FXM Associates’ specialty in waterfront planning and economics has grown substantially since the inception of the firm. We have examined the markets, financial operations, and community economic effects of all types of waterfront uses. These include cruise ships, excursion, and charter vessels; passenger and freight ferries; oceangoing container, bulk and break-bulk port facilities; the fishing and seafood industries; marinas; ship maintenance and repair facilities; waterfront residential, hotel, office, retail, and conference uses and special events; as well as recreational and conservation lands along the water.
In the course of these consulting assignments, we have developed a detailed database of market, financial, management, and employment characteristics on over 600 waterfront businesses and institutions. FXM’s work has helped advance to successful implementation a number of waterfront facilities projects, expanded vessel operations, and land use policy changes that include preservation of open space as well as retention of water-dependent uses.
The firm has been recognized for its innovative work in waterfront economic planning with several national and state-level awards from APA, the Congress of the New Urbanism, and the Waterfront Center, and we are regularly called upon to present our work at national and international conferences sponsored by industry associations as well as professional organizations.
Newport Harbor Economic Study
University of Rhode Island, Coastal Resources Center, City of Newport, Rhode Island
This unique study was commissioned to determine the importance of water-dependent and other waterfront uses to the municipal economy and tax revenues. Conventional wisdom has been that waterfront residential condominiums, hotels, restaurants and retail shops generate more local tax revenues than marinas, ship repair facilities, excursion/charter operations, and landside businesses servicing commercial and recreational vessels.
FXM Associates derived the per-acre yield in municipal revenues for each category of Newport waterfront land use from a comprehensive property data base developed by URI CRC staff and City officials, as well as visitor surveys, interviews, and secondary source data on business sales and spending by type of consumer. The study findings addressed direct and indirect municipal revenue attributable to waterfront uses, and showed that water-dependent uses yield significantly more per acre in municipal revenues than any other land use type – 2.5 times more than residential condominiums, for example. The study will help guide future City zoning and infrastructure investment decisions, as well as provide planning and elected officials with an objective basis for evaluation of proposed waterfront development projects.
Frank Mahady, FXM Principal, presented this innovative study at the annual international conference of The Waterfront Center in October, 2011.
New London State Pier Master Plan
FXM Associates prepared an overview of market demand for marine cargo and other commercial vessel uses at New London State Pier, and an assessment of potential growth opportunities. Working with an inter-disciplinary consultant team, FXM examined the pier’s potential to capture additional commodities cargo, and its competitive position among other New England deep-water commercial ports. Augmenting the team’s assessment of site conditions, warehouse capacity and truck/rail access, FXM provided an analysis of the direct, indirect and induced effects of potential State Pier operations on business sales, employment and income within the state economy. This planning study evaluated import/export markets, cruse ship callings, shipping activity generated by the current private terminal operator, and provided data needed by the Connecticut Department of Transportation to issue a RFP for State Pier facility management. (2011)
Port of New Bedford South Terminal Development Plan
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs commissioned an engineering and economic evaluation of Commonwealth ports suitable to service offshore wind energy development. FXM Associates assessed economic and fiscal consequences of prospective development projects to the Massachusetts economy. For the proposed South Terminal facility, FXM identified potential new cargoes in addition to off-shore wind projects; and prepared a business plan with projected costs and revenues, potential economic effects, and facility fee schedule.
In October 2010, Governor Patrick announced plans to construct South Terminal as the nation’s first port facility designed specifically to support off-shore wind projects.. Cape Wind will use this facility during construction and manufacturing phases of its 130-turbine off-shore array, creating as many as 1,000 jobs in southeastern Massachusetts. In addition to support of offshore wind energy projects, FXM identified container, bulk, and break bulk cargoes that could be serviced from a new port at South Terminal and that would generate net new economic benefits to Massachusetts. FXM also prepared a business plan and economic and fiscal impact assessment for these cargo services, showing that the port could cover annual operating costs, generate sufficient net income to support annual operation, and produce net new tax benefits to the state justifying additional capital investment by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Recently (2012), the governor of Massachusetts announced that Massachusetts would provide a $35 million capital investment for the South Terminal Port construction.
Economic Contribution of Maritime Industries to the State of Connecticut Economy
Connecticut Maritime Coalition and Connecticut Office of Economic Development
FXM's assessed the effects of all maritime and related industries on the economy of Connecticut. The study, conducted in conjunction with APEX Engineering, estimated the total direct, indirect, and induced effects of all maritime industries on business output, jobs, household income, and taxes statewide and will further assessed the impact of dredging on business output, jobs, income and taxes.
Research included interviews with over 100 maritime and related industry officials in each of the major ports and application of the R/Econ Input Output Model to estimate total direct, indirect, and induced effects on output, jobs, and income within all relevant 3- and 4-digit NAICS industry sectors statewide. The study has been widely accepted by state and industry officials and is helping guide maritime-related economic development policy as well as advancing specific dredging projects. (2010)
Port of Davisville, RI
Quonset Development Corporation
FXM completed a comprehensive assessment of the economic and fiscal effects of water-dependent uses at the Port of Davisville, including a projection of additional jobs, business sales, household income, and state taxes from expanded port activity. Research involved detailed interviews with current and prospective port users and application of the R/Econ Input Output Model to assess the total direct, indirect, and induced effects on business output, jobs, household income, and value added by detailed industry sector, and state and local taxes throughout Rhode Island. As a consequence of FXM’s work, the Quonset Development Corporation has proceeded with a dredging project (2012) that will facilitate business for the major users and enable them to avoid the Harbor Maintenance Tax charged when the US Army Corps of Engineers performs maintenance dredging.
Summit: Boston by Boat
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay
In April 2008, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay convened a Water Transportation Summit in Boston attended by six Massachusetts Cabinet Secretaries, Congressional, State and City elected officials, major waterfront property owners and hospitality industry officials, vessel owners and operators, and other stakeholders. The objective of the conference was to elicit the participation of all attendees in crafting an understanding of key issues affecting the recreational and commercial use of Boston harbor by water and to determine strategic priorities and immediate action items to increase the number of commuter and recreational boating passengers. Frank Mahady, FXM Principal, presented FXM's analysis of the business sales, jobs, household income, state and local taxes generated by existing commuter ferries, charter and excursion vessels, and water taxis as well as a projection of potential additional economic effects based on current and foreseeable markets for each type of vessel use at varying service levels.
Economic Impacts of Allens Avenue Businesses
Port of Providence Working Waterfront Alliance
Based on detailed interviews with nine major water-dependent industries along the working waterfront in Providence, RI, and application of the R/Econ Input Output Model, FXM assessed the total direct, indirect, and induced effects on business output, jobs, household income, state and local taxes of water-dependent industries along Allen's Avenue. The study also compared the potential effects on jobs, average wages, household income, and business sales of alternative waterfront development types, including hotels, office, retail and residential uses. Partly as a consequence of FXM’s work, the City of Providence’s plans to rezone this section of working waterfront to enable non-water-dependent commercial and residential uses were halted and new policies developed by the City and State to enhance port industries in Rhode Island.
Multi-use Pier Business and Operating Plan
Town of Winthrop, Massachusetts
FXM Associates updated its previous work for a revised multi-use pier concept, to include local commercial fishing vessels, small charter and excursion vessels, and transient private dockage. This work included an assessment of potential economic impacts to local businesses, potential economic development opportunities for new or expanded commercial enterprises, and a detailed operating and business plan to assure that the new pier's projected operating revenues cover its annual operating costs. The business plan was presented to Massachusetts state officials - who subsequently contributed grant funding for 75% of facility construction -- to assure them that Winthrop's share of annual debt service on capital costs, as well as all annual operating costs and depreciation could be covered by annual projected cash flow. The project was approved by all funding and regulatory agencies. Construction was completed and the facility became operational in 2008.
FXM provided Winthrop ongoing technical assistance to obtain a qualified water transportation provider and recently prepared a comprehensive assessment of demand for commuter and recreational vessel service including a detailed pro forma of projected operating revenues and costs. Following an RFP process a qualified operator was selected and ferry service initiated in 2011.
Urban River Visions
Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
The Urban River Visions Initiative helped communities create a vision for their riverfront, and by reconnecting downtowns with their rivers provide improved habitat, recreation and economic development opportunities. Working with Goody, Clancy & Associates, FXM Associates participated in a series of workshops to assist seven communities to create action plans for revitalizing their urban riverfronts. Urban River Visions also fostered a sustainable development approach that redirects future growth to the most appropriate place - urban and downtown areas with existing infrastructure. FXM focused on economic impacts and on using the urban rivers to create new employment and other economic benefits for the communities, bringing extensive knowledge and experience in mill building rehabilitation to the planning exercise.
This project won The Waterfront Center International Prize for best planning project in 2003, a national project recognition award from the American Institute of Architects in 2004, and a national Charter Award from the Congress of the New Urbanism in 2003.
Plymouth Ferry Feasibility Study
Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation
FXM completed an assessment of market demand, pricing, operating revenues and costs, and capital facilities requirements for a possible commuter and seasonal tourist ferry service from Plymouth to Boston. FXM's work included analysis of current commuting patterns and the potential to divert trips to a commuter ferry at varied service and price options; analysis of current and projected tourist visitations and the potential to capture these trips with a weekend or seasonal ferry service; identifying most practicable vessel options and their capital and operating costs; and preparation of a financial pro forma of vessel capital and operating costs compared to ticket revenues.
Newport Harbor Water Shuttle Feasibility Study
City of Newport, RI, and Rhode Island Department of Transportation
FXM recently completed an assessment of market demand, pricing, vessel requirements, revenue potential, capital and operating costs for expanded water shuttle services in Newport Harbor. The study concluded that existing private operators had sufficient capacity to handle current and projected demand and that the state's proposed vessel acquisition and operating subsidies were not warranted. Private operators, however, are constrained in satisfying demand by limitations imposed by the city and state on their use of the central public pier in Newport Harbor, and by inadequate dockage facilities at key public landing locations elsewhere in the harbor.
Chelsea Creek Development Strategy
Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council, Cities of Chelsea and Revere
FXM assessed the current status and expansion potential for water dependent uses along Chelsea Creek, which includes the greater Boston region's major oil import facilities. In addition to interviews with all water-dependent businesses along Chelsea Creek in Chelsea, Revere, and East Boston, FXM is analyzed the economic importance of these water dependent uses to the economies of the local communities and the region overall. The assessment concluded that there remained significant long term potential for the expansion of water-dependent uses in Chelsea Creek, and that it could be accomplished within the existing Designated Port Area and still leave sites for other development.
Plymouth Harbor Marina
Town of Plymouth, Massachusetts
FXM Associates provided a "sketch" assessment of potential operating revenues and costs for a proposed town-owned marina in Plymouth Harbor, and estimates of whether sufficient net operating income could be generated to cover some or all of required dredging and facility construction costs. The goal of this limited assessment was to provide town officials with an early indication of whether such a facility could merit further development based on its ability to cover operating costs and some level of debt service for construction.
FXM also reviewed with Vine Associates, Inc. (VAI) a conceptual multi-use facility layout that could maximize income potential. The assessment assumed a facility accommodating 270 seasonal slip rentals totaling 8,390 linear feet and accommodations for overnight and short stay transient vessels totaling 460 linear feet. The pro forma prepared by FXM included various financing scenarios.
Boston, Watersheet Activation Plan
Boston Redevelopment Authority
FXM was part of a team headed by Goody, Clancy & Associates preparing a plan to create a dynamic and unique sense of place on and along Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel. A variety of adjacent users, including the Children’s Museum, Hook Lobster, Gillette Company, the U.S. Postal Service, the Boston Tea Party Ship, ferry and recreational boating interests, the South Boston and South Cove neighborhoods, as well as office and other commercial developments, are involved in the planning process.
FXM’s role was to define a variety of water dependent uses and events, based on local market considerations as well as experiences nationally and internationally, and to evaluate the economic and financial implications of their development on the channel. FXM also worked with other team members to assess the feasibility and appropriateness of these potentials given the objectives and concerns of adjacent landowners and constituents, as well as Boston Harbor and citywide interests.
Frank Mahady, FXM Principal, presented the plan (with David Spillane of Goody, Clancy) at the 2003 American Planning Association national conference in Denver. The project won a Best Comprehensive Planning Project award from the Massachusetts Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA).
East Boston Municipal Harbor Plan
Boston Redevelopment Authority
FXM assisted the prime consultant, ICON Architects and Planners, and the city of Boston in assessing water dependent industrial and commercial uses and potentials in a section of Boston harbor that is largely targeted for neighborhood residential development.
This portion of Boston Harbor is part of a Designated Port Area (DPA), which places severe regulatory limits on types of land uses that may be developed, and state-approval of required licenses for use of filled tidelands is contingent upon the city’s preparation of an acceptable plan for water related industrial and commercial uses.
New Bedford/Fairhaven Harbor Master Plan, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and City of New Bedford
FXM Associates, along with its subcontractor, Seafood Datasearch, provided an in-depth market and trends assessment of the seafood industry, other maritime industries, and all recreation and tourism industries associated with the New Bedford and Fairhaven harbors. This study involved interviews with all businesses and identifying future financial opportunities that would enhance the economic profile of the harbor and the downtown.
Statistical data was used to identify areas of unmet demand and to identify specific areas where development could succeed. An overall assessment was presented of all harbor businesses in terms of gross receipts, employment, and levels of visitation or users, for both the current harbor and the harbor in five to ten years under proposed redevelopment scenarios.
Gloucester Harbor Plan, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and City of Gloucester
FXM was involved in a lengthy planning process that involved assessing current economic and fiscal conditions in the seafood, recreational, and cultural/educational industries related to the port area of Gloucester. FXM compiled data on the current contribution of waterfront businesses including receipts, employment, payroll, and indirect expenditures.
Through a series of interviews, planning workshops, and secondary source data, FXM assessed current conditions and provided trends in industrial, commercial, cultural, and recreational businesses to identify areas of future growth.
In a further development of the plan, "the Harbor Tomorrow," FXM quantified growth potential in existing businesses and suggested opportunities for new, future business enterprises. An overall assessment of economic and fiscal impact of future trends and opportunities was also provided.
Port of Galilee, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation
FXM Associates prepared the market and trends assessments, economic impact, and financial feasibility and funding evaluations as part of a master plan for the Port of Galilee/Pt. Judith, Rhode Island.
FXM’s work included analyses of market conditions, trends, and local industry performance in seafood processing and commercial fisheries (currently employing over 600 persons landside and on vessels); the tourist- and resident-serving charter boat fleet and related suppliers; regional and local lodging establishments; and tourist and resident serving restaurants, food and gift retailers, commercial, and cultural/recreational attractions throughout the trade area.
This work led to a projection of supportable industrial and commercial development at the port for commercial fishing, other maritime industries, and lodging/restaurant/retail uses.
FXM also evaluated the expenditure and employment effects attributable to existing and prospective new industries at the Port, and prepared detailed financial and development pro forma analyzing existing and potential ground lease, pier and bulkhead, berthing, parking, property tax, use levies, and other income from port users; expenses attributable to operations and maintenance of the port; and capital costs and sources of funds for new infrastructure and facilities development.
Cruise Ship Market Assessment and Strategic Plan
Salem Port Development Corporation
FXM Associates assessed potential market support for cruise ship callings at the port of Salem, Massachusetts, and developed detailed recommendations to guide the Salem Partnership and others in attracting cruise ship calls and providing a satisfactory visitor experience.
Research included comprehensive interviews with cruise line operators, industry officials, port managers, and tourist officials throughout Atlantic Canada and the U.S. In addition, FXM evaluated potential direct and indirect economic effects of cruise ship visitor expenditures in Salem, and provided preliminary estimates of economic effects for other potential waterfront users, such as whale watch, charter vessels, recreational ferries, special vessel events, and marinas.
Waterfront Economic Development Plan
Town of Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
FXM prepared an economic development plan and strategy for expanding year-round employment opportunities directly and indirectly linked to Edgartown’s waterfront and ocean resources.
Research included assessment of conditions and trends in the overall economy of Edgartown and Martha’s Vineyard, including the types and seasonality of jobs; current uses and activities along the waterfront, including the relative importance of daily and vacation visitors, seasonal and year-round resident spending; and non-tourist export base industries, such as commercial fishing.
Strategic initiatives included measures to expand the commercial shellfishery, including aquaculture, the shellfish nursery, recovery and maintenance of sensitive shellfish propagation areas; off-season repair and maintenance of recreational vessels; a physical plan for optimizing the economic use of wharves, haul-outs, moorings, and other vessel services and facilities; and a long-term strategy for public acquisition and use of scarce waterfront resources.
Erie Canal/Fingerlakes Region Corridor Development Plan
Monroe County (New York) Department of Planning
As part of a consulting team that included Trowbridge & Wolf, Landscape Architects, and Larsen Engineers, FXM Associates participated in the preparation of a master plan to guide economic development, recreation, and open space preservation along a 120-mile segment of the Erie Canal in the vicinity of Rochester, New York.
The study examined organizational, thematic, and funding issues of statewide as well as local interest; the contribution of public amenities, historic themes, and waterfront access and facilities to successful commercial, residential, and other development along the canal; and evolved, with significant input from local public and private sector interests, a series of potential projects and programs for implementation.
FXM Associates also completed market, financial feasibility, and economic impact analyses for a selected pilot project.
This study was recognized with a Best Comprehensive Planning Project award by New York State Chapter of the American Planning Association.
Pope's Island Marina Expansion
New Bedford Harbor Development Commission
As part of a consulting team headed by Marina/Consult, Inc., FXM provided market and economic impact analyses and development advisory services on a proposed $14 million expansion of the Pope’s Island Marina and Pope’s Island Park. The objective of the project was to produce earnings for the HDC that can be used to leverage grants and municipal financing for the expansion of fishing piers and other industrial waterfront infrastructure in New Bedford.
The project was a result of recommendations of the Harbor Master Plan, for which FXM provided market and economic impact assessments for a range of existing and proposed water-dependent marine industrial uses.
Onset Pier Plan
Onset Bay Association
FXM participated in a planning charrette involving over 50 community leaders and public participants to determine vision, preferences, and objectives for use of the Town of Wareham-owned pier in Onset Village. Subsequent to this all day planning exercise, FXM staff followed up expression of the vision and objectives of participants with an assessment of issues, including regulatory constraints, and analyses of the economic feasibility for water dependent and other uses considered by the community.
FXM prepared a technical memorandum synthesizing results of the planning exercise, the objective economic analyses, and consensus directions for the future. The study showed that existing pier uses and events contributed more in local business sales and employment than would a proposed 100-room hotel at the site and as a result the Town of Wareham did not further pursue the hotel option.