ST. PETERSBURG — City officials announced this week the makeup of an expert panel from the Urban Land Institute that will soon arrive here to analyze the waterfront, interview stakeholders and offer guidance on the area's future.
At a cost of $125,000 (80 percent of which was paid by the business community), city officials hope the group of experienced outsiders will offer a fresh perspective.
"We all have baggage here," said Dave Goodwin, director of planning and economic development. "We have our blind spots. These folks are hopefully coming in relatively free of those."
The eight-member team has a wealth of experience that would seem well-suited for the task, according to a summary of their biographies released by city staff:
• Mike Higbee, managing director of DC Development Group in Indianapolis: He has designed and developed projects in several cities, including Indianapolis; West Lafayette, Ind.; Waukegan, Ill.; and Durham, N.C.
• Stephen Antupit, partner at Fish to Water in Seattle: He has experience in urban design, master plans and public-private partnerships. Antupit focuses on green infrastructure, branding and growth policies.
• Tom Gardner, senior associate urban designer at RNL Design in Denver: He is a registered landscape architect and urban designer and has worked on a variety of projects, including urban parks, retail development and urban streetscapes.
• David Gazek, principal at Gazek Consulting in San Francisco: With previous experience at AECOM and Federal Development, he has worked in commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate related to land development, redevelopment, corporate facilities and distressed assets.
• Michael Lander, president and owner of Lander Group in Minneapolis: His company has planned, designed and developed commercial, residential and mixed-use real estate projects.
• Richard Reinhard, deputy executive director of the Downtown D.C. Business Improvement District: He has helped transform an area in Washington, D.C., from a federal office precinct to a business hub. He has previously been involved with similar organizations in Atlanta; Richmond, Va.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Londonderry, Northern Ireland.
• Kathleen Rose, president of Rose & Associates Southeast in Davidson, N.C.: She has managed the analysis, planning, development and marketing of a variety of retail, industrial, hotel, office and mixed-use projects.
• Rob Wolcheski, director of HR&A Advisors in Washington, D.C.: He has worked on major public-private development initiatives and specializes in mixed-use market analysis, transactional financial modeling and public finance strategy.