How To Spark Downtown Development

June 30, 2014

By: Marc Stiles
Via: Puget Sound Business Journal

The performing arts center in downtown Federal Way will have views of Mount Rainier. The City Council voted on June 3 to move ahead with the $32 million project. Illustration by Stephanie Bower

The city of Federal Way [Washington] last week made a $32 million gamble by deciding to move ahead with construction of a performing arts and conference center. In economic development circles, this is known as a “catalyst project.”
With construction of the new facility at the northeast corner of South 316th Street and 20th Avenue South, city leaders hope it will jump start redevelopment of the city center — a long-time goal.
The Business Journal spoke with Jeff Marcell, a new senior partner at economic development company TIP Strategies and former executive of the EDC of Seattle and King County, about such projects, and what makes some successful.
What’s a good example of a catalyst project actually turning a languishing area in to a vibrant one?
One of the most recognized ones is Kent Station in Kent. The city purchased a chemical plant in the middle of its urban core and redeveloped the site with guidance from the private sector. They took advantage of surrounding public sector investments like a new King County Justice Center and Sound Transit’s commuter rail station to fuel traffic to the development and later added facilities for Central Washington University and Green River Community College that brought even more activity to the development.
How can cities ensure projects actually achieve their goals?
Identify clear goals, including job creation, tax revenue generation and changing the preconceived mindset about a community. Cities also should conduct a comprehensive feasibility analysis, and they should lean on private sector expertise for guidance. It is vital to have broad and strong local leadership actively involved. Cost overruns and delays should be expected, and cities should be patient. It may take several years to see results.
And what should cities not do?
They should not review elaborate architectural drawings before conducting the feasibility analysis. Visual presentations generate emotional responses that are not conducive to more objective judgements. Cities also shouldn’t develop plans and move ahead without the opportunity for community buy-in.

Story Maps Illustrate Metro Area And County Population Change

June 11, 2014

Via: The Census Bureau
The Census Bureau [recently] released two interactive thematic maps on population change.
These ‘Story Maps’ provide insight on emerging trends in population change across the country,” said Jason Devine of the Census Bureau’s Population Division.

The first map allows data users to explore the difference a decade has made in patterns of population change in metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas across the country. This is possible through swiping between two interactive maps – one covering the 2002-2003 period, the other 2012-2013.
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau

The second map permits users to determine the extent of population growth in each county between 2012 and 2013, and to quickly identify the primary source of that population change (such as natural increase or net migration).
SOURCE: U.S. Census Bureau

Project Update: Woodward, Inc. HQ and Manufacturing Facility to Relocate to Downtown River District in Fort Collins, CO

April 17, 2013

by Caroline Alexander, Senior Consultant, TIP Strategies

Fort CollinsAfter completing a strategic plan for the City of Fort Collins in 2012, TIP has continued to support the City’s Economic Health Office, providing research and analyses to help them refine their program and investment strategy. As such, we have been able support them in their continued efforts to put theory into practice.

Recently, the Fort Collins City Council voted to approve a $23.5 million business assistance package for Woodward, Inc. to develop a 101-acre property to house its corporate headquarters and a manufacturing facility. The company plans to invest $220 million in new buildings, relocate 600 jobs to the new facility, and create 400 new jobs. The economic impact analysis that TIP and Impact DataSource prepared estimated that the project will likely generate a net benefit for the local taxing districts of over $36 million in the first 10 years.

The significance of the project, however, moves far beyond its economic and fiscal impact: it has the potential to transform the city’s under-developed River District and spur additional investment in the area. The headquarters will anchor the southeastern edge of the River District with a major employer and will provide 29 acres of improved open space along the Poudre River. Demand for services such as hospitality and retail will grow to support the headquarters of a $2 billion global company and will generate a great deal of activity in the District. Recreational users will also be drawn to the expanded access to the river, generating even more social, retail, and dining activity. As a result of this catalytic project, the streets between the Woodward Campus and historic downtown will likely see a surge of interest and investment.

Kudos to the City of Fort Collins, the Economic Health Office, and the Downtown Development Authority for their work in making this project happen.