West 38th Avenue Marketing, Development and Activation Strategy
Client: Wheatridge, CO
Wheat Ridge is a small community on the outskirts of urban Denver, Colorado that boomed in growth mid-century. It had remained relatively suburban in nature until recent years when development and growth in Denver began pushing new investment into Wheat Ridge, particularly as young families looked to find affordable housing in the Denver metro area. As this new investment occurred, the community struggled to determine a future for its outdated commercial core on West 38th Avenue. Though zoning, planning and market studies had all been completed, the community was not in consensus on the fate of its heart. Through an intensive visioning process led by Centro Inc. that engaged hundreds of investors, residents and the opinions of residents from communities in the surrounding area, Wheat Ridge’s unique aspects were revealed, and then brought to life through the development of a powerful new brand that has been integrated into the physical environment and implemented in new marketing and communications, programming and events. Ridge at 38 is the new hotspot in the Denver metro area – and at the heart of it is a revitalized public realm on 38th avenue anchored by the “Green at 38th”, a reimagined green space heart of the corridor that hosts events and activities year round for locals and visitors alike.
Bond Park Master Plan
Client: Town of Estes Park, CO
Bond Park has played a vital role in Estes Park since the town was founded in the early 1900’s. The land was first designated as a “park” in 1908 and has since served as common open space; a school playground; a site for the post office, town hall, and library; and as the cultural heart of downtown Estes Park. The park is located in the center of Estes Park’s central business district, just west of Town Hall and is bounded by Estes Park’s primary commercial street.
The master plan project for Bond Park aimed to take a well-worn park that lacked a central focus and a design, and given it a refreshed design that could accommodate not only casual use through every season, but also become a central spot to host year-round events and activities.
Centro led on the engagement process to develop a master plan for Bond Park, which relied on a level of public involvement that had not previously been seen in the community. The resulting master plan not only delivered a new design for the park, but also considered how events could be accommodated year-round as well. As a main centerpiece, accommodations were made for a winter ice rink for the Estes Park community. Centro led the engagement process and ultimately provided recommendations on year-round activation strategies, costs of implementation, and how both redesign and ongoing programming could be funded. Construction on the park was completed on 2012, and it has since seen significant increases in use an enjoyment by locals and visitors alike.
Downtown Longmont Alley Redevelopment and Activation Plan
Client: City of Longmont, CO
The redevelopment of city alleyways into pedestrian-friendly destinations and “backdoor” environments for retail streets is a relatively recent trend in many American cities as communities look to capitalize on underutilized city spaces to enhance the public realm environment. The City of Longmont, in association with the Longmont Downtown Development Authority (LDDA) saw renovation of their downtown alleys as a way to further develop multi-modal transportation and provide new business opportunities for downtown properties.
In the core of downtown Longmont, the majority of the parking areas are located in the blocks east and west of Main Street – often making the back door the first impression visitors have as they walk through the alleys and breezeways to reach Main Street. Previously, the alleys existed as utilitarian corridors with overhead electric lines, visible trash receptacles and access for delivery vehicles. These areas were creating an inadvertent barrier for customers to reach Main Street as well as the cross-neighborhood pedestrian traffic.
To address these issues the City of Longmont and the LDDA undertook a project with Centro to improve the downtown alleys. This project focused on the six alley segments located between 3rd Avenue and 6th Avenue on either side of Main Street and addressed drainage issues, utilities, alley pavement within the 20 feet wide alley right-of-way, trash enclosures and creating a sense of place and identity for Downtown. Centro led on the stakeholder engagement and on identifying highest and best uses of the alleys and how to incentivize private businesses to utilize the alleys once redeveloped.
In 2012, demolition and construction began on the East side of Main Street. Enhancements included utility line burrial, additional light poles, ornamental pavers with increased drainage capacity as well as construction of common trash enclosures. Parking lots were also upgraded throughout the process. Construction on the west side will begin early 2015. The LDDA has already begun to see a catalyst effect of the project, as many property owners have improved their alley entrances.
A National Framework for Place Management and BIDs in Singapore (2010 to 2012)
Client: Lin Yanling, Senior Place Manager Place Management Department
Having seen the exponential growth of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and other public/private models of place management for urban areas that has occurred in North America and Europe over the past 10E20 years, the Singaporean government began exploring with interest how they could bring these models to Asia. In 2010, the national government released a call for proposals to work with them for 18 months to establish the first place management initiative in Singapore and to write national legislation to allow for the creation of BIDs. Centro Inc. partnered with a UK-based place management firm, and was awarded the contract in November 2010. As we near the end of the consultancy, we are proud to have formed the first public/private sector working group to focus on place management in Singapore. We have also recently finalized a strategic plan for the Singapore River area of the city, and have created new service delivery structures that leverage public and private sector resources. We are also currently forming the structure for new BID legislation, which will go into formal legislative review and establishment in summer 2012. Working in Singapore has required extensive research on Singapore and Asian economic and trade markets, taxing structures and schemes, and investment strategies by stakeholders in the study areas. We have undertaken significant international research to explore a variety of different special district taxation and place management models to ensure a well-thought out approach for Singapore that fits uniquely into their national context.
A New Approach to Supporting Denver’s Arts District (2011/2012)
Arts + Venues Denver commissioned Centro Inc. to facilitate discussions and outreach with the City of Denver’s eight selfEdesignated art districts in an effort to understand how the City could better support the growth and development of arts districts, and how it could facilitate stronger collaborative relationships amongst the districts. Specifically, this work aimed to:
- Engage the existing self-designated arts districts in a new way and provide learning opportunities and sharing of experiences between districts
- Explore models and best practices for arts district development nationwide to inspire Denver’s arts districts
- Identify shared and district-specific needs
- Identify areas for greater partnership with City agencies, quasi-governmental organizations and other relevant partners, where applicable
- Identify services/programs the City of Denver is uniquely capable of providing that compliment existing district-led efforts
- Identify future opportunities to help expand the work and influence of the arts districts
- Provide recommendations on a way forward to future planning and engagement with arts districts
The engagement included focus groups, surveys, and research with each of the eight arts districts and discussions with City of Denver staff and leadership about tools, programs and resources to help support arts district development and growth, along with the identification of outside partners that could bring knowledge and resources to bear. The work culminated in the City of Denver’s first Arts District Summit held in November 2011 with more than 100 arts district stakeholders, City staff and leaders to discuss how best to advance the establishment of arts district and how to utilize art as a catalyst for economic development in neighborhoods. Implementation has begun and additional funding is currently being sought to implement these recommendations.
Downtown Framework Study: Sheyenne Street and Main Avenue Corridors (2010/2011)
Client: Joe Nigg, Community Development Planner Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments 701.232.3242 email@example.com
Funded by a federal grant, the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council of Governments secured the assistance of Centro Inc. to develop a comprehensive framework analysis and report for the downtown West Fargo area of the metropolitan region, which sits at the crossroads of two major transit corridors. This study aimed to identify the revitalization and redevelopment potential of the area by exploring niche and positioning strategies, economic conditions, transportation and land use capacity and retail market gaps and opportunities through extensive market research and stakeholder outreach. The primary goal of the study was to define growth potential and what the future character of that development might be to ensure economic competitiveness and continued vitality and vibrancy for the community and region. Utilizing a comprehensive team of select consulting professionals, Centro Inc. developed a growth strategy for the study area that defines a unique niche, retail and commercial growth opportunities, land use and density improvements, and the utilization of public sector incentives (e.g. TIF, tax abatements, parcel assembly) and private sector investment models (e.g. BIDs, CDCs, etc.) to revitalize an area that has seen little growth in the last 10-20 years.
Framework for the Future: A Stronger Public/Private Partnership for the Loop (2010/2011)
Working closely with the staff and leadership of the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA), as well as staff and leaders from the City of Chicago, Centro Inc. was engaged to develop a framework strategy for the future of the Chicago Loop Alliance organization to help inform and guide public and private sector leaders on the opportunities, challenges and existing needs downtown during the transition in mayoral leadership. In developing the framework report, Centro worked with CLA to define the potential roles and responsibilities of the public and private sectors in future downtown development and identified the positioning of the organization to operate in the new mayoral administration. Both public and private sector stakeholders were engaged to identify the economic, organizational and service implications of establishing a downtown special district, and the structures of BIDs in multiple other comparable cities were examined and explored.
Gateway to LA Airport Business District: Entertainment/Retail Research Study (2009)
Client: Laurie Hughes, Executive Director Gateway to LA Airport Business District 310.216.7328 firstname.lastname@example.org
Centro Inc. was engaged via partnering San JoseEbased consulting firm Downtown Visions Inc. to conduct an analysis of the potential for locating a new retail entertainment venue in the Gateway to LA Airport Business District. This district – a BID that encompasses LAX Airport and the surrounding commercial area – has grown as a competitive destination for surrounding communities and LA visitors. The District’s leadership and staff sought assistance from Centro in creating a competitive case for recruiting and generating new entertainment and retail uses in the district. The report looked at other major ‘airport districts’ as well as competitive districts in the adjacent LA market to determine the competitive potential for locating the desired venue in the airport district. The report provided policymakers, lenders, and developers with the necessary information for making decisions on the viability of this potential investment and illuminated the advantages of leveraging the district as an economic engine for the region.
This beautiful mountain community boasts a small population, but it makes up for numbers with big character. In the summer of 2009 the Town of Lyons jumpstarted a process to develop a comprehensive strategy for marketing the community. The goal? Get visitors to stop and experience Lyons, get locals to support and embrace it, and invite entrepreneurs to adopt the community as their new home for business.
Lyons, as a neighbor to Estes Park and the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, boasts millions of drive-through visitors per year. And thanks to its extraordinary natural offerings, the community welcomes hundreds of thousands of fly-fishers, kayakers, hikers, bikers and other outdoor enthusiasts annually. The small town is also home to one of the biggest bluegrass festivals in the country, not to mention the strength of the burgeoning arts community.
The resulting marketing strategy – which had to be implemented on a shoestring budget –provides for the implementation of a grass-roots and social media campaign that celebrates the diverse, creative nature of the community by letting them “tell the Lyons story.”