After decades of decline and disinvestment in the surrounding area, the Palm Center is once again a strategic location as the terminal stop on the Houston Metro Rail Purple Line. The client sought to reposition the Center while facilitating job growth and wealth-building for the existing community.
The “Fields District” was a 3-square mile area that the City planned to annex in the coming years and sought a strategy to use the area to create an agriculture-technology (ag-tech) research corridor. The strategy developed went above and beyond planning for the District and linked a number of ongoing initiatives to an agriculture-focused economic development path for Meridian.
Working for a Houston-based planning firm on behalf of a private industrial client, Ms. Donatto (now a partner at Anthem, LLC) acted as Project Manager on a successful appeal to the City of Houston for the amount of fee charged due to a miscalculation of impervious cover. Ms. Donatto prepared and presented information to the appeals committee resulting in a net savings of over $75,000 per year in fees for the Client.
Ms. Donatto was responsible for the design of the response template in Adobe InDesign, coordination of a six-member national team, organizing and defining team roles and responsibilities, and development of thirty pages of original content regarding the Team’s strategic approach, including the topics of: urban planning, redevelopment strategy, socioeconomic challenges, public outreach planning, existing land use versus proposed land use, and affordable housing at the state and local levels.
The Houston-Galveston Area Council conducted a series of Strategic Planning Initiatives to provide funding and planning assistance to areas in order for those areas to evaluate how they would best implement the Regional Transportation Plan. As a sub-consultant to AECOM with another firm, Ms. Donatto (now a partner at Anthem, LLC) was responsible for overseeing Transportation Modeling, Land Use Scenario Development, and Implementation Strategy.
This project involved the negotiation of a Chapter 380 Agreement for the redevelopment of a private shopping center in Tomball, Texas. When the developer purchased the property, it was only 32% occupied and in steep decline. Ms. Donatto acted as Project Manager to work with the developer and the municipality to negotiate a Chapter 380 Agreement to allow for reimbursement of improvements to the Center to hasten its growth.
The context of the deannexation was complex and required in-depth research on historic property values and projected future property values under multiple possible scenarios. The property in question was undeveloped and in the City of Houston city limits but located directly adjacent to the developed property in an Industrial District Agreement (IDA) area- technically, the City of Houston’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.