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Archive for May, 2016

How Long Does Retail Development Take?

Successful retail deals require an abundant supply of patience. Even under optimal conditions, it can still take a long time for all the pieces to fall into place. Closing a retail deal that works for all parties often requires months of planning and negotiation, and it can take years for a community to realize their full retail development vision.

Months of Planning

Planning for retail development is a vital step, and it’s one that takes time. While trying to speed things up is tempting, you really don’t want to cut corners in the stage where you and the retailers work out a mutually beneficial partnership.

Take Enid, Oklahoma as an example. This is one of the towns where Retail Attractions is currently working. Talking about the retail deals going on in Enid, Rickey says, “We’re about to go to the International Council of Shopping Centers Convention in May … and we will be talking, out there, about 2017 retail deals. That’s the thing, the retailers that you’re seeing come … were deals that we’ve been working on for 24 to 36 months prior to you actually seeing them coming to town.”

The more complex a deal is, the longer it will take to work out. If you’re working with a consultant like Retail Attractions, we can be working on the deals for months before you have to sign contracts with the retailers. Without a consultant, your community will have to work all this out on your own.

Years in Development

Even with optimal conditions, it can still take several years after a deal is signed for the retail development to become a reality. When Rickey was working in Owasso, Oklahoma shortly after 2002, new retail was flooding the city and everything was perfect for retail growth. Even so, it took ten years to fully retail the market.

Rickey says, “One of the most frustrating parts of my work is the job of educating city councilors about how long it takes. When you see a new retail deal under construction somewhere, you can know without a doubt that, even with an accelerated effort and timeline, some poor soul has been working hard to make that deal a reality for at least a couple of years in most cases.”

Deadlines and expectations for project development need to remain realistic. Working with a qualified company like Retail Attractions helps move things along as smoothly as possible, but it’s still not going to happen overnight.

Speeding Things Up

While you don’t have much control over how quickly your retail partners are able to move forward with development, you can at least make sure nothing on your end slows the process down. You’re already on our blog, and that’s a great place to get started. Here, you can learn about ways to market your community, get information about retail development incentives, and find other information you need to know about holding up the public side of a retail development partnership.

Retail Attractions can also help you work through the planning process and development stage of retail growth in your city. We’ll be there to consult with you every step of the way. With our experience and contacts in the retail development industry, we already have a head-start in moving your community through a successful retail development project. Contact us today to talk with Rickey about your community project or get more details about how we can help you.

Create A Shared Vision Before Entering Partnerships

Vision is the starting point for all successful projects. When you’re developing a vision that will carry your community into a public/private partnership to support retail development and economic growth, it’s essential that the vision is shared. Investors don’t want to partner with a community that can’t agree on their goals.

City Development Expert

If your community can’t generate a cohesive vision before heading into public/private partnerships, then there’s a good chance your retail development goals are doomed to failure. Recognizing this gives you an opportunity to impress potential partners by creating a shared vision from the very beginning of your city’s plans for growth and expansion.

Include Everyone

Ideally, your vision will involve everyone who has a stake in the positive outcome of this potential partnership. This includes residents, property owners, homeowners associations, media outlets, colleges, hospitals, churches, and other stakeholders.

Make sure you don’t leave out people and groups that are initially opposed to the community’s proposed vision. Building consensus and addressing concerns is a key step in the process of vision-building if that vision is to be shared by the entire community.

Use Media

Get the media on your side early in the vision-building process. An alliance with local media outlets makes it easier to get your message out and cultivate transparency during the planning stages. Media will continue to play a key role in publicizing the vision and keeping it fresh in people’s minds after your community has decided on a final version of your vision plan.

Future Planning

City visions often include long-term plans that can span several local political administrations. This means that establishing a collective vision and creating community buy-in for the project is essential for sustaining the vision long-term.

As your community develops a shared vision, remember to keep the practical side of things in mind. A vision by itself isn’t enough – you also need a plan for implementing your vision. This is where you can really start focusing on what your community hopes to get out of a public/private partnership and what you can offer your investors.

Provide Clarity

Use public hearings, news releases, visioning exercises and other tools to keep stakeholder and area residents in the loop about the vision you’re developing. Make sure you specify the scale of projects included in the vision and let people know exactly what’s going to happen. A shared vision will start to collapse if people feel blindsided or misinformed.

Retail Attractions can assist with generating an honest assessment of your city’s strengths and weaknesses. We know what investors are looking for and can help you with demographic analysis and strategic planning you’ll need to create an implementable vision before entering into a partnership to foster economic development.