Planning Process

Advancing Places: How To Fight Blight

Learn how every downtown faces the challenge of vacant and blighted commercial buildings. These problems often appear intractable and frankly beyond the reach of an urban place management organization. Learn how two cities decided to step up and tackle this problem head-on with a data-driven approach using both carrots (incentive outreach) and sticks (litigation). Hear about what worked well and what didn’t.

Advancing Places: Connecting with Downtown Neighborhoods

We often inherit a complicated relationship with the neighborhoods adjacent to the traditional downtown core. Those adjacent neighborhoods are sometimes very different in history and composition – the buildings are likely older, the land is less developed, and the community less affluent. The neighborhoods may be separated from downtown by historic and political barriers, including racist and exclusionary policies and years of broken economic development promises.

Loan & Tax Abatement Program

Through its Development Loan program, Memphis’s Center City Development Corporation offers a low-interest loan product designed to support smaller commercial developments. It offers a low-interest loan of up to $200,000 for permanent building renovations and new construction within the Central Business Improvement District. The product is not a construction loan; rather, it is permanent financing that can be used to take out a construction loan.

Developing a Retail Strategy

All downtowns are dealing with the changing world of retail and developing strategies for retention and attraction. Learn from Cherry Creek North, Downtown Memphis and Downtown OKC, three very distinct downtowns, as they discuss their respective approaches for filling vacant spaces and retaining and attracting retailers.   

Inclusive Place-Based Economic Development

In 2015, Charlotte’s downtown association, Charlotte Center City Partners, was invited by neighborhood advocates to catalyze a multi-year partnership effort to transform the Historic West End of Charlotte corridor. However, in West End, long-tenured residents and businesses threatened by rising property values feel this pressure acutely as they face predatory investors and find very limited affordable housing options for those who wish to move but stay in the neighborhood.

Developing a Retail Strategy

All downtowns are dealing with the changing world of retail and developing strategies for retention and attraction. Learn from Cherry Creek North, Downtown Memphis and Downtown OKC, three very distinct downtowns, as they discuss their respective approaches for filling vacant spaces and retaining and attracting retailers.   

Economic Development 101 for Downtown Organizations

A presentation on the fundamentals of downtown economic development, its importance, and the difficulties a downtown organization might face in planning for economic development. This presentation is meant for districts looking to get started with economic development programs.

Coxe Avenue Complete Street Demonstration Project

The project was initiated to accelerate mobility improvements to a developing corridor in an Asheville neighborhood. Coxe Avenue formerly contained a high density of automotive uses but is now the site of mixed-use developments and dining options. The project involved a public engagement process, held on a compressed timeline. The design features a shared-use path and an intersection mural. The final installation includes eight new crosswalks, a multi-use path, and the 6,000 sq. ft. mural.

Scooter Monroe Master Talk

Scooter Monroe is responsible for executing Weller’s vision for development projects and operating businesses from concept through completion. Mr. Monroe has over 14 years of experience in the development of commercial and multi-family projects in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Stuart Mangrum Master Talk

A member of the Burning Man community since 1993, Stuart was one of the organization’s first year-round volunteers. In his current role he focuses on cultural development programs including public education, staff and volunteer training, and historical documentation. He is also deeply involved in the event’s creative direction, as co-author of the last three event themes and a collaborator in designing the Black Rock City experience.

Gabe Metcalf Master Talk

Gabriel Metcalf is the President & CEO of SPUR. Under his leadership, SPUR has grown dramatically in influence and membership. Before becoming head of SPUR 2005, Gabe headed up SPUR’s policy and advocacy work for five years. A prolific writer and speaker, Gabriel earned his Master’s degree in city planning from the University of California, Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design.

Downtown Design Standards Management

In 2001, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. (DFWI) championed the creation of the Downtown Urban Guidelines. In 2016-2017, these guidelines were updated and strengthened by DFWI and City of Fort Worth and codified as the Downtown Urban Design Standards and Guidelines. DFWI led the effort with City staff and members by drafting the guidelines, facilitating discussion and ushering the program through City Council approval.

Northeast False Creek Plan

The Northeast False Creek Plan is an innovative and comprehensive plan to replace the Georgia and Dunsmuir viaducts (2.6 km of elevated freeway infrastructure) with a new mixed-use waterfront community. As a result of intensive collaboration between the landowners, senior levels of government and the community over an 18-month planning process, a 20-year plan for the buildout of Northeast False Creek was adopted by Vancouver City Council on February 13, 2018.

Wheaton Central Business District Advisory Panel: How to Leverage County Assets in Downtown

IDA’s Advisory Panels are a time-tested way to explore new ideas, solve difficult problems, and rally the board, staff and community around priority projects or topics. This panel weighed in on how to best use county land assets and strategically locate and leverage valuable amenities in downtown to spur growth. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Sizzling Second Tier Cities: Action Plans Reshaping Downtowns

Second tier cities are heating up and market-based action plans can provide a catalyst to reshape downtowns. Hear how Reno NV, Evansville IN and London ON all used recent downtown plans as a springboard to create energy and attract investment, thereby strengthening the role of downtown organizations that are rapidly becoming agents of change in each city.