Elizabeth Hollister (MCRP '15) discusses her time at Tech and life after grad school
Please explain what your option paper was about.
My option paper was a feasibility analysis examining whether the property owners along Howell Mill Road could create a viable Community Improvement District (CID) as a funding source to address the corridor's infrastructure issues.
Why did you pick that topic?
I was working as a co-op student for Jamestown Properties at the time. A friend of mine who was a neighborhood leader in Berkeley Park asked me to hop on a conference call to talk to the Asset Manager for Jamestown's White Provisions development (located on Howell Mill) about the possibility of creating a CID. The idea germinated during that call. I decided that the go/no-go decision to create a CID would require a fair amount of research and coordination which Jamestown probably would not have the resources to tackle. It seemed like a great subject for an option paper.
What was your relationship like with your faculty advisor?
I was originally assigned to a transportation advisor, but in December of my second year when I came up with the CID research idea, I realized I couldn't pursue the paper without help from a professor with a deep understanding of the real estate sector. Dan Immergluck agreed to work with me despite already having a full load of advisees. He was encouraging of my plan to take a idiographic research approach involving primarily one-on-one personal interviews. He helped me shape the paper outline and provided key expertise in how to analyze the property ownership data. I could not run with this idea without his support.
What are you up to these days? Is your research related to what you are doing now?
Yes, 100%. I called a meeting with the top 11 commercial property owners in the corridor. They all reached a consensus on the idea to create a CID and enlisted my help in setting it up since I had already spoken with so many of the owners. I am now the Executive Director of the newly formed Westside/ Howell Mill CID.
What are a few of the things you enjoyed most about the program here?
I loved working and collaborating with such a talented group of classmates. Now that we have all graduated and taken the Atlanta planning scene by storm, I have friends in high places!