Downtown Circulator TOD Planning Study

SB Friedman worked as part of a consulting team led by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to conduct a transit-oriented development (TOD) planning study along a proposed four-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line in downtown Rochester. Our role included conducting a market assessment projecting the impact of the BRT line on real estate development potential and identifying strategies and tools to mitigate funding gaps to incentivize the desired development.

The City of Rochester was awarded a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant under the Pilot Program for TOD Planning to conduct a comprehensive analysis of transit-supportive land use and economic development opportunities related to the proposed BRT line. The Mayo Clinic is the City’s largest employer and a dominant institutional anchor in the region. As the Mayo Clinic continues to expand, the City is aiming to provide strategic direction to guide future development in the downtown area, as envisioned in the Destination Medical Center (DMC) initiative. The BRT is viewed by the City as an integral step in advancing the goals and objectives of the DMC initiative.

SB Friedman conducted a market assessment to project office, retail and hotel development in the region and the BRT study area. To date, we have engaged with local developers and institutional drivers such as the Mayo Clinic to understand the current development climate, researched emerging innovation clusters in biotechnology, and analyzed the impacts of population, employment and visitation growth to identify real estate development opportunities. Our analysis considers the multiplier impact that a high-quality BRT system can have on the value, pace and density of development.

Results: SB Friedman has completed an existing conditions analysis and projected demand forecasts for each land use. We have identified strategies and tools to implement the City’s vision through 2040. Rochester City Council formally approved the TOD plan in August 2020.