Technical Assistance Panels
The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has a long history of providing unbiased, pragmatic solutions and best practice advice on land use and sustainable development. ULI Toronto’s Technical Assistance Panels have helped identify strategic, practical solutions for the most challenging issues facing today’s communities through cultivating a multi-disciplinary team of local experts from ULI’s membership, who, together, collaborate to address a challenge.
ULI Toronto’s Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) provides comprehensive and strategic advice in response to a specific land use or development assignment. The TAP program is intentionally flexible to provide organizations a customized approach to addressing specific local issues.
Why use a TAP
Using a TAP leverages the expertise of ULI Members, provides a non-partisan and market-driven recommendations, and can help garner support for addressing challenges within a community. TAP panelists are selected from the District Council’s membership to address land use challenges that require local knowledge to resolve.
TAPs provide strategic advice to help communities, companies, and organizations address key land use and real estate development issues. In addition, TAPs provide a sounding board for cutting-edge issues in urban, suburban, and rural markets, such as: attainable housing, infrastructure, building healthy places, evaluating growth issues, analyzing the re-use of existing properties, and more.
The Technical Assistance Panel Process
Pre-Panel: Information gathering in cooperation with the sponsoring organization to prepare a briefing book summarizing land use assignment.
Panel: Range from a half day to two full days on-site with ULI member experts focused on the land-use challenge. Panelists are informed by a private sponsor briefing, study area tour, confidential stakeholder interviews, and feedback from the community. The TAP concludes with a presentation of recommendations to the sponsor.
Post-Panel: Presentation highlighting the outcomes of the panel, printed report summarizing assignment and outlining practical recommendations for next steps, program follow-up also available on an as-needed basis.
ULI Multiplex TAP: The Financial Feasibility of Homeowners Creating Multiplexes in the City of Toronto
In March 2022, ULI Toronto was invited by the City of Toronto to convene a probono multi-disciplinary professional working group to consider how financially feasible it would be for a typical homeowner to adapt or build more residential units (including affordable and sustainable) based on the Multiplex zoning policy under consideration by the City. The policy would allow as-of-right multiplexes (2-4 residential units) in residential neighbourhoods across the city as one component of ongoing efforts to increase housing choice and access and create a more equitable, sustainable city.
ULI Toronto’s Multiplex Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) was Chaired by Scott Wilkinson, Director, Cost Management at BTY Group, and included experts in design, construction, finance, and real estate. The TAP undertook a cost-benefit analysis of adapting/reusing or building multiplex housing within three specific housing types/parcels, from the perspective of a typical homeowner and/or small-scale builder. Their work was enabled by a financial model developed by Abbas Harawala, CFA and Student, York University, Schulich School of Business – Master of Real Estate & Infrastructure. They also reflected on the qualitative factors impacting project feasibility such as code requirements and approval processes. The report included conclusions and recommendations along with a ‘parking lot’ of challenges and opportunities that fell outside the scope of the TAP but that should be investigated as part of next steps in advancing low-rise housing in residential neighbourhoods.
Community Property Companies: Cracking the affordability code with social purpose real estate
Building Community Wealth through Real Estate Investment TAP
Recently, ULI Toronto convened a roundtable of social purpose real estate leaders to think about new models that would create wealth-building opportunities for smaller, community investors. The TAP panel, chaired by respected architect and developer Mark Guslits, included 14 experts in the areas of development, finance, social purpose real estate, planning and community engagement from ULI Toronto’s membership and beyond (See Appendix A – The Team). In addition, members of the ULI Toronto Curtner Leadership Program prepared working materials and attended as resources to the group. TAP participants attended a half-day of presentations on Monday, December 14, 2020 that showcased models for affordability and community wealth-building from around the world and took part in a roundtable and breakout groups on the following morning.
Following the TAP, ULI Toronto hosted a panel of social purpose real estate leaders tasked with further exploring the topic. The panel discussed existing models of wealth-building opportunities for smaller, community investors, including land trusts and co-operatives, and new ideas that are emerging to develop and preserve social purpose real estate in the urban market. Watch the recording of the panel below.
WESTON 2021: ULI Toronto’s First TAP Program
The ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) was organized to provide advice and assistance to the City-wide Weston 2021 Initiative, and specifically to examine the economic feasibility of the charrette development proposals for the Village of Weston. The TAP Report was part of the Weston 2021 Initiative and was attached to the Weston 2021 Revitalization Report that was approved by City Council on March 5, 2012. The TAP recommended a series of community/City initiatives, that would promote the revitalization of Weston by positively enhancing the community’s image and attracting private investment. Since the TAP process was completed a number of Weston community initiatives have proceeded:
1. John Street
2. Community Arts Centre
3. GO/Metrolinx Station Master Plan and Air Rail Link (ARL)
4. The John Street Bridge
The ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) is a high-profile industry program that brings together the finest expertise in the real estate, planning and development fields to collaborate on complex land use and redevelopment projects. Weston TAP 2.0 was organized by ULI Toronto with the aim of exploring the evolution and potential of the Weston neighbourhood and developing a vision for its retail environment. The panel was to follow-up and build on the findings of from the original 2011 Weston TAP.
Weston TAP 2.0 included a group of 9 planning, design, community and economic development experts from ULI Toronto’s membership. The 9 TAP members attended a full-day session on Saturday June 23, 2018 at Urban Arts in Weston. The session included a series community of panel discussions, a walking tour, and a working session, facilitated by Pru Robey and chaired by Paul Bedford. To read more on the TAPs findings, please see the report below.
TAPs are selected from the District or National Council’s membership to address land use challenges that require local knowledge to resolve. Gain lifelong connections, an opportunity to give back, and visibility as a leader in your community.