055,269 breaks the previous all-time passenger record for the third consecutive year, and represents the fifth year in a row that PIE has experienced double-digit growth. The year-end increase was 12 percent. PIE got a year-end boost when it saw its largest December ever with a monthly passenger increase of 17 percent over 2016. 

More people flying in and out of the area is good.  The one issue with St. Pete- Clearwater remains the fact that they are dependent on one airline.


Downtown/Channel District – Water Street Special

The Water Street special district came up for a vote before the City Council this week. As you may remember:

Tampa City Council is expected to give its approval this week for a special district that would fund features of the $3 billion Water Street Tampa development.

Strategic Property Partners, the group overseeing the development, filed a local bill with State Rep. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa) that would create the Water Street Tampa Improvement District.

In order for that bill to move forward in the Florida Legislature, Tampa City Council must approve a resolution supporting it. A measure doing that is on the board’s consent agenda Thursday. Items on consent are most often approved en masse without debate or discussion.

* * *

The special improvement district allows an appointed board to levy special assessments on commercial properties. The five-member board could also levy a millage rate up to one mil, which is $1 per $1,000 acres of assessed value. However, SPP Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jim Shimberg told the Tampa Bay Business Journal in November they would not be likely to use that authority because doing so would require a voter referendum.

SPP would have an outsized say in who controlled the special district because the group owns most of the property within the district and votes for board members would be given one per acre of land owned. As the dominant commercial space owner, SPP would pay most of the taxes collected through the special improvement district.

Money in the special improvement district would pay for things like transit, roads, parks and other public facilities.

At the time or writing, we did not have information whether it passed.  However, since it is unlikely the City Council would reject it (or almost anything SPP asked for), we’ll assume it passed unless told otherwise.


Downtown – It’s Still Bad

URBN Tampa Bay had a post this week of what appeared to be a new filing from HRI regarding their proposal for the City parking lot across from City Hall.  It is unclear if there were actually new renderings and/or proposals or whether the renderings were the old ones refiled as part of the process City Council set up for HRI to bring revisions.  In reality, we don’t care.  As we have said numerous times, none of the proposals has been good enough to justify selling this public land and, frankly, we are not even sure the last one with all the dead streetscapes is good enough for a private lot downtown.

Along that line, something URBN Tampa Bay wrote in another post regarding this Times article was right on point, so we’ll just put the whole thing:

While this is mostly a fluff piece, since it includes no actual proposed tower, we did want to point out one thing:

“Miami’s Related Group, one of Florida’s top developers, would like to build an “iconic’’ condo tower in downtown St. Petersburg, the company’s chairman and CEO says…

…”St. Petersburg has grown beautifully,’’ Related founder Jorge Pérez said Wednesday at the ground-breaking of a downtown apartment project. “It has the best of both worlds, an urban livability with museums and shops and all kinds of different restaurants, and it offers a mix of water views that is difficult to find.

“It’s got the perfect location and we want to do the most iconic building, world-class.’’”

———————————————————————————-

The reason why it’s important for urban neighborhoods to have high development standards and be properly planned out is because it attracts more top-tier developments. This has a multiplying effect which makes the neighborhood even greater.

It’s why Tampa, for example, must have stricter development standards for projects such as HRI’s Hyatt project and Del Villar in the Channel District. Developers willing to build time-of-the-line developments are only willing to make that investment in well-designed neighborhoods. You must plan like you mean it.

When you compare Related’s output in Tampa vs. St. Pete it becomes clear. One planned like they wanted Related’s best developments, the other one approved Pierhouse and Crescent Riverwalk.

City Council take note.


Ybor City – Revving Up

While Ybor has been doing ok, it seems that it really may get going soon.  From URBN Tampa Bay:

Demolition has started to make way for The Marti, and the developer has applied for a building permit. The Marti is a mixed use apartment project with 100 units and approximately 30,000 square feet of office, restaurant and retail space, including a rooftop bar area.

The project sits at 1205 East 8th Avenue in Ybor City.

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

As you can see from the rendering, it will take up a full block and also face 7th Avenue.  Though the Marti could use more extensive awnings, we like that the project is breaks up the block with some variety.

And a couple of block away,

Las Novedades Hotel, first proposed back in 2014, has finally applied for a building permit. The project will sit at 1402 East 7th Avenue in Ybor City. The hotel will be 4 stories and feature 176 hotel rooms and a restaurant.

 

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

For the most part, we like both these projects, especially since they will bring more life to the heart of Ybor on 7th Avenue.  Apartments on the periphery of Ybor are fine.  We have nothing against them, but filling in the heart with positive development is really what we want to see.


Westshore – Tri-Pointe Thingy

In contrast to the Ybor projects, a different kind of project is moving forward in Westshore. From URBN Tampa Bay:

Phase 4 of Tripointe Plaza in Westshore has applied for a building permit. The building, to be located at the corner of Boy Scout and North Hesperides Street, is mixed-use with office and a restaurant on the 2nd story above parking and a retention pond. The developer actually added a floor of office recently. The original proposal was only 4 stories as opposed to being 5 stories now.

 

 

From URBN Tampa Bay – click on picture for Facebook page

The earlier stages (here) included an office building, a parking garage, and, where a hotel was originally supposed to go, a one story restaurant (which, no matter how popular, is an underuse of the land).  Essentially, none of it is walkable.  The new phase sticks to that theme with parking and a retention pond underneath the building.  A retention pond? That is quite strange for an urban development.  One would think that a supposedly urban area would have urban drainage.  But anyway, that is only part of the problem.  The rendering does not even seem to have a front door facing the major road.

Westshore keeps building, which is good, but the form that the building takes continues to be a disappointment and contrary to the stated goal of making it a real urban neighborhood.


Tampa Heights – Opening

The first apartment building in the Heights development is opening next week:

The first residents will move into The Pearl, a new apartment building in Tampa Heights, early next week.

Residents will begin moving into the 314-unit Pearl, which includes 28,500 square feet of street-level retail space, this month, said Amanda Macko, the community manager.

* * *

SoHo Capital, the developer of the Heights, said in a news release that retail tenants in the Pearl will include “an Irish pub and boutique gym.”

We are happy that, after decades of talk about it, people will finally be living in a development on this land.  We look forward to future development, including Armature Works, whenever it finally opens.


West Tampa – Why You Don’t Need to Settle

There was interesting news from “north Hyde Park” this week.

Havana Square, a newly built apartment community in Tampa’s North Hyde Park, has been sold for more than $58 million.

Nashville-based Nicol Investment Co., which acquired Crescent Westshore in early 2017, was the buyer.

Pollack Shores Real Estate Group, based in Atlanta, built the 274-unit Havana Square. The purchase price breaks down to $212,000 per apartment. The units average 804 square feet, according to HFF LP, which announced the deal on Monday.

Pollack Shores broke ground on Havana Square in 2015, pegging total development costs around $45 million. Havana Square was the second phase of a large multifamily project; Pollack Shores sold off the first phase, NoHo Flats, for $57.25 million or $184,084 per apartment in 2014.

We don’t really care about the flipping of the project.  That is part of business.  What we do care about is that Havana Square is the “second phase” of NoHo Flats.  Notably, NoHo Flats (the first phase) was also flipped for a tidy sum.  However, Havana Flats is built is a much more urban way, with hidden parking garages, as opposed to NoHo Flats. (see here) You may remember that NoHo Flats was supposed to have garages, but the developer claimed the market did not support parking garages and requested surface parking. As we quoted from a 2012 Tribune article the link for which is now dead:

“It will be a long time before you see development in this area if you don’t allow surface parking,” he said.

(See “Tampa – the Same DNA”) It was wrong then (and it’s wrong now), but the City Council bought it.  Looking around that area, the developer’s claim was obviously not true – especially since a year after finishing the first (and three years after saying the above) the same developer, Pollack, built the second phase with garages. But the City settled, and it likely will be a while before those surface lots go away.


Economic Development – Checking in with VC

It’s time to check in with venture capital. Per the Business Journal, in 2017, the Tampa Bay area received a five-year high of $188.42 million out of a national total of $84 billion. It is a good thing that VC in this area increased, though it has to be noted that one company received $75 million of that.  It’s still good.  On the other hand, our portion was about .22 % of VC for about .9% of the national population.


Economy – On Jobs

We all know our population is growing and unemployment is low.  Those are good things.  In fact, the most recent Milken Institute report found this, from the Business Journal:

New jobs from Amazon and a talent pipeline from the University of South Florida helped push the Tampa metropolitan area to the No. 15 spot on the Milken Institute’s 2018 index of best-performing cities in the United States.

* * *

Florida metros claimed six of the top 15 spots this year, as their economies hit their stride a little later than other regions of the country, Milken said. The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro was the highest-ranked Florida metro, at No. 6, followed by Orlando at No. 7.

The ranking rise is good news.  However, it seems from the more detailed information, that job growth was basically the reason this area was ranked that high (and that probably applies to all of Florida). Looking at the report (here ), we see our ranking in the various categories:

JOB GROWTH (2011-16) 33RD

JOB GROWTH (2015-16) 20TH

WAGE GROWTH (2010-15) 56TH

WAGE GROWTH (2014-15) 39TH

SHORT-TERM JOB GROWTH (8/2016-8/2017) 17TH

HIGH-TECH GDP GROWTH (2011-16) 63RD

HIGH-TECH GDP GROWTH (2015-16) 47TH

HIGH-TECH GDP CONCENTRATION (2016) 70TH

NUMBER OF HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIES (LQ>=1) (2016) 32ND

Specifically, it seems that short-term job growth was the real boost (it certainly wasn’t high tech jobs).  That makes what kind of jobs those are very important. So it was helpful that the Times had an article this week that told us this:

Florida may have an enviable unemployment rate these days. But when it comes to high-paying jobs, the Sunshine State’s economy inspires less jealousy.

In the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings for “Best Jobs of 2018” released Wednesday, Florida’s metropolitan areas failed to crack the top 50 hubs for jobs that offer good salaries, future opportunities and work-life balance.

The report ranked 206 regions — and the Tampa Bay area clocked in at No. 117.

The metro areas were ordered based on their concentration of “best” jobs. Naples was the highest-ranking Florida region at No. 55, a far cry from the California-dominated top five. San Francisco claimed the No. 1 spot.

Even more interesting here is how we compare in Florida:

Best-paying Florida regions

55. Naples
77. West Palm Beach
85. Cape Coral
97. Jacksonville
101. Miami
116. Tallahassee
117. Tampa
178. Orlando

That does not mean that, as an individual, one might not make a very nice living here.  Many do.  And the job growth is good.  But simply saying we have more jobs will not get us where we need to be.  While we have progressed relative to ourselves, we still have some way to go.


Port – More Cuba

Apparently, the Cruises to Cuba are doing well.

The cruise line is upgrading its service from Port Tampa Bay with a larger vessel that will accommodate more than 500 additional passengers during the 2018 summer season. In the summer of 2017, Royal Caribbean sailed Empress of the Seas from Tampa to Cuba, which carries 1,602 guests.

This coming summer, Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas, which carries 2,350 guests, will call from Port Tampa Bay. This is the second summer in a row Royal Caribbean will offer cruises to Cuba out of Tampa.

* * *

The ship, Majesty of the Seas, will offer four-and-five-night itinerariesto [sic] Havana that include day and overnight stays, departing from Port Tampa Bay from April to October 2018. All sailings to Cuba will offer shore excursions for passengers that comply with the people-to-people educational exchange activities requirement set in federal regulations. 

More business is good.  It does not solve long-term cruise issues (which are illustrated by some of the new ships going to other Florida ports this year – see here), but it is definitely welcome.


Built Environment – Bayshore Not So Beautiful

We often say that the built environment could be made much better without much work.  Driving down Bay-to-Bay a while ago, we noticed something that kind of illustrates the point.  Needless to say that Bayshore is the signature road in Tampa.  As such, there should be some solid oversight into designs, especially big projects that will be with us of a while.  One recent addition was the Aquatica condo building.  One could say the building is a bit squat, but we’ll set that aside.  We noticed something much simpler to fix.  Take a look at this Google Street View of the building from Bay to Bay. It is not quite as clear and prominent as it appears in real life, but the lump on the roof on the left side appears to be HVAC equipment, sitting high, proud, lumpy and not centered on the roof – fully exposed to view.

Now, we get that such equipment must go somewhere and that often it is on the roof, but it does not have to be raised high on a platform for all to see (and not even centered).  There are various ways to mask it effectively.  It would take basically no effort to do so.  The only reason it is like it is now is because it can be.  It just does not have to be this way.  We can do much better with basically no effort other than caring.

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