VITALE & ASSOCIATES (V&A) is a full-service public affairs consultancy that helps our clients make better decisions, build community support, and secure entitlement approvals.Our expertise is in gauging and influencing stakeholder opinion through accurate research, insightful analysis and effective strategy.
We specialize in Colorado projects and offer the professional quality strategic and tactical advice of a national firm with the local knowledge, care and influence of a native Colorado leader.We have a 15-year winning track-record and a reputation for excellent working relationships. V&A can be an essential and cost-effective partner to residential and commercial developers.As real estate development becomes increasingly political, with communities taking a more active role in the development process, we help developers play a more active role in the communities in which they intend to succeed.Understanding and delivering on community needs is good business for developers and essential to streamlining the local government approval process.
REAL ESTATE DEVELOPMENT SERVICES
Political Due Diligence Market Research Community Outreach Entitlements/(Re) Zoning Approvals Municipal/County Government Relations - Lobbying Campaign Management / (GID) Special Elections Land-use Strategy Project Management
Political Due Diligence has increasingly become a specialized and critical part of the due diligence and feasibility phase of development projects. Increasingly, development projects are being scrutinized by the public, and, therefore, they are becoming inherently political. As they become more political, they can also become unpredictable, risky and potentially costly. Strong political due diligence can alleviate some of this risk, measure the challenges, and ultimately, put in place a strategy for success.
Case Study Example: A natural resource development company needed permits to proceed with the next phase of its project. One vote in the CountyCommission stood in the way of its progress. The company hired V&A to assess the political landscape, and V&A determined that the best way to proceed was to support a challenger candidate to run for a CountyCommission seat in the upcoming election. That challenger candidate won the election and supported the company’s project moving forward.
Market Research can be an essential element in crafting a sound development strategy. Designed properly, polling, focus groups, and/or one-on-one interviews can give your team fundamental insight into the interests of the various community stakeholders and enable a more strategic, less risky and more cost-effective approach to a development plan. Polling is also a critically-important component of crafting a winning campaign plan in the event that entitlement or zoning approvals become contingent upon voter support.
Case Study Example: A major residential developer sought to expand its footprint in AdamsCounty, but knew that existing residents would likely oppose any growth plans in that area. The developer hired V&A to do market research to assess the attitudes of existing residents and to determine what might be included in a proposal to increase the odds for community support. The research found that there were different issues driving concerns in different areas. V&A worked closely with the developer to put forth a proposal proactively addressing those specific issue concerns, giving its expansion plan a smooth path to reality.
Community Outreach can have a major impact on the bottom line of a particular project. Conducted with genuine interest and in a proactive way, community relationships could be the pillar of your project’s success. To understand a community’s needs and to reach out from the onset can make the difference between a project stuck in years of court proceedings and the next model development project.
Case Study Example: One of the world’s largest resort developers sought to expand and increase the density of one its premier destination resorts. It was receiving significant push-back from a group of existing home-owners. The company hired V&A to better understand the width and depth of the opposition and to help craft a successful compromise, which we accomplished after several months of outreach and negotiation.
Entitlements and (Re) zoning approvals have increasingly become the key leverage point for public input on growth and development projects. As such, these processes are becoming more complex and broader in scope. They are also becoming more political, which is a dynamic implication that falls outside of the expertise of many developers who can no longer afford to leave this mission-critical task to junior staffers or expensive lawyers.
Case Study Example: A major retail developer’s multi-million dollar project had stalled when a small group of vocal citizens had successfully petitioned the Thornton City Council to put up for public vote the previously-approved zoning required for its large mixed-use redevelopment project. V&A was hired by the developer to run a campaign to defeat this November ballot question which sought to repeal the zoning needed for this project. V&A designed and executed a customized campaign strategy including research, voter identification, direct-mail, and internet marketing to secure a 56% opposition to the repeal, enabling the developer to move forward with its project.
Municipal/County Government Relations – Lobbying, unlike in the old days, can rarely be handled by just smoking a cigar with the Commissioner! Community activists and special interests have become much more sophisticated about their advocacy. Developers also must take a more strategic approach. Understanding and building the public affairs infrastructure to support a project is a long-term endeavor that requires a comprehensive plan and a focused commitment that exceeds the capacity of most development operations.
Case Study Example: One of the world’s largest casino developer/operators had purchased a large Brownfield site with the hopes of securing state and local government approval for its plans to build a billion dollar retail and entertainment complex. The company hired V&A to develop a community/government relations plan to enable the project to proceed. After two years of hard work, our team recently cleared the third (and final!) major hurdle, having beaten a number of other major competitors for a coveted license from the State Board.
Campaign Management/GID Elections can make or break your project. When your project needs support from 51% of the voters, don’t depend on amateurs to own this task. Depend on professionals who have a successful track record winning election campaigns for a living.
Case Study Example: A land developer in Commerce City sought to build better infrastructure to attract anchor retailers to its growing residential development. The developer hired V&A to help establish a General Improvement District (G.I.D.) and to run an election to secure approval of a mill levy to pay for the widening of major roads to and from that proposed development. V&A designed and executed a plan that won support for the mill increase, followed by a commitment from new retailers.
Land-use Strategy is a multi-disciplinary endeavor that will prove essential when making good decisions about development plans. Understanding the demographic and political landscape is as important as understanding the hard landscape. Whether it’s a question about the future of a particular T.O.D. or the master plan being developed by an X-urb community, V&A can help you thoroughly assess all the variables.
Case Study Example: A landowner with significant property holdings found that his property rights in several towns were being infringed upon by new municipal regulations. It hired V&A to develop a strategy for dealing with the municipalities and for assessing his long-term options.
Project Management requires -- and V&A delivers -- on-the-ground focus, local knowledge, strong organizational skills, and a multi-disciplinary perspective. V&A is also developing and beginning to integrate a proprietary, customized, state-of-the-art technology platform to streamline the process.
Case Study Example: A local residential builder came to V&A with a remodeling project that required extensive planning and a seemingly overwhelming number of inputs and hurdles to navigate the process. The builder did not have the in-house administrative or project management resources and tools to execute the project. V&A managed all those responsibilities, and let the architect design and the builder build. The year-and-a-half long renovation project was a great success for everyone.