RMA Real Estate: Strategies to Create Successful Cities

by Chris Brown, RMA Principal

How cities administer the properties they own will affect the future of the entire community. Municipal leaders who understand the critical nature of these transactions turn to RMA to buy, sell, lease and manage publicly owned real estate assets.

Smart city leaders know that real estate is more than shifting property or even selling to the highest bidder; it is about building a community that will be satisfying for the residents that live there now—and in the years to come. Vision is required – and sometimes it can take years before that vision truly manifests itself. In addition, a comprehensive understanding of how all components of a community are intertwined is essential to understand and implement the vision. That’s one main reason why a traditional real estate broker isn’t able to offer the expertise needed.

Case in point, the City of Margate, Florida reached out to me in the early 2000’s for my expertise on developing a downtown for their city. I conducted studies and recommended that they buy 40 acres of land at the intersection of State Road 7 and Margate Boulevard, which at the time consisted of several shopping centers, an outdoor drive-in movie and a hotel – the first steps of a vision.

Fast forward to 2016 and now the city has completed the purchases and has hired RMA to create, implement and manage the vision that I originally set forth: create a new downtown with a sense of place.

Another example of RMA reaching beyond traditional real estate is West Palm Beach, Florida. The city is in the process of reinventing itself and the municipal leaders requested a new plan for their 18-hole golf course. After conducting thorough studies, we suggested allowing a developer to construct housing on a section of the course, with the stipulation that they must build a new clubhouse and maintain the golf course. The project would be a catalyst for the south end of the city along US 1, helping to positively transform an area that has remained neglected for years. Once again our expertise goes beyond creating the plan, to the actual implementation. We are now in the process of finding the right developer for the job and negotiating the final deal – a public-private partnership (P3). Years of successfully creating P3’s is one of the key reasons city leaders seek out RMA. It’s not only about selling land; it’s ultimately about building a better community as a whole.

Where to establish new public works facilities is another unique type of real estate transaction we specialize in. Recently we closed on the first of four properties in the City of Pompano Beach, Florida that will allow our client city to expand and modernize their facilities under a 50 year strategic plan. Understanding the breadth of this city’s specific requirements, including safety/security and the need to protect themselves from possible terrorist threats, plays a critical part of the negotiations we are conducting.

With RMA, the transactions we manage are not motivated by commissions; our transactions are inspired by the strategies we employ to create successful cities. This is what sets us apart.