(Phoenix, Arizona) Parks Legacy Project, a redevelopment initiative of long time Arizona developer and visionary Alan Mishkin has been formed along with key leadership members. The focus and objective of the Parks Legacy Project is to find creative solutions to the problem of neglected and underfunded public and private open space lands in U.S. communities.
"What we have noticed is that open spaces, whether parks, golf courses or preserve spaces, are rapidly deteriorating," says Alan Mishkin, Founding Partner of Parks Legacy Project. "Cities and community associations are simply running out of ways to keep up with conditions and the replacement needs of infrastructure." In response to this need, Mishkin and a group of professional real estate, planning and recreation consultants have devised a solution-based approach to making upgrades to open spaces while simultaneously engineering long term financial sustainability.
"It is sad to see a golf course that has been a part of a neighborhood all of a sudden come to the point of being closed and turned into wall-to-wall development," adds Keith Mishkin, who serves on the Parks Legacy Project's Board and brings a storied career of real estate knowledge to the table for the new concept. "Not only is the immediate neighborhood losing its open space that it thought was there forever, but we often see recreation opportunities diminished in the process."
While each project of the Parks Legacy Project is approached with unique real estate and financial measures, Keith Mishkin summarizes the umbrella approach that is applied to a situation where an open space asset of a city or under public control is about to be lost to worsening conditions and financial khaos:
In a situation where a public recreation asset may have to be closed because there is not enough funding to repair it and offset losses, our first approach is to look for any potential to redevelop under-used land. This land can either be within the asset or located somewhere else that is under the control of the public entity. On a golf facility, for example, we can look at ways to reconfigure the golf course, change its make-up to a shorter layout or perhaps reduce holes from 27 to 18, or 18 to 9. In many cases we are able to simply find under-used land and make nominal reconfigurations that allow for an appropriate level of development. In this case the course is really not changed at all, yet the effort sets in motion a long term financial return. Regardless, solutions are always proposed that will complement the available golf facilities in the market.
From this point, the planning, we then set out to see how we may be able to make financial sense of any land that is made available by way of the reconfigured facility. This may be housing, neighborhood services or specialty commercial. This is the key that unlocks our ability to set in place a long term and sustainable program, in essence creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
That program, the heart of the Parks Legacy Project concept, is to build in one or more reoccurring revenue streams to the project. This may come in the form of increased revenues from more efficient management and a better product, as well as potential lease payments generated from new development. Tax revenues to the public sector may also be used to sustain public park facilities. Each project is analyzed for its specific characteristics. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, yet the overall concept has shared hallmarks.
In addition to Alan and Keith Mishkin, the leadership team of Parks Legacy Project includes Peter Robbeloth, a golf management consultant; and Forrest Richardson, a golf course architect and golf planner.
In the coming months Parks Legacy Project will have begun planning and discussions with several Arizona cities including those in Southern, Central and Northern Arizona. Specifics of these projects have not been disclosed due to the confidentiality of on-going negotiations and specific details.
"The exciting news is that we are beginning a new and much needed concept," adds Keith Mishkin. "The benefits will be realized far beyond the immediate neighborhood to all who use these park and golf facilities. Mostly the financial health of the public's money will be in better shape because we are able to find ways to stop or reduce the losses, and at the same time make the needed improvements that have been deferred for several years."
Mishkin notes that among the early projects identified and on the table are a combination of public sector and private sector golf projects. The combined value of the potential improvements exceeds $14 million with, thus far, no further investment by any public or municipal entity.