On several occasions our firm has been retained by government entities and non-profit organizations to develop revitalization strategies for declining areas. The firm’s philosophy when undertaking these assignments is to rely on a market-based approach, not an abstract vision. In other words, we provide a candid assessment of the existing situation and a realistic, market-driven solution to achieve the desired result. These assignments always involve extensive interviews with area stakeholders to test concepts and ensure that preconceived notions about an area do not drive the planning process. To view an illustrative example, please click here.
A sample of our assignments that involved the formulation of a revitalization strategy includes:
The City of Auburn, Alabama wanted a strategy to reverse the decline along Opelika Road, a major corridor extending from downtown to the city limits. We were part of a planning team led by Design Workshop. Our role was to evaluate local real estate trends and identify realistic development opportunities that would help reverse the corridor's current stagnation. As part of the implementation phase, we also evaluated the merits of various public and private financing mechanisms that could be employed in the study area.
The City of Birmingham, Alabama selected H.J. Russell & Company to serve as master developer for 38 acres in the Five Points West community. The land was adjacent to the Birmingham CrossPlex, a multipurpose sports facility built by the city in 2011 that was intended to spur revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood. As part of the development team, our role was to evaluate the property’s highest and best use and to provide a realistic development strategy.
We were a sub-consultant to H.J. Russell & Company, an Atlanta developer who was hired by the City of East St. Louisto analyze potential development opportunities in the central business district. Our charge was to formulate a strategy for downtown East St. Louis to reverse the downward spiral that has existed for decades, focusing on realistic development opportunities that could provide a basis for long-term renewal. We developed a strategy that was both pragmatic and incremental in nature. More than 50 interviews with city officials, economic development groups, developers, property owners, and other interested stakeholders were conducted as part of the planning process.
City of Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson created a special task force to prepare a revitalization plan for a 23-block area of downtown, known as Fairlie-Poplar. We were hired and launched a three-phase study consisting of: 1) area familiarization; 2) conceptualization and testing; and 3) plan and implementation. The goal was to formulate a strategy to reverse Fairlie-Poplar’s downward spiral and to create a foundation for positive change. Subsequently, we were retained by the Fairlie-Poplar Task Force to coordinate the implementation program.
On separate occasions we were retained by the City of Charlotte and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commissionto formulate revitalization plans for three declining commercial corridors. The Wilkinson Boulevard Corridor was a vital link between the airport and downtown and was plagued by departing businesses and visual blight. The Freedom Drive and West Boulevard corridors suffered from a similar set of problems. Our task was to develop revitalization strategies for the areas that were market-based and economically feasible.
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