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What Do The Five Principles of Urban Economics Mean For Your City?

For decades, scholarly journals have published hundreds of studies on urban economics. People studying cities ask questions like, “Why do some cities grow and others decline?” and “What makes certain cities generate more wealth than others?”

Of course, when you’re living in and managing a city, answering such questions is about more than academic curiosity. Figuring out what makes cities grow or decline and how cities can generate more wealth are vital to the success of your city.

In “Five Principles of Urban Economics,” published by City Journal, professor Mario Polèse proposes five principles about the economic development of cities. These principals sum-up more than 50 years of research into urban economies into several key points. In this article, we’re going to look at how these points can help turn all this urban economics research into practical advice for your city, including cities with populations of less than 50,000 people.


1) Size And Location Are Key To Determining Wealth

It’s not much of a surprise that a city’s size and location help determine its wealth. What’s more surprising is that city rankings relative to each other stay remarkably stable. In the United States, for example, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia have stayed the three largest cities east of the Mississippi for well over 100 years. They’ve also remained in the same order.

A city’s relative size and its location are key to determining how much growth it can experience. They also play a big role in determining the city’s economic potential. It’s unlikely that a city which is relatively small and in an out-of-the-way location now will become the “next New York City” or the “next Chicago” any time soon.

This doesn’t mean that smaller communities are doomed to never grow or thrive. In fact, communities with populations fewer than 50,000 residents constitute almost 90% of our country’s general-purpose local governments and many are doing quite well for themselves. Make sure you don’t under-sell your community’s potential just because it’s not one of the largest cities in the area.

2) Dramatic Growth Is Usually Caused By Outside Events

Location and city size aren’t everything. Sometimes cities grow and develop at a rapid pace that has very little to do with their original size or location. According to the research, this type of growth is almost always caused by outside events. Similarly, major changes can undermine a once prosperous city’s economic advantage quickly.

Changes in transportation technology can open up markets for a city, or shut them down if new traffic flow bypasses the city. The development of air-conditioning opened up greater growth for cities in hot climates like Phoenix and Houston. Changing demands for manufactured products can also have a huge effect on cities.

It usually takes a significant outside event – such as the development of new technology or a political shift – to trigger dramatic growth in a city, regardless of its starting size. It’s not usually something those within the city can control. Cities can, however, make choices that trigger growth on a smaller scale.


3) Accessible, Well-Connected Cities Grow Faster

Transportation technologies have a profound influence on which cities grow and which ones do not. Cities that manage to make themselves a hub for travel and commerce have a decided advantage over neighboring cities. Some cities benefit from having a major highway, high-speed railway, and/or airport. Others profit based on having a central location or close proximity to major market centers.

The first two principles on this list aren’t something most cities can apply proactively. They’re more something to understand about how urban economics work. For this point, though, the key principle to take away is that city administrators must be on the lookout for opportunities that new transport links can provide. You’ll also want to be aware that lost accessibility can seriously impact city growth.

While you can’t reliably control whether or not a major highway goes through your city, you can make sure that your city is accessible. A 2017 report by the National League Of Cities (NLC) found that economic development and infrastructure are tied as the top most important issues for cities of less than 50,000 people. Market access and connectivity play a crucial role in expanding a city’s economic potential. And that means that it’s time to make long-deferred investments in roads, bridges and related infrastructure a top priority.

4) Every Industry Leaves Its Impression On A City

Once upon a time, quite a large number of cities grew quickly because they specialized in one industry. In many cases, the first cities to industrialize made rapid progress. But when the economy started to shift toward being more knowledge- and service-based, industrial cities had a difficult time transitioning.

When a single industry dominates a city it can result in a wide variety of problems down the road. We’re seeing that in the United States today as many cities with large plants and big factories struggle to find their place in today’s economic environment.

There’s no easy way to fix this problem or to manage the transition. However, broadly speaking, it’s important to accept that some industries will eventually close and that cities will need to diversify into different industries. For small cities of less than 50,000 people, one of the more effective strategies is to invest in raising the quality of life in your city to make it more attractive to new businesses and residents. Bringing in a diverse range of small firms might not provide as many new jobs as attracting one larger company. However, it can be to your advantage in the long run.


5) Good And Bad Policies Do Matter

Even though scholars have poured decades of research into understanding urban economics, Polèse admits that “econometric models rarely succeed in explaining more than half of cities’ variations in growth over time.” While it might be frustrating to know that there’s no model which can predict your city’s success with 100% accuracy, this can actually be a good thing.

There’s no way for these principles of urban economics to take into account how much of an impact local individuals, businesses, and politics can have on a city. A dynamic mayor, a forward-thinking entrepreneur, or savvy city planners can have an enormous impact on your city’s growth potential. With the right combination of people and opportunities, just about anything is possible.

On the other hand, it’s also easy for bad policies and change-resistant individuals to hold a city back from developing its economic potential. Poor government can undermine even the best advantages in location, technology, industry, and other key areas. Whatever the size of your city, good and bad policies in local government play a vital role in success.

In Conclusion

Navigating the world of urban economics is an enormous challenge for any city. And it can seem especially challenging for smaller communities. One way to take your city to the next level is by consulting with an economic development expert.

Here at Retail Attractions, we specialize in helping both small market communities and large cities grow to their full potential. Economic and retail development are key to growing any city, and we have extensive experience guiding cities through this process. We also offer consulting services related to municipal infrastructure, demographic data and market analysis, strategic planning, and much more. Contact us today to find out how we can help your city.

If you liked this article, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses issues that undermine foundational economic development efforts for cities. It also provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to order.

Here’s Why It’s So Important To Keep Municipal Infrastructure Up To Date, and What You Can Do To Make That Happen

Municipal infrastructure is the sort of thing most people take for granted until it stops working. Unless someone’s job involves working on this infrastructure, they only think about their town’s sewage system when the toilet won’t flush, or wonder about stormwater management when their basement floods.

If you’re involved in local government, though, can’t afford to forget about municipal infrastructure until it breaks down. It’s important that you keep this infrastructure up-to-date for both residents and local businesses.

That’s easier said than done, though. Funding shortages and other logistical concerns can keep cities from keeping their municipal infrastructure up to date. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get some help coming up with a workable solution?


People Are Counting On You

Residents in your community depend on you to provide reliable and affordable municipal services. Not only that, but businesses count on these services as well and you’ll have a hard time attracting new businesses if the municipal infrastructure can’t support retail expansion.

Streets, bridges, sewers, water pipes, treatment plants, transit systems, electricity grid, high-speed broadband, and cellular service are all vital to today’s cities. If you want a thriving community for the people and businesses who are counting on you, then you’ll need to invest in your infrastructure.

Challenges To Infrastructure Improvements

Your community isn’t the only one struggling to find ways to keep municipal infrastructure up to date. Cities across the United States need significant infrastructure improvements. In most cases, local governments don’t have the resources or the finances to pay for all the needed improvements. Getting state, federal, and private-sector funding is also a huge challenge.

Another challenge that faces communities is the need to increase understanding of how serious infrastructure problems really are. Cities also need to develop new, sustainable, and innovative methods of financing the infrastructure that residents need. In addition, you’ll want to develop a plan for updating and maintaining infrastructure in a way that makes sense logistically as well as financially.

How We Can Help

Retail Attractions provides general municipal consulting services for growing communities. We help clients with the development of:

  • Local or regional comprehensive plans
  • Water, stormwater and sewer master plans
  • Transportation/traffic flow master plans
  • Technology master plans
  • Zoning master plans
  • Parking, lighting, sign, and landscaping ordinances

We can also advise and assist city governments with annexation efforts. In addition, once a community has a plan for a healthy infrastructure, Retail Attractions can help entice retail development to your community. Just contact us today to get started.

If you liked this article, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses issues that undermine foundational economic development efforts for cities. It also provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to learn more and order a copy.

Want To Make Your City “Smart” Here’s What You Need To Know About How The Internet of Things Relates To Cities

You’ve heard of smartphones, but what about smart cities?

As we move into an increasingly digital future, we’re connecting more and more things to the internet. Want street lights to switch on-and-off at a certain time relative to sunset? Connect it to the internet. People having trouble knowing where to park? Connect parking meters to the internet and drivers can check which are available from their phone.

Connecting things like street lamps, parking meters, coffee makers, thermostats, security cameras, and many other devices creates what we call the Internet Of Things (IoT). In the future, anything that can be connected will be connected. And that includes cities just like yours.


Here’s What A “Smart City” Looks Like

Using the Internet of Things to create smart cities is still a relatively new concept. Many cities are already using it, though. And it’s a good bet that the trend of using IoT to improve the lives of people within cities will continue rapidly. Here are some of the many ways connecting city systems to the Internet of Things can look like:

Roadway sensors monitor conditions related to traffic congestion, weather, accidents, etc. Sensors can send messages to signs in the town and/or smartphone apps.

Smart parking meters show available spots on apps, which cuts down drive time for those working and shopping in your city.

Smart thermostats regulate heating and cooling to optimize energy usage in commercial buildings.

Water monitors streamline water quality assessments, detect leaks, and make it easier to manage water use.

Smart lampposts only brighten during specific lighting conditions or when pedestrians or vehicles approach.

A smart electricity grid analyzes energy use and adapts in order to deliver the optimal supply needed for each household.

Air pollution sensors and weather prediction monitors make it easier to monitor sustainability efforts.

Waste sensors in garbage bins monitor garbage levels and optimize routes for waste collection.

Smart emergency cameras help dispatcher determine severity of emergencies and find optimal routes to the locations.

Pros and Cons To Using The Internet Of Things

IoT allows for nearly endless connections to take place, and we don’t fully understand yet what the impact of those connections will be. It’s an exciting prospect to think of city systems working together to make things better for the people who live in the cities. But there are also some challenges and concerns.

Security is the biggest issue facing the Internet of Things. The more devices that are connected to the internet, the greater the potential that someone could hack into the system. There’s also the related issue of privacy and data security to consider. The issues don’t have easy answers, but they are something to keep in mind and continue discussing as you start to use IoT in your city.

Don’t Get Left Behind

The analyst firm Gartner estimates that by 2020 there will be over 26 billion connected devices making up the Internet of Things. That sounds like a lot, but other sources say that estimate is actually too low. Some even put the number at over 100 billion.

With so much of the world incorporating technology, you don’t want your city to miss-out. Here are Retail Attractions, we can help you navigate issues related to economic and retail development as your city becomes increasingly influenced by the IoT and other technology. Contact us today to learn how we can help your city.

If you found this article useful, then you’ll probably also like my books City On A Hill and The Devil’s In The Details. Click on the titles below to learn more.

City On A Hill: A Book About Cities and How to Make Them Better

– The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development.

What Challenges Do Restaurants Face In The New Year?

2019 is shaping up to be a challenging year for the restaurant industry. For many restaurants, last year was marked by weak customer traffic and stagnant sales. Rising food and labor costs, as well as changing customer demands, indicated this year isn’t going to be much easier.

It’s not all bad news, though. Restaurant stocks are doing better than the broader market. Plus, as President Trump’s tax cut starts to reach customers they’ll have more money to spend at restaurants.

Even though there’s some good news, you’ll still want to be ready for the struggles facing restaurants in the new year. Keep reading to learn about four big challenges restaurants should prepare for in the year ahead.


Optimizing Delivery and Packaging

More and more Americans want take-out options or food delivered right to their door. That means extra work and planning for restaurants. It can also involve costly technology investments.

Restaurants who want to offer delivery need a way to get food to customers quickly and without losing any of the quality. For some, this means investing in new product packaging to keep food warm but also well-ventilated so things like fries or pancakes don’t get soggy. For others, it means investing in more catering vans or partnering with a food delivery service like Uber Eats or GrubHub Inc.

Leveraging Customer Data

Online, take-out, and delivery orders result in a wealth of customer data. Leveraging this data is key to crafting marketing initiatives that bring customers back for more food.

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy for restaurants to access this data. Restaurants that partner with a third-party delivery service might find themselves in a battle with their delivery company over who owns this information. To get around this, Pizza Hut owner Yum! Brands Inc. invested in GrubHub last year so they have access to data from both their restaurants and the delivery service.

Dealing With Food Inflation

The time of cashing-in on inexpensive food ingredients may be drawing to a close. Bob Derrington, an analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, estimates that average food costs in 2019 could go up about 5.4 percent. There’s an especially good chance that beef, chicken, and cheese will be more expensive.

It’s tempting to raise prices to cover the increasing costs of food, but restaurants have to be careful of that too. Bob Goldin, a partner at food-service consultant Pentallect Inc, says that “Restaurant pricing is starting to be an inhibitor to the industry for growth.” You don’t want to lose money on your food, but you also don’t want to drive customers away with rising prices. It’s a difficult balance.

Working With Labor Inflation

Unemployment is low, which means restaurants have to work harder to attract employees. Higher wages, minimum-pay hikes, and investments in employee benefits all put added financial pressure on restaurants.

Some companies deal with the labor shortage by offering bonuses or freebies to attract workers. Others are making things easier for kitchen staff so they can get by with a smaller group of workers. The approach you take is going to depend on the specific demands of your restaurant.

If you found this article useful, then you might also like my books City On A Hill and The Devil’s In The Details. Click on the titles below to learn more.

Don’t Forget The Human Side of Economic Development

Economic development efforts tend to focus more on places than on people. Investing in projects such as a new stadium, casino, or convention center seems like the better long-term bet for a city. The ROI for encouraging residents to pursue higher education, for example, isn’t readily apparent. People that you invest in might move out of your city, but the local projects you build are going to stay here.

However, ideas surrounding economic development are starting to shift. More and more often, economic development strategies are starting to focus on people, technology, and economic activity that relies on ideas, knowledge, experience, and quality of life.

Thriving cities must find a balance. They need to focus on both place-based economic development and strategies that focus on people within the community. When you keep the human side of economic development in mind, the city and all its residents benefit.


The Importance Of Talented People

The education level of the population in your city is the single most important factor that shapes economic success. In fact, we can explain 60% of the variation in per capita incomes among metropolitan areas just by looking at what portion of the adult population has a four-year degree.

This means that if you want economic success, you need to attract talented, educated, and skilled people to your area. In order to do this, economic development efforts need to tackle issues like city livability and affordable housing. Things like upgrading sidewalks and sewage systems might not seem like a good way to develop your economy, but if those projects keep high-earning people in your city they’re well worth it.

A Need To Improve City Environment

Developing your city’s physical and business environment can go a long way toward creating a vibrant local economy. There’s a lot more to economic growth than simply building new projects. Site selection and development, improving municipal infrastructure, and other forms of strategic planning all have to play a role.

For example, retailers want to locate in cities where they’ll have an easier time connecting with their target customers. And that means your city needs to be a place where people want to live, work, and shop. Building diverse, interesting urban spaces that are friendly to walking and biking with convenient parking for those who drive is a key part of this.

How To Analyze Where You Are Now

It’s hard to take into consideration everything related to economic development when your city’s working on its own. Hiring a retail development expert gives you a huge advantage in finding a way to balance all the economic development needs of your city and population.

Here are Retail Attractions, we consult with cities on economic and retail development, municipal infrastructure, strategic planning, demographic data and market analysis, and much more. We’ll help you find the best way to grow your economy, attract new businesses, and fill the needs of our population. Simply contact us today to learn more.

If you liked this article, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses issues that undermine foundational economic development efforts for cities. It also provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to order.

The Most Important Factors In Retail Site Selection: Part Two

There are several important factors to consider when you’re making decisions about retail site selection. Choosing the right location for new retail expansion is key to success. Location, location, location…As such, it’s vital that you understand all the factors involved.

The better you understand these important factors, the more likely you are to have a successful development site. We talked about five key factors in Part One that will help you narrow-down which cities and towns can be good fits for your business. Today in Part Two we’ll talk about five more factors that can help you choose the best site to build.


Co-Tenant Quality

It’s vital that you consider the existing tenants surrounding a potential location for retail expansion. The neighboring businesses often have a profound effect on your success. You want to locate where surrounding tenants are drawing consumers already. The quality of the real estate around the site should be compatible with the use as well. Buildings with a lot of swag and national brands probably wouldn’t be a good co-tenant with a vape shop or a tattoo parlor.

Proximity to Competitors

Some would think that locating too close or adjacent to a competitor would not work. But it wouldn’t take you long to disprove that miss-conception. I was doing work for a national QSR looking at sites in an urban area and lo and behold every site they wanted to see already had a McDonalds near or on the opposing corner. This really excited the franchisee as he wanted to be as close the big boys as possible.

Traffic Counts

Getting information on traffic counts for any given location is pretty easy. Just make sure the counts you get are current. Every retailer wants the same thing, accessibility and visibility. The object is the more traffic the better, but consider access, and turning movements and ease of exiting your location back to the main traffic corridor. Lots of cities are designing boulevard style streets with medians and landscaping. Right in and right out only turning movements are a requirement in lots of urban and suburban settings. Just make sure the due diligence is done and all the issues are planned through.

Parking Availability

Customers don’t like having to park off site or pay for parking. If you build in a location without good parking, there’s a good chance some customers will decide your business isn’t worth the extra hassle. A well-maintained, convenient, and free parking area is a definite asset when you’re selecting a retail site. Most modern building codes require a certain number of parking spots per square foot of the building anyway. Mutual access and mutual parking agreements are also common. Study the essentials and avoid disappointment.


The last, but certainly not least, factor we’ll talk about is the economics of your retail site selection. When considering finances, take a look at the value each property you’re considering can offer. The price you’re paying to build, purchase or rent space definitely plays a role. You’ll also want to consider utilities costs and amount of maintenance you’ll be responsible for. If you want to be next to the big boys be prepared to pay.


If you liked this article on important factors in retail site selection, be sure to check out the other articles on And if you want any help with retail site selection, get in touch with us. We have extensive experience with helping retailers find the best possible locations for their next expansion.

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses glaring problems and issues that destroy foundational economic development efforts for cities and provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to order.

The Most Important Factors In Retail Site Selection: Part One

When you’re making decisions about retail site selection, there are several important factors to consider. Selecting the right location for new retail expansion is key to success. As such, it’s vital that you understand all the factors involved.

The better you understand these important factors, the more likely you are to make a good site selection. We’ll talk about five key factors in this blog post, and five more in Part Two.


Customer Demographics

To look at relevant customer demographics in a certain area you need to know what type of customers will frequent your business. In other words, What is your target demographic’s customer profile? Knowing this will let you determine whether or not the customer base in the area you’re looking at is large enough to support your business.

Once you know what your customer profile looks like you can take this factor into account in retail site selection. Take a look at median household income, average age, marital status, family size, education level, etc. in the location you’re considering. The better a location’s population matches your target demographics, the better this site will be for your business.

Customer Psychographics

Demographics are about who your buyer is. Psychographics tell you why they buy. It takes into account “your buyer’s habits, hobbies, spending habits and values” (from “How to Use Psychographics in Your Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide”).

Once you understand more about why your customers buy your products, you can make sure that you’re selecting a location that will appeal to them. For example, if most of your customers are health-conscious they’re more likely to find your store if you build near a gym than near fast-food restaurants.

Trade Area Population

You also need to look at how many people live in the area you’re considering for your next retail site. There has to be a large enough population in your trade area to support your business or there’s no point in building. You’ll also need to make sure that a high enough percentage of this population fits your customer demographic.

There’s more to defining an accurate trade area than just using concentric rings. You need to take into account population density, competing communities, natural barriers, traffic flow, accessibility, and other real-world factors.

Location Quality

If the trade area population matches your customer demographics and psychographics, then it’s time to start considering specific locations. You’ll want to look at how far each location is from residential areas and how visible it is from the road. Also, consider whether or not nearby businesses will draw-in customers who fit your profile.

You’ll also want to consider whether or not you’re going to plan for multi-location growth. If the trade area can only support one store or restaurant, then you’ll want a central location. But if the community, and your customer base, is growing you’ll want to plan ahead for the possibility of opening other locations in the future.

Location Access

People are far more likely to visit your business if it’s easy to get to. You want people who see your sign or look you up online to be able to find your business easily If it’s too hard to access, then there’s a good chance potential customers will give up on finding you.

An ideal location makes it easy to turn in from the nearby roads and get into the parking lot. It should also be easy to get out of the parking lot, and if there isn’t a traffic signal in place you’ll want to find out whether the community is willing to put one in.

If you liked this article on important factors in retail site selection, be sure to check out the other articles on And if you want any help with retail site selection, get in touch with us. We have extensive experience with helping retailers find the best possible locations for their next expansion.

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses glaring problems and issues that destroy foundational economic development efforts for cities and provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to order.

Is Your City Really Moving Toward Economic Development?

If I asked the question, “Does your city really want economic development?” you’d probably answer “yes.” It might even seem like a silly question. Doesn’t every city want to grow and develop their economy?

While most cities say they’d love to increase their revenue and develop their economy, in practice that doesn’t always seem to be the case. Cities often have trouble getting past the status quo. Here are three questions that can help you figure out why, and also help you start really moving toward economic development.


Why Resist Change?

In some cases, cities face problems that certain groups find it more profitable to complain about than to fix. To quote Aaron M. Renn, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, “economic struggle can be a cultural unifier in a community that people tacitly want to hold onto in order to preserve civic cohesion.”

Similarly, in The Economy of Cities, Jane Jacobs says, “Economic development, whenever and wherever it occurs, is profoundly subversive of the status quo.” When people are benefiting from the status quo, there will be groups that resist change even when that change could benefit the city as a whole.

What Happened?

There are a whole host of reasons a situation like this can develop. It often happens without anyone realizing what’s going on. In many cases, you’re just too close to the situation to realize why certain groups are resisting change.

Here’s just one example. If a city were to experience economic growth, there’s a good chance outside parties will become involved. One case of this is when cities enter a public-private partnership to finance retail development. But when you bring in outside players, the people currently in power can find some of their influence diluted. In this situation, keeping with the status quo seems like it would be in their best interests.

How Can You Get Past This?

Because resistance to economic development has so many nuances and is so hard for cities to recognize, bringing in an expert can be a big help. Consulting with an economic development expert is a great way for your city to get a fresh perspective on what could be blocking economic development. Contact Retail Attractions today to see how we can help.

If you liked this article, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses glaring problems and issues that destroy foundational economic development efforts for cities. This book also provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. Click here to order.

5 Key Steps In The Retail Site Selection Process

Selecting the right location to build is crucial when planning for retail expansion. The site selection process will be among the most important decisions you make, which means taking time to do things the right way is going to pay off big in the long run. Here are five key steps that will help you make the best retail site selection.


1) Analyze Data

It’s vitally important that you base your site selection on facts. To get those facts, you’ll have to analyze data related to customer demographics, trade areas, market needs, and other factors. When you’re doing this, keep in mind that concentric rings or drive times aren’t the best factors for determining who’s in your trade area. You’ll get much better data using a method that’s based on Reilly’s Law of Retail Gravitation. This is also what Retail Attractions uses.

2) Factor In Surrounding Retail

It’s not enough to know the data about customers in your trade area. You also have to consider other factors. For example, other businesses surrounding the location you’re considering can impact the kind of traffic that’s coming in. You want to be able to profit off cross-shopping traffic from neighboring retailers. You’ll also want to avoid markets that are already saturated with direct competitors.

3) Identify Optimal Sites

After figuring out which communities have a good trade area and aren’t saturated with competing retail, you can start to narrow your focus. Find out if the available sites can actually meet all your needs. Figure out traffic patterns and determine how easy it will be for customers to notice, find, and get to each location. Check out local regulations and site economics to find out if this is a profitable place to build.

4) Find A Retail-Friendly Community

Most communities would welcome an influx of retail, but the number that’s actually ready to work with retailers is much lower. Try to find a community that provides retail incentives and has the municipal infrastructure in place to support retail growth. Time-to-market (the time between acquiring a property and opening the store) directly impacts your bottom line. If a community can streamline compliance regulation and show that their transportation, water, sewage, and electrical infrastructure can handle new growth, they can easily jump to the top of your consideration list.

5) Get An Expert’s Advice

There’s a huge number of factors, including several we haven’t talked about in this post, that play a role in retail site selection. A retail expert can help keep track of all these factors, make sense of data, and ask the right questions during the site selection process. Click here to learn more about how Retail Attractions can help with site selection. If you have any questions or want to find the perfect retail site, just contact us. We hope to hear from you soon!

Where Do You Get Funding For Economic Development In Your City?

We all know economic development would be good for your city, but how are you going to pay for it? Finding the money to get started with growth and development is one of the biggest challenges many cities face.

Funding for economic development in your city can come from several different sources, and you might have access to more than one. Here are four funding sources that you should look into for financing development in your city.


Public-Private Partnerships

Public-private partnerships are one of the newest, and most popular, ways to fund economic development in your city. These partnerships let your city (the “public” side) and a private or corporate group share both the risks and rewards of economic development. You can get a lot more information about how to create successful Public-Private partnerships on my blog, so click here to read those articles.

City Funding

Funding for economic development is usually part of a city’s budget. It’s normal to set aside part of the general fund for things like business surveys, site visits, marketing campaigns, and redevelopment efforts. The city can also supply indirect funding by offering incentives to groups looking to build in your city and encouraging public-private partnerships.

State Funding

Many states have programs to support economic development. It’s important for your city officials to familiarize themselves with what sort of funding and incentives are available in your state. In some cases, states supply funds directly to a city. The state can also incentivize businesses to choose locations within the state for their next expansion site.

Federal Funding

Federal programs to support local economic development are available through several agencies. These include the Economic Development Administration (EDA), the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They can offer funding directly to cities and also provide tax breaks for companies building in your city.

Finding The Money

Retail and economic development is always a challenge. And it’s especially daunting when you try to tackle it on your own. Retail Attractions is here to help. We offer consulting services that will assist with all stages of economic development, including locating initial funding. Click here to contact us today and get started.

If you liked this article, be sure to pick up a copy of my new book The Devil’s In the Details: Things that Challenge City Government and the Language of Development. It addresses glaring problems and issues that destroy foundational economic development efforts for cities. It also provides guidelines for how to overcome those issues. You can order this book by clicking here.