Private Money for Public Spaces
Public/private partnerships can be used to create and restore public spaces, adding value to surrounding real estate. Bryant Park in Manhattan serves as a successful model of this. In Washington, D.C., a public/private partnership has been established to bring that improvement model to the National Mall.
In an era of shrinking government budgets, public/private partnerships are becoming an increasingly popular way-and often the only way-to improve, maintain, and operate successful public parks and spaces. Two examples of this model, one well-established and the other just getting off the ground, were presented at the ULI Washington [http://washington.uli.org] Real Estate Trends conference [http://washington.uli.org/events/signature-events/real-estate-trends-conference] in the nation’s capital on April 17.
Cunningham pointed out that, with more than 24 million visitors, the National Mall [http://www.nationalmall.org/nationalmall.php] has more visitors annually than Yosemite, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon national parks combined. Surveys have found that 97 percent of Americans know of the National Mall and about 70 percent are willing to donate to support it. The Mall has suffered, however, due to deferred maintenance, neglect, disrepair, deteriorating infrastructure, and lack of amenities.