Mind the Gap Strategy #3

The World Cultural Marketplace

Craig Blakely
by Craig Blakely | Apr 01, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

Small businesses are being priced out of the Central Corridor at the same time that large tracts of land sit vacant, waiting on redevelopment. What is needed is an economic development strategy to provide entrepreneurs with affordable space in low-cost temporary structures and access to regional customers that will enable them to grow during this transitional period into businesses that can afford to pay market rate. There is a model for this kind of development in the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn, where a developer partnered with the British firm Urban Space Management to develop a temporary community market from 22 recycled shipping containers around a central tent. The ideal site would be a 1 acre site on a future development pad that won’t be developed for 7 or 10 years owned by a big-box retail center with a regional customer base and a lot of parking. If the owner were willing to lease a site to the City, a community marketplace could be developed out of shipping containers. Trading off the parking and customers of the big-box center, and provided technical assistance by community economic development agencies, the carefully-selected community entrepreneurs would have the chance to develop their business and “graduate” into market space in a new development. Most big-box retailers on University Avenue already have more parking than they need, and as light rail starts operating, they will need even less. Many of them would also benefit from the new customers attracted to the community market in their parking lot, and might see the investment as a “loss-leader” that would pay off in increased sales and a more positive image in the marketplace. And some big-box retailers, like Target, have community foundations which might consider making a program related investment in a more permanent facility. But if and when the big box owner was ready to develop its property, the temporary structures could be moved to help revitalize another site in another neighborhood.

About You

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About You

First Name

Craig

Last Name

Blakely

City

Saint Paul

County

USA

Country

United States, MN

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

Email.

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Saint Paul Department of Planning and Economic Development

Organization Website

Organization Phone

Organization Address

25 West 4th Street, Suite 1300

City

Saint Paul

Organization Country

United States, MN

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Mind the Gap Strategy #3: The World Cultural Marketplace

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

Small businesses are being priced out of the Central Corridor at the same time that large tracts of land sit vacant, waiting on redevelopment. What is needed is an economic development strategy to provide entrepreneurs with affordable space in low-cost temporary structures and access to regional customers that will enable them to grow during this transitional period into businesses that can afford to pay market rate. There is a model for this kind of development in the DeKalb Market in Brooklyn, where a developer partnered with the British firm Urban Space Management to develop a temporary community market from 22 recycled shipping containers around a central tent. The ideal site would be a 1 acre site on a future development pad that won’t be developed for 7 or 10 years owned by a big-box retail center with a regional customer base and a lot of parking. If the owner were willing to lease a site to the City, a community marketplace could be developed out of shipping containers. Trading off the parking and customers of the big-box center, and provided technical assistance by community economic development agencies, the carefully-selected community entrepreneurs would have the chance to develop their business and “graduate” into market space in a new development. Most big-box retailers on University Avenue already have more parking than they need, and as light rail starts operating, they will need even less. Many of them would also benefit from the new customers attracted to the community market in their parking lot, and might see the investment as a “loss-leader” that would pay off in increased sales and a more positive image in the marketplace. And some big-box retailers, like Target, have community foundations which might consider making a program related investment in a more permanent facility. But if and when the big box owner was ready to develop its property, the temporary structures could be moved to help revitalize another site in another neighborhood.

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

The cost of redevelopment is so high there is little middle ground between a low-budget market which has difficulty complying with City codes, and the highly-leveraged project that can comply but can’t repay the loans required to build it. This is a proven but innovative new model which provides affordable code-compliant space by renting unused land and recycling shipping containers in a visible location in the Central Corridor where new entrepreneurs can establish themselves by leveraging the parking resources and customer base of existing big-box retailers. Another innovation would be to demonstrate to big-box retailers that investing an acre of their surplus parking lot in such a community market would pay off in new customers in their stores and an improved image in their community.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

Light rail presents the City with enormous long-term opportunities but significant short term costs as parking is eliminated, rents rise, and commercial tenants are evicted by redevelopment. While the City has programs to help mitigate those short term costs, it needs to develop transitional strategies to take advantage of long term opportunities. While developing a World Cultural Heritage District is a goal of the Central Corridor Development Strategy, this idea provides a proven model for implementing it. There is a certain logic to fulfilling the economic development vision of light rail by extending living wage employment and entrepreneurial opportunities to the neighborhoods that surround it. And there is a certain elegance in partnering with a big-box retailer to do so.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

By avoiding a highly-leveraged redevelopment, this proposal reduces the need for public subsidy or crushing private debt. By providing a temporary use for a future development site, it provides the big-box owner with some interim income, and may provide a long term increase in sales if they are willing to give the market a more permanent location. By using temporary, recycled structures, it allows the market to be moved to revitalize another location if and when the original location is redeveloped. And by creating affordable commercial space and access to the regional big-box customers, it creates a pipeline for entrepreneurial development and an incentive for the businesses to “graduate” into new storefronts as market-rate tenants in new developments in the Central Corridor.

chantalchantelle2013 chantalchantelle2013 said: A best strategy are the ones who stay on top of the market. - YOR Health about this Competition Entry. - 2556 days ago read more >

Craig Blakely updated this Competition Entry. - 2855 days ago

Craig Blakely updated this Competition Entry. - 2856 days ago

Craig Blakely submitted this idea. - 2856 days ago