CLEVELAND-The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority has tapped TR Advisors of Boston to create a transit-oriented development plan for the region. The goal is to create livable and walkable communities centered on the city’s commuter train systems, which have a service area of 458 square miles that generates 55.5 million passenger trips annually.

TR Advisors’ parent firm, Transit Realty Associates, was formed in 1996 to be the defacto real estate department for Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. Today, Transit Realty is in the middle of its second five-year contract with the MBTA, while TR Advisors is out seeking similar outsource and consulting assignments in other markets. Cleveland is TR Advisors first such assignment.

Lorna Moritz, the executive director with TR Advisors, tells GlobeSt.com that the first part of its project with the Greater Cleveland RTA will be to form some planning guidelines for transit-oriented development that are specific to Cleveland. Zoning also will be reviewed to make sure it supports and encourages such development, and there will be an education program to educate the various stakeholders.

After that process, which is expected to take about six months, Moritz says it will be time to look at five potential sites for transit-oriented development, all of which are controlled by the RTA. Working with TRA will be the planning firm Nelson/Nygaard and the Cleveland-based architectural firm Van Auken Akins.

“We will help [the RTA] with developing the RFPs and negotiating with developers,” she says. “The scope of the contract will go out over the next two years.”

For Boston’s MBTA, Transit Realty Associates has generated over $100 million in revenue, Moritz says. In addition, she says there is $100 million of TOD development in the pipeline.

“Everybody is doing [TODs] to some extent, usually on a project-by-project basis,” she says. “We look at all of the real estate holistically and come up with a plan for it.”

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