The report was presented by Darren Mochrie and Fred Pulitzer of the Economic Planning Real Estate Consultant group RKG Associates. Mochrie said that with current economic and housing conditions, it would be difficult for Middletown to increase the amount of housing downtown, both because there is insufficient demand and because there is too much supply, "The city has some very challenging market supply indicators but also some demand indicators."
The executive summary of the report concludes:
In summary, the potential for housing in the downtown over the near term is relatively small, due primarily [to] the shifting demographic base and poor economic time. Middletown (community-wide) also has a large and diversified supply of housing at multiple price points. The median value of single family homes did not experience the rapid annual appreciateion as was evident in the case study communities, and as such upscale housing does not seem warranted in the downtown, at least at this point, unless some major external event occurs that would stimulate demandMochrie suggested that other than general economic factors, the factors which could most impact downtown housing would be the availability of off-street parking and green/open space.
Commissioner Michael Johnson asked whether a mixed use neighborhood downtown would be attractive to potential residents. Pulitzer responded that this has been successful in communities which have light rail for commuting, the train station appears to foster mixed use neighborhoods.
Michiel Wackers, Deputy Director in the City Planning Office, told the Commissioners that the City was hiring an architect to look at the challenges and opportunities for developing a couple of sites downtown, and that there would be other presentations this fall on downtown planning.
When the microphone was malfunctioning during the meeting, the wire jiggling wizardry of Jon Pulino restored function.