North Adams Strategic Economic Development Plan

Executive Summary
Prepared by HR&A Advisors, Inc. & SHoP Architects

The North Adams Partnership: Mission

To enhance the economy of North Adams and establish and maintain the city’s position as a small city center of commerce, culture, education and innovation. To work closely with business leaders and local state and federal government officials and the non profit sector, and to serve as a resource of expertise and creative thinking for public policy makers. To develop and incubate strategic economic development projects in North Adams and serve as the catalyst to attract private investment, and encourage the creation of joint ventures and public/private partnerships.
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A Framework for Action

Private funding

Mayoral, community, civic, institutional input

Strategic Economic Development Plan

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Strategic Economic Development Plan

Stimulate private investment Economic strategies & physical tactics Implementation priorities, funding & responsibilities

Vision

Challenges & opportunities

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Executive Summary

The Berkshires’ urban center of intellectual creativity

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North Adams in transition

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Vision

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Parallel Efforts Under Way

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Process

Data Collection

Prioritization

Stakeholder Interviews

Opportunity Identification

Investment Analysis

Vision

Implementation Strategy

Physical Analysis

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Challenges & Opportunities Economic Strategies and Physical Tactics The Vision

Implementation Priorities & Funding
Phase I Work & Progress

Declines in local manufacturing resulted in a 30% population loss, high unemployment and low incomes in North Adams

8.2%
unemployment in the past year, vs. 6.7% County and 6.6% State 25,000 20,000

$36,400
Median household income vs. $48,700 County and $66,000 State

30% Population Decline from 1970 to 2012 19,195 18,063

16,797 14,681 13,504

Residents

15,000
10,000 5,000 0 1970 1980 1990 Year

2000

2010 2012

Source: Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Mass. Labor & Workforce Development, US Census Bureau

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Successful cultural institutions and destination recreational opportunities now draw visitors to the area

120,000
annual visitors to MASS MoCA

165,000
annual visitors on Mt. Greylock

200,000
annual visitors to the Clark
Source: MASS MoCA Economic Impact Study, Clark Institute Economic Impact Study, mass.gov, gorp.com

$3.1
million for bike trail extensions
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Major academic institutions support the potential for entrepreneurship

1,800
students at MCLA as of Fall 2012

2,200
students at Williams College as of Fall 2012

60,000+
square feet of new campus space dedicated to science and innovation, including incubator space

$15,000
in award funds for the winner of the College’s business plan competition, along with office space and mentorship

Source: mcla.edu, williams.edu

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Assets

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A great benefit: Short distances for Downtown walkability

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Challenging physical context disincentivizes investment: A green space shortage

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A parking and hardscape surplus

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Disconnected pedestrian links

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Assets lack connectivity to one another and Downtown

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The Result: Disinvestment, high vacancy, continued unemployment
Vacant storefronts on Eagle Street Structurally-damaged Hoosac Mill

Source: Local real estate professionals; image: iBerkshires
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How do we…

Keep and attract decline?

young adults to North Adams to stem population entrepreneurialism?

Provide an environment to support
Encourage

tourists visiting North Adams’ cultural & natural resources to stay longer and spend more?
Ensure that tourists to MASS MoCA and other destinations

visit
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downtown?
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Challenges & Opportunities Economic Strategies and Physical Tactics The Vision

Implementation Priorities & Funding
Phase I Work & Progress

Economic strategies: Promote and enhance North Adams’ quality-of-life for residents and workers

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Economic strategies: Support entrepreneurialism and investment, leveraging institutions’ intellectual capital

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Economic strategies: Strengthen North Adams’ identity as a cultural & outdoor recreation destination

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Economic strategies: Attract residents and tourists to Downtown

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Plan strategy: Identify primary local assets

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Plan strategy: Provide links to connect assets

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Plan strategy: Strengthen Downtown’s draw through economic anchors and physical enhancements

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Physical tactics

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Challenges & Opportunities Economic Strategies and Physical Tactics The Vision

Implementation Priorities & Funding
Phase I Work & Progress

Vision

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Vision

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Zone A: Downtown

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Zone A: Downtown | Town Commons

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Zone A: Downtown | Town Commons

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Zone A: Downtown | Entrepreneurial Support & Coworking Space
The Opportunity
• Attract and retain local entrepreneurs and startups


Provide attractive office space downtown
Ability to link to Williams Business Plan Competition and MCLA entrepreneurship programs

The Market
• Growth area: Number of coworking spaces in comparably-sized markets grew 73% between 2009 and 2011 ~1,000 freelancers & entrepreneurs in the North Adams area. Potential for 35-75 regular users. A business investment: 79% of spaces are founded as private businesses; 72% are profitable within 2 years
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• •

HR&A Advisors, Inc. | SHoP Architects Source: Deskmag International Coworking Survey

Zone A: Downtown | Housing
The Opportunity
• • • Leverage North Adams’ attractive, inexpensive housing stock Retain young adults, artists and creative professionals in North Adams Draw activity Downtown

The Market

• • •

Current potential demand for 130 downtown households each year
Building critical mass Downtown will increase demand Two priority sites identified for first moves Limited patient equity or gap financing required today; minimal market growth creates attractive investor environment
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Zone A: Downtown | Hotel
The Opportunity
• Retain arts and recreation tourists in North Adams, for longer

The Market
• • • Slight growth in ADR and steady RevPAR indicate a stable hotel market Seasonal swings in occupancy are still large MASSMoCA expansion, connected to Downtown investment, will grow demand

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Zone A: Downtown | Church Preservation
The Opportunity
• Preserve architectural resources - an integral part of North Adams’ identity

The Market
• Tap into grant funding for preservation

Explore potential for innovative, selfsufficient reuse

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Zone A: Downtown | Healthcare Support & Expansion

The Opportunity

Attract medical and wellness uses Downtown
Provide ready access to healthcare and related services in North Adams

Fill vacant frontage with a stable and desirable use

The Market
• North Adams Regional Hospital is one of top 5 employers in North Adams – 550 employees
National healthcare restructuring likely to create need for local support services for healthcare Tracking and marketing of available space can focus potential users on North Adams

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Zone A: Downtown | Eagle Street Streetscape

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Zone A: Downtown | Streetscape

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Zone B: Connectivity

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Zone B: Connectivity | Major Connectivity Corridors

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Zone B: Connectivity | MASS MoCA to Downtown Connection

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Zone B: Connectivity | Connective Art Installations & Signage

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Zone C: Heritage State Park

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Zone C: Heritage State Park

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Zone C: Heritage State Park | Architectural Study & Additional Ideas

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Zone C: Heritage State Park | The Junction

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Zone C: Heritage State Park | The Junction

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Zone D: Rte 2 Corridor

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Zone D: Rte 2 Corridor | Sky Gardens

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Zone D: Rte 2 Corridor | Sky Gardens

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Zone E: Natural Resources and Recreation

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Zone E: Natural Resources and Recreation | Hoosic River Access

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Zone E: Natural Resources and Recreation | Mt. Greylock Access

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Zone E: Natural Resources and Recreation | Outdoor Supply Retail
The Opportunity
• Establish North Adams as a hub for recreational needs for visitors to Mt. Greylock and the region

The Market
• $43.8 million in unmet spending potential identified through gap analysis, likely being spent outside of North Adams North Adams residents and visitors supporting 170,000 SF of retail outside of North Adams Appropriate retail and surrounding amenities could attract a portion of this spending to stay in North Adams

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Challenges & Opportunities Economic Strategies and Physical Tactics The Vision

Implementation Priorities & Funding
Phase I Work & Progress

Initiatives prioritized by feasibility & impact…
HIGH FEASIBILITY 5D SHORT TERM 5H 5F 9D 4E 2C 2A 4I 9B 2B 9C

7E
1G 4G

5G 7A 3C 7C 7B 8B

HIGH IMPACT

LOW IMPACT

3A 3B 4F 7D 4D 3E 4B 1E 8C 6A 4C 1F 1I 1H

8A
4A 5A

1A

5C

LONG TERM
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3D 9A 1C 1D 5B 6B 5E LOW FEASIBILITY

1B 4H

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…and sequenced to build toward Vision

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Phase 1 Priority Initiatives

Connect MASS MoCA, MCLA & Downtown

Connect to broader assets

• Design: • MASS MoCA/Downtown pedestrian connections • Downtown/MCLA bicycle path • Implement bicycle path connections to Williamstown & to Adams • Directional signage • Connective art installations
• Heritage State Park • Coworking space • Downtown housing • Outdoor supply retailer • Healthcare support services

Embrace current investment opportunities

Plan for big moves

• Downtown Commons

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Phase 2 Initiatives

Strengthen the core

• Main St & Eagle St improvements • High visibility signage

Leverage evolving market Build critical mass of activities
• Expanded hotel offerings • New recreation/waterplay area

Implement big moves

• Downtown Commons

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Phase 3 Initiatives

Improve North Adams Entry

• Sky gardens • Pedestrian improvements

Connect new anchors Extend the network

• The Junction • Additional bike paths

Pursue additional anchors & attractions

• Mohawk Theatre revitalization • Church preservation & reuse • Downtown carousel/amphitheater • River chute cycling • Market building • Memorial Park

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Phase I Funding Required From Multiple Sources

Private investments

Public funding

Philanthropic opportunities

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Equity Investment: ~ $2.7 M - $4.0 M

Investment Opportunities

Equity Requirements

Additional Funding Needs (in addition to conventional financing)

Entrepreneurial Support & Coworking Space

~ $0.45 - $0.65 M (startup costs)

Downtown Housing

~$1.5 M per project

• • •

Historic Tax Credits MASS Development financing Gap Financing as necessary

Outdoor Supply Retailer

Startup costs, TBD

Heritage Park Revitalization

$1.5 M

• •

NARA funds for acquisition $1.3 M grant funds for public areas and street improvements
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Grants and Gifts: ~ $3.7 M to $4.4M +
Capital Projects
Public Funds Downtown Commons MASSMoCA/DT Connections MCLA/DT Connections Ashuwillticook Bike Paths Signage ~ $0.1M - $0.3M Planning costs (for ~$3.5M construction project) ~ $0.1M - $0.3M Planning costs (construction costs TBD) ~ $3.1 M ~ $0.1M - $0.4 M

Estimated Costs

Potential Sources

• • •

State Transportation Bonds – Chapter 90 funds MassWorks Infrastructure Program I-Cubed: the Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program

Philanthropic Opportunities
Connective Art Installations TBD • Donation/commission of work

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Next Steps, Following Funding
Connective art installations Physical Connections
Develop curatorial strategy Determine capital & operating budget Design links from Downtown to MASS MoCA & MCLA Move Ashuwillticook paths forward Develop signage strategy Prepare business plan Reach out to local developers Prepare prospectus Talk to landowners Develop prelim programming & operations strategy Identify equity investor

Priority connections
Directional signage

Coworking space & entrepreneurial support
Economic Investment Downtown housing Outdoor supply retailer Downtown Commons Heritage State Park & Junction Planning Healthcare support & expansion

Identify operator
Coordinate with NBH to identify emerging offsite services

Prepare marketing materials
Establish point of contact & space information resource to match new businesses with space in North Adams

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The Vision

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Challenges & Opportunities Economic Strategies and Physical Tactics The Vision

Implementation Priorities & Funding
Phase I Work & Progress

Provide links to connect assets; Strengthen Downtown’s draw through economic anchors and physical enhancements

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North Adams Partnership | 73

Designing Connections Connecting MASSMoCA to Downtown

FOOTBRIDGE PARK

CONNECTION

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Designing Route 2 Improvements Improving North Adams Entry

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Planning Directional Signage Connecting to Broader Assets

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Heritage State Park: Launched Greylock Market Embracing Current Investment Opportunities

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Center for Entrepreneurship planning Embracing Current Investment Opportunities

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The Junction: Planning for Unified History & Train Museum Connecting New Anchors

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The Vision

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