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DRAFT Downtown Adams Business Recruitment Program ae ae Retail development goals The following goals articulate a direction for developing unique retail offerings that serve the needs of Adams residents and visitors alike: + Capitalize on the Town's natural and cultural features while creating pedestrian-friendly gathering places for residents and visitors alike. + Retain Adams’ authentic small town experience in the downtown district. + Identify key projects and actions that will focus and promote retail business development in the downtown in particular, and from tourists especially. + Promote retail business development that provides distinctive shops and a variety of year-round recreational, cultural, and entertainment opportunities. + Employ muttple strategies to expand, retain, and recruit targeted retail outside of the community. businesses from within and Attracting retail tenants to Adams will require a concerted and managed recruitment program. The following ‘sa suggested retail development strategy and a guide for implementation, Retail development strategies Retail business development is an economic development function with a distinct array of component parts. The Town can play an important role in what is ordinarily a market function by taking the lead in organizing, facilitating, and supporting the retail development strategy. Following are the most vital recruitment principles to keep in mind while pursuing quality retail tenants: 1, Define expectations ~ the Town must establish appropriate land use guidance for the downtown including traffic, parking, streetscape, and other physical improvements as well as building, landscape, and sign design standards, 2. Involve property owners - without the cooperation and participation of property owners, retail recruitment efforts will have very limited success. 3. Identify, cultivate and attract tenants - quality tenants must be identified by type and by name with an intentional strategy to attract the interest of these businesses. 4, Market the downtown - getting signed leases from new businesses is the bottom line for the recruitment Program; although getting renewed leases from quality business operations that are already situated in the downtown is equally important. 5. Expedite public approvals - every effort must be made to make the approval process predicable and fast Retail development action tasks Successful retail recruitment is not easy and it is not a “part-time” job. The process involves identifying specific retail market niches; offering incentives and inducements for retail businesses to locate downtown; having a thorough inventory of downtown spaces available for rent or sale; and pursuing local business owners and entrepreneurs interested in locating in the downtown. The process involves the following tasks. Strategy 1 — Define expectations 1: Confirm The business environment in Adams and other communities is changing faster and more dramatically than ‘ever before. Shifts in the demographics of the marketplace, rapidly changing consumer preferences and buying patterns mean that businesses must be willing and able to adapt quickly. The emergence and acceptance of new ways to shop and new types of stores creates a fiercely competitive, continually evolving business environment open to exploitation by Adams existing merchants. The number and variety of new products and services being introduced into the marketplace means businesses must be more alert and responsive. Recognizing the new realities of the marketplace is an important part of any market analysis — which should be continually updated to reflect these changing market realities. 2: Implement physical improvements The Town should continue its ongoing program of improving the downtown physical environment consistent with recommendations in the Adams Downtown Development Plan, including streetscape, landscaping, traffic and parking, and other physical improvements to improve the visual environment and demonstrate public commitment to the downtown. Strategy 2 - Involve property owners Identify building ani nership and use informati Maintain accurate and current property ownership and business information on the Town's geographic information system (GIS). Explore opportunities to work with ProAdams and other groups to develop comprehensive information on the mapping system, allowing the Town to: + Retrieve information quickly, + Visually search for buildings that meet certain criteria such as size, vacancy, and condition, + Visually analyze the relationships among the buildings and businesses. Obtain the agreement of downtown property owners to participate in the Town's retail recruitment program and to seek targeted tenants. Buy-in by property owners is critical to long-term success of the recruitment program. 4: jowntown. Expand the database information generated in task 3 above to provide prospective retailers with current space availability information including: (Again, explore working with ProAdams on this task] + Assessed values; + Taxes; + Last sale date and amount; + Availabilty for sale or rent; + Rental/lease terms; + Total square footage; + Available utilities; + Parking access; + Building amenities; + Zoning classification; and + Historic status and building condition. Strategy 3 - Identify, cultivate, and attract tenants The types of retail business activities that meet the overall goal for downtown retailing includes the following {additional uses should be added to this list as experience and circumstances dictate): + hardware and garden + jewelry and accessories + specialty apparel - women's, children’s’, men's + wine shops and breweries + coffee and tea houses + cafes and restaurants + bakeries + specialty foods + kitchen accessories and utensils + book stores-local and internet orders + flower and gift shops + pet supply and services + outdoor gear and sporting goods + bicycle sales and repair + antiques and collectables + crafts and artwork studios ~ glass, wood, ceramics, etc. space ‘Abbusiness recruitment packet should look professional and always incorporate an Adams Downtown image or brand. In addition to the general information placed on the Town's website [and ProAdams?], the packet contents should include the following: + An overview that “sells the vision” of downtown (vision, goals, action plan); + Highlights of business and market research indicating the types of businesses needed, market potential, and competition; + Benefits of locating in the downtown for specific types of businesses; and + Information about avaitable commercial space (from realtors, property owners), loan pools, business assistance, and workforce training programs. Initial contact with potential target retail businesses may involve e-mail, direct mail, and ultimately cold calling by phone and in person. In addition, potential recruits should be invited to open houses or public events where they may tour the downtown, talk to retail and Town representatives, tour prospective vacant storefronts and properties, and get a feel for the potential being marketed. Z: Market to target businesses ‘Contact successful retailers in other communities of similar size and circumstance that may be identified as potential recruits for the downtown. In some instances, successful existing retailers in other locations may be interested in expanding or even relocating to new locations to take advantage of potential new markets — oF, know of former employees, business partners, or other potential recruited individuals who would be interested ina downtown start-up. The cold-call e-mail and direct mail collateral information should include the following: + Letter of introduction including compelling reasons why downtown Adams may make sense for their business; + General information and photos of the community highlighting its assets, and identifying upcoming development projects like Greylock Glen and Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum's tourist trains; + Current downtown market position and goal statements; + Wish list of new businesses supported by market demand and supply data; + New developments demonstrating public and private investment downtown; «+ Information on past openings and closings of businesses; + Trade area geographic definition and demographic and lifestyle data; + Trade area economic data including actual and potential retail sales volumes by store line if available; + Non-resident consumer data (including daytime population and tourism visitation}; + Major employers and institutions; + Vehicle and pedestrian traffic volume; + Mix of existing retail, service, dining, housing, office, and lodging in the market area; + Press coverage and testimonials highlighting success stories; + Promotional calendar; and + Summary of Town and other public incentives and other business assistance available in the downtown. Strategy 4 - Market the downtown 8: Market on the internet Expand the Town's website to include pages detailing “Living”, “Working”, “Visiting”, and “Business” information. Insert information on downtown retail stores and businesses, special events, available housing, property and businesses for sale or rent, and other information to residents, tourists, and potential business recruits under the appropriate pages. Use Facebook, Twitter, and other Google tools to provide pictures, dialogue, calendars, and news alerts. : Identify and ial ers and managers Identify and recruit commercial brokers who have successfully found local quality tenants similar to the target tenants in the recruitment list in task 3 and who are willing to work with the Town and downtown to meet target recruiting goals. Key commercial brokers with the appropriate skills and contacts may be identified from: + Articles in local newspapers, + Key real estate publications in the local area, + Articles in regional weekly, monthly or quarterly publications that focus on real estate, + Downtown revitalization officials in other downtowns in the region, and + Brokers who are listing similar spaces and/or have recruited similar tenants. 10: Develop incentives for property and business owners Between the time that the landlord and the tenant prospect begin negotiations and the time that the doors of the new business open, there will be countless instances when the participation of Town officials will be essential. Consequently, the Town must be considered as a de facto participant in the process and absolutely essential in any downtown business recruitment program. The Town should consider developing a number of incentives it can offer new business recruits including: + Reinstitution of Downtown Facade & Signage Improvement Program ~ small matching grant or no- interest loan programs can help property owners improve their building facades, install new signs, upgrade window displays, and other important enhancements. The Town can place restrictions on the design and even the types of businesses that the grantee may pursue as tenants. + Loan programs — low interest loan pools can also encourage renovations in downtown districts when directed exclusively to retail businesses for start-up costs, working capital, and physical renovations. Low interest revolving loan programs help reduce the risk potential business owners might incur and can service as an inducement to locate downtown. + Historic tax credit applications ~ from state and federal preservation programs provide additional incentives for property owners to preserve, restore, and upgrade contributing historical buildings. Strategy 5 — Expedite public approvals 11: Develop new town center bylaw Currently, there are four zoning classifications within the downtown area — Residential (R-4), Business (8-1), Business (8-2), and Industrial (\). As recommended in the Adams Downtown Development Plan, Adams needs to consolidate the various zoning districts into a single, mixed-use “town center” zone. Areas zoned Industrial and automobile-oriented commercial (B-2) are proposed to be rezoned. The uses and standards for development in the Industrial and B-2 zoning districts are inappropriate for a true mixed-use downtown area. Though the Business (8-1) zoning district allows a mixture of uses, it does not currently promote the lively mixture of retail, entertainment, personal services, office and residential use that creates a true mixed use area. Also of concern, the existing standards in the downtown area impair the ability to redevelop upper stories in buildings for housing. Moreover, almost all uses in the downtown are allowed only by Special Permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals. The Town's goal is to develop and adopt a single mixed-use zoning district that will promote a thriving, compact, pedestrian-oriented town center. ‘A new Town Center Zoning District, once adopted, is expected to achieve the following: + Permit more uses by-right in the downtown, to develop and encourage a truly mixed-use zoning, district; + Facilitate housing development in upper stories of existing commercial structures and underutilized mill buildings; + Develop appropriate standards for the downtown, which address signage, lighting, screening, landscaping, setbacks, building heights, etc. and encourage the mix of uses, scale, and appropriate design outlined in the Downtown Plan; + Reduce parking requirements as appropriate to remove barriers to development and redevelopment of certain uses, especially resider + Incorporate appropriate Low Impact Development (LID) requirements in the downtown zoning district, as appropriate; and + Amend the Town's Official Zoning Map, as warranted