Commercial Development Strategy
Council working on Commercial Development Strategy
Last fall Council expressed an interest in knowing how to move past developments and into specific interest like retail development and job creation for Chapel Hill. Council also has adopted Goals of 1) Continue performance based business recruitment strategies and 2) Adopt strategies for adding office and retail tax base (2016 Goal) which reinforces this need. Town staff went out looking for a strategist to help with this conversation and beginning a strategy conversation to replace the previous Economic Development Strategy. After several interviews we retained the services of Rod Stevens of Spinnaker Strategy to facilitate this conversation. The end goal became that of creating a Commercial Development Strategy to replace the previously adopted Economic Development Strategy.
The previously adopted Economic Development Strategy (2008) targeted the need to grow the tax base and work on job creation. This Strategy did not target economic sectors as we had little space to compete with. The recently approved developments allows for space for us to compete in the market for new jobs and work to retain the jobs that are created in town. The Comprehensive Plan, Chapel Hill 2020, also reinforced this need under Community Prosperity.
Mr. Stevens began by spending time reviewing past studies and understanding our market from a regional perspective. He interviewed each elected official and we hosted a Council Work Session in June to begin to frame this Commercial Development Strategy. There have been a couple of high level takeaways from the conversation that has occurred: we need to think about our community brand and the key elements that represent that brand, we should not focus on regional competition but focus on taking our place on the national map of like cities, work to create a greater sense of 'place' in our commercial districts and let job creation be a central theme of the effort.
Council has formed a new Council Committee to focus one of the key areas not being focused on from the Chapel Hill 2020 Comprehensive Plan: Community Prosperity. This Committee will be charged with working to begin to define the prosperity vision for our community, agree on the vocabulary that makes up and relates to the components of that vision and develop a game plan for action.
This is an exciting new direction for Chapel Hill as this will give us the opportunity to create new private jobs for our citizens, their children and the future citizens that may come to our community. It give us an opportunity to capture and retain much of the talent and business initiatives that begin here.
Visit www.Open2.Biz to learn more.