Tag Archives: Government Management & Administration

Downtown Miami Business Incentive Catalog

Agency

Miami Downtown Development Authority

Services Provided

Incentive Catalog and Building Staff Capacity

Address

200 S. Biscayne Blvd, Suite 2929
Miami, FL 33131

Performance Period

2013

Downtown Miami Business Incentive Catalog

Overview

Kevin Crowder and Charita D. Allen utilized the BusinessFlare™ approach to Economic Development to develop an Incentive Catalog for the Miami Downtown Development Authority (DDA), targeted to the specific needs of businesses in the DDA boundaries. The purpose of this project was to compile information for DDA staff to learn about how each incentive program works, and to be able to quickly and accurately identify relevant incentives for
clients.

During the course of the project, 42 incentives/programs were identified that have significance to businesses that are located in, or are considering locating or investing in Downtown Miami. These incentives are provided by local, state, and federal governments, not-for-profits, foundations, and a variety of other organizations. The challenge for
businesses that want to access them is easily identifying which are applicable to their particular type of business and the type of activity or investment that they are undertaking.

Navigating these programs was previously time-consuming and frustrating, especially since a business will also be searching for tools which target their specific need. Some tools are for basic finance and some are more targeted such as tax increment financing and industrial development bonds. Some are investment tools that provide tax credits. Others are access to capital through low interest revolving loan funds or loan guarantees, and supportive tools which provide assistance with infrastructure or contamination.

In addition to the specific need of a business, the business will have to identify the tools for which they qualify: Is the incentive only available to certain targeted industries? Is the incentive only available in certain geographic areas, such as an Enterprise Zone or Redevelopment Area? Other incentives may be for new businesses, for expansion, and some for both, and may have other specific requirements. The development of the Incentive Catalog summarized the information and streamlined the process to benefit current and potential businesses.

Deliverables

  • A cohesive summary report on economic development incentives that are applicable to businesses within the Miami DDA’s boundaries, including a summary of any changes that the State Legislature made regarding incentive programs;
  • A database of internet links and contacts for each incentive program; weekly updates on the status of pending state legislation impacting incentives;
  • Proofed and edited text for both hardcopy documents and digital media, and keyword markets for each program to enable search by various criteria;
  • Most importantly, we developed an easy cross-reference matrix of incentives for use by DDA staff during prospect interaction.

Continuing services are provided to the Miami DDA on an as needed basis for assistance with information on incentive program guidelines, and on applicability and eligibility for prospective businesses. The RMA team members for this project have also been selected to provide the Miami DDA with research services for the period of 2013-2016.

Alachua Downtown District

Agency

Alachua Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Market Analysis
Community Engagement
Marketing/Branding & Economic Development Analysis & Plan
Implementation Plan

Performance Period

January 2016-July 2016

Alachua Market Study & Economic Development Implementation | Downtown District

Issue

The City of Alachua, located in northwest Alachua County, has a population of approximately 10,000. The Downtown District is an authentic example of an Old Florida Downtown and the charming Main Street, where several yearly festivals are held, is one of Alachua’s most revered assets. During the economic downturn many Main Street businesses closed, with the domino effect of fewer visitors coming to what once was a lively downtown. The City Commission and the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) discussed the need to devise methods to revitalize Main Street and the Community Redevelopment Area in order to enhance the character of downtown, provide for business retention and expansion, and market the uniqueness of Downtown Alachua.

Strategy

The City, through its CRA, hired RMA to perform a market study and provide an economic development implementation plan for the Downtown District. This market study included analysis of the potential for new businesses, opportunities and activities to draw visitors, branding, and recommendations for implementation of the findings.

The market study was comprehensive and provided information about the surrounding businesses outside of the downtown district that served as feeders for the downtown. A delineated market study area was defined and tested for market accuracy. This in-depth analysis, using RMA’s BusinessFlareTM approach, led to an implementation plan that included strategies for attracting businesses to the downtown district. These strategies included branding, marketing and messaging, recommendations for wayfinding and directional signage including interstate signage to increase awareness of the downtown, and a program to create partnerships with the business community to host regular downtown events.

In fact, dynamic downtowns with events geared toward community involvement is something that is especially attractive to millennials as they decide where to work and live. RMA also recognized that downtown development in suburban areas like Alachua needed to target specific uses to promote the uniqueness of the area and take advantage of current market trends, with a special focus on drawing customers from the greater Gainesville area. Those target businesses include:

  • Specialty markets including fresh vegetables and fruits, beer and wine offerings.
  • Specialty sporting goods, including cycling, hiking and diving, and horseback riding goods.
  • Coffee and sweets shop, including desserts and bakery items with outdoor patio seating.
  • Genuine antique stores, with an emphasis on exclusion of thrift stores.
  • Breweries to include tastings.
  • Hotels with special event hosting.

Our survey results for businesses located in Progress Park and the Alachua Commerce Center indicated an unmet demand for hotel room nights and conference facilities. One of the initiatives recommended for the Alachua Downtown District is the targeted recruitment of a business class hotel.

Outcome

RMA’s implementation plan is a holistic plan that provides for community and business outreach throughout the area and includes ten steps for the City to focus on to encourage business development and events in the Downtown District. Utilizing recommendations from RMA, Alachua has already realized a surge in business in the downtown area!

RMA had recommended regular monthly events as a tool to bring people to the downtown area, and Alachua now hosts a “Third Thursday on Main” community event sponsored by the City of Alachua Community Redevelopment Agency. Visitors can relax and enjoy a free concert, outdoor dining, and shopping on a walkable boulevard closed to traffic during the event.

These monthly events have been received enthusiastically by the existing businesses and have resulted in additional events taking place in the area, including a country music fest and car shows. The turnout has been strong for all the events, and local businesses have reported increased sales and foot traffic during these events. Another recommendation was a walking map detailing shopping and dining for visitors coming to downtown Alachua. This strategic implementation plan is a blueprint for the City to follow to achieve success, supported by RMA’s commitment to assist as requested going forward.