Downtown projects become ‘hot spots’ for P3s
by Mary Scott Nabers,
CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.
Cities are promoting downtown districts aggressively for a number of reasons. First of all, they need to boost tax revenue. And, they hope to attract more visitors, conventions and tourists. At the same time, if they can revitalize their downtown areas, public safety costs often are reduced. Many mayors and councils are turning to public-private partnerships for initiatives that will help them accomplish their objectives. Here are some interesting examples:
- San Antonio’s Deputy City Manager Pat DiGiovanni will leave his post and become CEO of a public-private partnership organization called Centro Partnership. This organization has big plans and it hopes to ease the process of developing projects in the center city. One of the first major initiatives, according to DiGiovanni, will be to develop a stronger street-level retail core.
- The City of Portland is planning to contribute $9 million toward a $38 million mixed-use project that will revitalize the Bayside area. This public-private partnership will include retail spaces, offices and
market-rate housing. The city will benefit in numerous ways, not the least of which will be the tax revenues generated.
- The City of Charleston and the Medical University of South Carolina will come together in a public-private partnership to transform a 20-acre section of underdeveloped land into housing, retail space and research and technology space. Officials announced earlier this week that they will solicit proposals from firms interested in serving as the master developer for this $1 billion dollar development.
- A public-private partnership is proposed between the Town of Stratham, New Hampshire, and the owners of the Stratham Plaza to build retail space on land near the plaza. Pending the removal of a leach or septic drain field that currently occupies the space, officials hope to develop an 8,000-square-foot retail area that will increase the town’s tax revenue and improve the aesthetics of the area.
- The City of Jacksonville, Florida, will soon break ground on a P3 for a city project called 220 Riverside. It will include apartments, public parks and retail spaces.
- The Town of Coligny, South Carolina, has worked to renovate the entrance to its local beach and is now trying to update other areas. A private firm has been hired to develop a plan for the area. The plan is to include a hotel, parking garage and residential and commercial buildings.
Downtown areas have become the new “hot spots” in many metropolitan areas over the last decade. Now it seems that cities of all sizes are interested in following this trend.