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8th Annual Downtown Issue 2012/2013

Downtown by the Numbers The Revival of North Palafox Street Downtown’s Destination Park and Amphitheater Palafox and Main: The Southern Gateway to Downtown Offshore Inland: Making the Most of Our Local Resources Downtown’s New Wheels: Changing Modes of Transportation

Blue Wahoos:

A Homerun for Downtown

$3.95 PRSRT STD U.S. Postage Paid Permit #447 Pensacola, FL

www.nwflbusinessclimate.com


from the

publisher’ s pen

Here in Pensacola, we’ve spent the last several years watching a renaissance take place in the very heart of the city: Downtown. As the owner of a business based in Downtown Pensacola, I’ve seen and experienced firsthand the positive turn the area has taken, and the Malcolm Ballinger snowball effect of growth has even further accelerated this last year. Publisher Downtown has enjoyed growth that has outstripped that of both the region and the nation, which is especially significant in the sometimes shaky recovery from the recent recession. A flurry of new businesses, residents and events in Downtown have added up to greater quality of life as well as revenue for the citizens of this area. I am pleased to introduce our Eighth Annual Downtown Issue of NWFL’s Business Climate magazine. It seems there’s so much to say about the continually burgeoning district that it’s difficult to fit it all on these pages. Nonetheless, in this edition we bring you many highlights from developments of the last year. Perhaps the most anxiously anticipated improvement has been the opening of the Vince J. Whibbs Sr. Community Maritime Park and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos Baseball Stadium. The park has quickly become the jewel of the waterfront, hosting a bevy of events on top of the extremely successful inaugural season for the Wahoos. Take a look at our articles about the community minded baseball team, Reader’s Services as well as the beautiful multiuse amphitheater overlooking the bay. Speaking of Subscriptions local sports teams, we’ve also got a piece on the Pensacola Ice Flyers. The ice If you have questions about your hockey team has offered fans a great source of local pride and the team climbed subscriptions, call Kassie McLean at (850) 433-1166 ext. 30 or email to the championships last year. With a brand new head coach and logo, there’s info@ballingerpublishing.com. much more to come for this season. Gift Certificates Besides making the community a picturesque place to enjoy great views, the NW FL’s Business Climate Magazine waterfront offers an amazing asset that has only recently begun to reach its makes a great gift! Contact Malcolm Ballinger at (850)433-1166 ext. 27 or potential. Take a look at Dennis McKay’s article about the recent developments at info@ballingerpublishing.com to arrange the port, which are greatly benefiting the Downtown area. For families living in and a gift certificate for your friend, business associate or loved one. visiting the area, this summer brought two new fun and educational museums directed at families with children. See our article on the children’s museums that Back Issues Is there an issue of one of our now call this area home for more. magazines that you just have to have? While Palafox had its initial growth spurt over the last several years, the success Were you featured in a recent issue? Give us a call at 850-433-1166 ext. 30. is now blossoming in all directions. We’ve got articles on the year’s new additions Back Issues are $5.00/issue. to North Palafox, as well as the intersection of Palafox and Main Street, where an Letters explosion of activity has driven yet more development. We welcome your letters and comments. For the overall picture, we’ve got Kim Kimbrough’s “By the Numbers” article. Send letters to Ballinger Publishing P.O. Box 12665 Pensacola, FL 32591, or This will be Kim’s last Downtown Issue of Business Climate, as he has left this post contact specific staff members under the for opportunities elsewhere. We would like to thank him for all he’s done and the “Contact us: Staff info” link on www.ballingerpublishing.com. part he played in Downtown’s resurgence, and we wish him well in all his future endeavors. Change of Address When calling or emailing us your change On a more personal note, I will very much miss Kim as both a colleague and of address, please provide us with both friend, who has always been nearby to offer advice or to discuss ideas. In fact, it the old and new addresses to expedite the change. was Kim who initially spearheaded the Downtown issue of Business Climate back in 2005, and I know he’s pleased to see just how far Downtown has come since then. Writing Opportunities

We are always willing to consider freelance writers and article ideas. Please send queries and/or suggestions to Kelly Oden, executive editor, at kelly@ballingerpublishing.com, or care of Kelly to the above postal address.

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> Eighth Annual Downtown Business Climate Issue

2012/2013


t h i s i ss u e

2012/2013

>I n s i d e

12. Downtown by the Numbers The transformation and growth that has occurred in Downtown Pensacola during the last several years has outpaced the region and the state during the same time periods. The numbers and statistics so far from 2012 are only adding to this positive trend. By Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough

22.

15. Palafox and Main: The Southern Gateway to Downtown Pensacola A longstanding hotspot for vehicular traffic, the corner of Palafox and Main is fast becoming one of the top pedestrian traffic intersections as well. By Kelly Oden

19. Making Connections: The Proposed Pensacola Bay Ferry For decades there has been talk of a Pensacola Bay ferry system that would connect Pensacola Beach, Downtown Pensacola and Fort Pickens, but due to funding issues in the midst of the great recession, the proposal to activate this innovative water transportation system has fallen on hard times. However, discussion about this project has recently resumed and people are getting excited that funding could be found within the next couple of years. By Christienne Cloutier

22. Downtown’s New Wheels: Changing Modes of Transportation As with many growing urban centers throughout the nation, the use of alternative modes of transportation are fast becoming more and more popular. By Emily Lullo

33.

25. Children’s Museums in Downtown Pensacola For Pensacola families or visitors with children looking for some relief for bored kids, the summer of 2012 brought some much-needed options with the opening of both the Pensacola Children’s Museum and the MESS Hall. By Emily Lullo

29. The Revival of North Palafox Street Walking along the three blocks of N. Palafox Street between Garden Street and Wright Street in the heart of the Downtown core produces a totally different experience today than it did in early 2011. If one remembers what such a stroll was like more than 18 months ago, it’s easy to notice the increased activity all seven days each week. By Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough

33. Downtown’s Destination Park and Amphitheater What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Pensacola residents were eagerly awaiting the opening of the Community Maritime Park and the new double A baseball stadium. One of the best parts of the new park is the stunning Hunter Amphitheater located just behind the stadium and right on the bayfront. By Kelly Oden

41.

36. Ice Flyers Return to PensacolaWith a Vengeance As the weather grows chillier and the nights come sooner, ‘tis the season again for the time-honored tradition of attending a good old fashioned, competitive, rough-n’tumble hockey game, courtesy of the Pensacola Ice Flyers. By Josh Newby

38. Offshore Inland: Making the Most of Our Local Resources The Maritime Park and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos aren’t the only exciting, new things happening in Downtown Pensacola that are contributing to local economic success. Downtown restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues are continuing to thrive despite the state of the nation’s and the region’s economies. Part of that continued success might just come from an unexpected, new source: the offshore oil services industry. By Dennis McKay

41. Blue Wahoos: A Homerun for Downtown The final bases have been run and the last pitches thrown for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos’ inaugural season, but the positive Downtown impact of the team and the support from the community is only just beginning. By Josh Newby

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> Eighth Annual Downtown Business Climate Issue

2012/2013

Cover photo by Brian Pierce


2012/2013 P UBLISHER M A L C O L M B A L L I N G E R

malcolm@ballingerpublishing.com E DITOR K E L LY O D E N

kelly@ballingerpublishing.com A RT D IRECTOR R I TA L AY M O N

rita@ballingerpublishing.com G RAPHIC K A S S I E M C L E A N D ESIGNER & kassie@ballingerpublishing.com A DVERTISING C OORDINATOR C OPY E DITOR E M I LY L U L L O

emily@ballingerpublishing.com E DITORIAL J O S H N E W BY A SSISTANT josh@ballingerpublishing.com E DITORIAL C H R I S T I E N N E C L O U T I E R I NTERN christienne@ballingerpublishing.com G RAPHIC A RT K AT H R Y N E Y A N C E I NTERN kathryne@ballingerpublishing.com S ALES & SHARYON MILLER, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXT. 28 M ARKETING sharyon@ballingerpublishing.com CAROLINE MARTIN, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXT. 31 caroline@ballingerpublishing.com C ONTRIBUTING F R A N K L I N D . “ K I M ” K I M B R O U G H W RITERS D E N N I S M C K AY

O WNERS M A L C O L M & G L E N Y S B A L L I N G E R P UBLISHER M A L C O L M B A L L I N G E R

malcolm@ballingerpublishing.com E XECUTIVE K E L LY O D E N E DITOR kelly@ballingerpublishing.com A RT D IRECTOR R I TA L AY M O N

rita@ballingerpublishing.com G RAPHIC K A S S I E M C L E A N D ESIGNER & kassie@ballingerpublishing.com A DVERTISING C OORDINATOR E DITOR E M I LY L U L L O

emily@ballingerpublishing.com

E DITORIAL J O S H N E W BY A SSISTANT josh@ballingerpublishing.com S ALES & SHARYON MILLER, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXT. 28 M ARKETING sharyon@ballingerpublishing.com CAROLINE MARTIN, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXT. 31 caroline@ballingerpublishing.com SIMONE SANDS, ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE EXT. 21 simone@ballingerpublishing.com W EBSITE

W W W. B A L L I N G E R P U B L I S H I N G . C O M

E DITORIAL 41 NORTH JEFFERSON STREET, SUITE 402 O FFICES PENSACOLA, FLORIDA 32502 850-433-1166 • FAX 850-435-9174

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NW Florida’s Business Climate Magazine and Pensacola Magazine is locally owned and operated. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction or use of the contents herein is prohibited without written permission from the publisher. Comments and opinions expressed in this magazine represent the personal views of the individuals to whom they are attributed and/or the person identified as the author of the article, and they are not necessarily those of the publisher. This magazine accepts no responsibility for these opinions. The publisher reserves the right to edit all manuscripts. All advertising information is the responsibility of the individual advertiser. Appearance in this magazine does not necessarily reflect endorsement of any products or services by Ballinger Publishing. © 2012

Subscription Expiration Date is printed on the address label. Renew your subscription now online at www.ballingerpublishing.com: One year $14.95 and two years $22.75.

2012/2013

nwflbusinessclimate.com <

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> Eighth Annual Downtown Business Climate Issue

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Promotional Feature

2012/2013

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Downtown by the Numbers By Franklin D. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kimâ&#x20AC;? Kimbrough

The transformation and growth that has occurred in Downtown Pensacola during the last several years has outpaced the region and the state during the same time periods. The numbers and statistics so far from 2012 are only adding to this positive trend. 12

> Eighth Annual Downtown Business Climate Issue

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Residential Living Downtown has posted a seventh consecutive year of increased or stable residential occupancy. With 1,294 total residential dwelling units Downtown, 1,212 are now occupied. That translates to a 94 percent residential occupancy rate – up from 92 percent just last year. Sixtythree percent of these residents own their Downtown home. The average household size has increased for the fourth year in a row to 1.89. The total number of Downtown residents is up 84 (or 3.8 percent) from 2011. Downtown is now home to 2,290 residents. The gender distribution of Downtown residents has remained unchanged from 2011 with 43 percent being male and 57 percent female. Downtown residents are continuing the trend started several years ago by again posting a higher average age. Sixty-six percent of Downtown residents are now over the age of 50. Only 14 percent of Downtown households have children under the age of 18 in them – down from 15 percent in 2011. The most common household configuration was spouses or partners living together (45 percent). The percentage of Downtown residents living alone declined again to 33 percent - extending a three-year trend. Educational attainment for Downtown residents continues to be higher than the entire city, the county, or the region as a whole. Forty-three percent of Downtown residents now have at least a college degree while 28 percent possess at least one advanced degree. Average household incomes in Downtown have also grown again in 2012. Sixty percent of Downtown households now have combined household incomes above $60,000 – up from 58 percent just last year. Thirtyseven percent of all Downtown households now have combined household incomes in excess of $100,000 – also up from 35 percent in 2011. More people living Downtown now classify themselves as retired than in prior years and halt a three-year trend of fewer retirees living Downtown. Thirty-seven percent of Downtown residents now fall into this category. Of the Downtown residents still in or desiring to be in the workforce, only eight percent are unemployed. The top four fields of employment for Downtown residents include General Business, Government/Non-Profits, Education, and Medical. Forty percent of all Downtown residents also work in the Downtown – up from 38 percent in 2011 and breaking a four-year downward trend. Another really interesting statistic about where Downtown residents work can be seen in the finding that eight percent work primarily in a location outside of Florida or Alabama. This discovery continues a growing four-year trend among Downtown residents. Downtown residents tend to overwhelmingly like living Downtown. Only five percent have lived Downtown for less than one year. The chief factors identified by Downtown residents for why they live Downtown are: 1.) central location/convenience; 2.) the ability to walk where they want to go; 3.) the abundance of cultural offerings in the Downtown; and 4.) the variety of restaurants and nightlife near where they live.

Business & Job Growth would again be the most descriptive word for the experiences of 2012 with regards to business and employment throughout Downtown Pensacola. Downtown has again come out of the Great Recession with more vigor than the region or the state as a whole. During 2012, Downtown experienced a net gain of 37 new businesses opening their doors. This positive experience continues a seven-year trend that has 175 net additional businesses operating in Downtown today than it did at the same time in 2005. The industries leading the way for this unprecedented growth include: a.) professional, scientific, and technical services; b.) health care and social services; and c.) accommodations and food services. A majority of existing Downtown businesses also saw the health of their business improve during the last year. Also in 2012, for the first time since 2007 more than a majority of businesses reported positive results. Just as encouraging was the fact that only 12 percent experienced a decline in business vitality – again similar to the experience of 2007. As a result of such positive experiences during 2012, 31 percent of existing Downtown businesses have plans for expansion during 2013 that includes either additional employees or space or both. Employment numbers for 2012 are just as rosy. Downtown firms and new businesses combined to record a net gain of 429 jobs in the Downtown during the past year. Downtown Pensacola is now daily home to 10,126 jobs – making it the largest employment center in the region. While the overall number of jobs continued to improve Downtown, the size of businesses that were creating the jobs remained relatively small. Four hundred eighty-four businesses (out of a total of 661) have less than ten employees. Females continue to account for the largest percentage of the Downtown workforce (53 percent). The average age of the Downtown workforce remained unchanged from 2011. Sixty-four percent of the Downtown workforce is under the age of 46. Employees are changing the way that they get to and from work. Twice as many employees walk to work today as did this time last year. Likewise, three times as many now ride their bicycles to and from work. Carpooling is also up. Unfortunately, those riding the bus to work Downtown fell by 50 percent from 2011. The total number of employees driving to work alone remained unchanged at 89 percent. Correspondingly, 63 percent of Downtown business owners and employees now conclude that parking is easier and more abundant than it was just three years ago. Downtown Pensacola has not enjoyed the type of sustained economic development advances that it is experiencing today since the late 1950s. Barring some catastrophic or unforeseen event or the complete reversal of current Downtown management practices, 2013 should again be one for the record books. More detailed information and graphs of the findings from the 2012 Downtown Residential Census and the 2012 Downtown Business Census can be found at www.Downtownpensacola.com. 2012/2013

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Palafox and Main: The Southern Gateway to Downtown Pensacola

By Kelly Oden

Photo by Kassie McLean A longstanding hotspot for vehicular traffic, the corner of Palafox and Main is fast becoming one of the top pedestrian traffic intersections as well. The long-awaited opening of the Community Maritime Park and stadium has spurred growth along the southern corridor of Downtown. And now that the park, the stadium and all of the Main Street enhancements that go with it are here, property owners, developers, businesses and retailers of this corridor are reinventing the Downtown gateway with progressive and decidedly urban ideas by breathing new life into historic buildings, creating jobs and adding distinctive concepts for dining and shopping. "It makes a lot of sense for that intersection to be the main entrance to Downtown," says Michael Carro, managing partner of the planned outdoor dining concept, Al Fresco. "I look at that intersection to be the gateway for people coming from Pensacola Beach. There are three significant tourist attractions in Pensacola that you would have to go through this intersection to get to. One is the Navy base with the museum and lighthouse. Another is Joe Patti's, which is a significant tourist attraction. Now of course, there is also the Community Maritime Park. Many of our visitors coming from other areas want to do non-beach activities at least one of

their days and so we believe that when you come across the three mile bridge, you will come through this intersection and this will speak to tourists about our Downtown area. They will drive by Al Fresco and the Bodacious Olive and the other planned projects. So, we think there is an amazing opportunity to focus on that tourist, but we also see opportunity in terms of walkability for the Downtown workers. If you look at a two-block radius from Palafox and Main, it encompasses a large portion of our Downtown employees. We're creating five food options that we believe will bring people to this area." Franklin D. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Kimâ&#x20AC;? Kimbrough, former executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board agrees, saying, "Palafox and Main is the second busiest intersection Downtown--only behind Garden and Palafox. The traffic counts on that intersection have been going up consistently for three, maybe four years. From a vehicular standpoint, Main has been steadily gaining ground. Interestingly enough, last year and the year before, we had a significant increase in the pedestrian traffic. We fully expect when we do the vehicular and pedestrian counts again this November that it will be significantly higher because of the increase in activity." 2012/2013

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The Al Fresco Concept

There is no denying that part of this area's growth is due to its proximity to the new Maritime Park, but the general renaissance in Downtown in recent years can't be overlooked. Kimbrough sees this as a natural extension of the growth and evolution of Downtown, saying, "It's a natural progression of the development pressures that are occurring on South Palafox. If you think about it, there is precious little [property] that is still available from Garden to Government. That's why you've seen Garden to Zaragosa fill in and that's why you're now seeing Zaragosa to Main be developed." Andrew Rothfeder, a partner in the rehabilitation of the eastern Penko building, sees the area as taking on a particular aesthetic, saying, "What this end of the street is becoming is a higher end retail hub. You've got Don Alan's, Scout, Tip McAlpin's design, Carmen's Lunch Bar, The Bodacious Olive, a new coffee shop and of course Jackson's across the street. So all that critical mass is telling people that this is becoming a kind of synergistic hub for higher-end retail. The theory is that you get all of these people who have similar customers collecting in one place and then everyone benefits, kind of like the mall theory or the car city theory."

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Here's a look at what's happening now and what's on the horizon for this growing intersection. The Western Penko Building (Northwest Corner) There's no doubt that the recent renovation of the western Penko building by Quint and Rishy Studer helped spark the revival of this long forgotten corner. Many Pensacolians and historians were thrilled that the couple took on the task of renovating that iconic Pensacola landmark. Locals were even more thrilled when they learned the plans for this newly rehabbed space. Rishy's olive oil and vinegar emporium, The Bodacious Olive, has quickly drawn crowds of foodies to its inviting and artistic storefront. Whether tasting the dozens of oil and vinegar offerings, grabbing a fresh loaf of bread or homemade pasta or stopping by for a cooking class, people are flocking to the epicurean market on the southern end of Palafox. And there's more to come. The long awaited Carmen's Lunch Bar opened in October. Mari Josephs and her concept for Carmen's won the Studers' 2012 Pensacola Business Challenge. The Challenge asked for business plans for the approximately 800 square foot storefront and offered


the winner substantially reduced rent and $25,000 in build out and equipment costs. Rishy also plans a coffee shop for the center space. The Eastern Penko Building (Northeast Corner) Soon after completing the bulk of the renovations on the western Penko building, the Studers' and Rothfeder announced they were buying the eastern twin as well. Still in the early design phase, plans call for unique high-end retail storefronts on the ground floor with three high-end condos on the second story. One very unique feature of the residential portion of this project will be the gated, indoor parking space at the rear of the building. The Al Fresco Concept (Southwest Corner) With plans to open by the end of the year, Al Fresco is set to bring the gourmet food truck experience to Pensacola with an outdoor food court that will consist of four Airstream restaurants. The airstreams will be independently run and offer an array of cuisines. Currently slotted are Jerry's Cajun cafe, a Mexican/taco truck, and a gourmet grilled cheese truck. The fourth is still being determined. Plans call for a sophisticated oasis with 14 fully mature palm trees--about 16-18 feet tall--and a variety of greenery in custom planters by local metal artist Ben Bogan. Al Fresco will offer indoor restrooms and will be available for small private events and receptions. A new restaurant is also being planned for the former Trader Johns building, but the concept has not yet been made public.

storefront on Wright Street. Also recently opened is interior designer Tip McAlpin's design store, McAlpin Interiors. Meanwhile, the vibe stretches south to a handful of venues that have kept traffic moving even before the rebirth of the intersection. New World Landing's inn and reception hall offers a gorgeous setting for weddings, while 511's reception hall hosts a variety of private and community events. The ambient dining at Jaco's on the Bay, along with their monthly art nights, bring people farther south and directly onto the bay. There's no that doubt Downtown has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, and when complete, this natural Southern gateway at Palafox and Main will serve as a shining example of just how far we've come.

First Navy Bank (Southeast Corner) Although still in the early planning stages, initial plans call for a mixed-use building with the financial institution on the ground floor and residential space on the upper stories. Although no architectural plans have been finalized, initial reports described a unique edifice in keeping with the history of area. Up the block and farther south While the four corners serve as anchors for this burgeoning intersection, interior shops that line the block to the north only add to the area's allure. Early believers in the neighborhood include Don Alan's Menswear and Jackson's Steakhouse, who have anchored the northern corners since 2001 and 1998, respectively. The high-end women's fashion boutique, Scout, recently relocated to Palafox from its longtime 2012/2013

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Making Connections: The Proposed Pensacola Bay Ferry By Christienne Cloutier

Example of possible routes

Ferry Boat Travel Time between Destinations

Trip Downtown to Fort Pickens Downtown to Quietwater Quietwater to Fort Pickens

Distance (nautical miles) 6.5 8.0 8.8

Trip Time at 12 knots cruising speed 34 minutes 43 minutes 49 minutes

Trip Time at 20 knots cruising speed 23 minutes 29 minutes 34 minutes

Note: Excludes passenger loading and unloading times

Known for its white sandy beaches and emerald coast, bustling artsy Downtown, and flourishing sea life, Pensacola can be quite a place to explore. A community surrounded by such aquatic beauty warrants a nautical transportation system for the public to enjoy all the sights this great city has to offer. For decades there has been talk of a Pensacola Bay ferry system that would connect Pensacola Beach, Downtown Pensacola and Fort Pickens, but due to funding issues in the midst of the great recession, the proposal to activate this innovative water transportation system has fallen on hard times. However, discussion about this project has recently resumed and people are getting excited that funding could be found within the next couple of years. 2012/2013

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In 2000, the Pensacola Metropolitan Planning Organization published a study on the feasibility of a passenger ferry service within Pensacola Bay conducted by Bourne Consulting Engineering. The purpose of the Fort Pickens/Gateway Community Alternative Transportation Study was to determine if there is sufficient ridership to offset the cost of providing waterborne transportation within Pensacola Bay. The study focused on the communities of Pensacola, Gulf Breeze, and Pensacola Beach, as well as the Naval Air Station (NAS) and the Fort Pickens Area. The study concluded that a ferry service would be feasible and recommended a ferry operation during the high season with two 149passenger catamarans operating between four stops: Downtown Pensacola, NAS, Pensacola Beach, and Fort Pickens. Service to NAS is excluded due to changes that have occurred since September 11, 2001. Not only are there increased security and staffing concerns, but the NAS landing area assumed in 2000 is now used for other purposes. Other than this alternate transportation system saving locals gas money, it would also serve as entertainment for tourists and other community members. Ferry service in Pensacola Bay offers a recreational experience that visitors to the area are not currently able to enjoy. The unique experience of the ferry service, a comfortable means of exploring the open water and the potential of dolphin watching, can encourage new visitors to the area to see all that Pensacola has to offer: sun and sand, history, the arts, and lots of local color. “I can’t wait,” says Santa Rosa Island Authority executive director, Buck Lee. “We have so many people that have never been out on a boat or have seen porpoises swim. They will get the opportunity if the system is built.” The alternative transportation systems identified in the Transportation Study are intended to provide public access to the Fort Pickens Area during times of road closure, reduce motor vehicle use, provide a more environmentally sustainable means of access along this section of the Seashore, reduce impacts on


threatened and endangered species, enhance visitor safety, reduce emissions in the Seashore and air shed, and interface, and support other alternative transportation systems and activity centers in the area. According to Buck Lee, two piers for the ferry have already been completed in Fort Pickens and Pensacola Beach, but the city of Pensacola is still looking into building a pier Downtown. “I think this would be great for our city,” says former executive director of the Downtown Improvement Board, Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough. “It would be a huge boost to downtown because it will allow visitors from the Fort or the beach to easily come over to Downtown and not have to worry about parking a car. Downtown is so walkable and full now, it might actually be easier.” The Transportation Study also took into account the progress made by the City of Pensacola to invest in tourist amenities in Downtown and the city’s continued efforts to expand tourist experiences. Among the recent investments by the city is the development of Plaza de Luna, the Community Maritime Marine Park and the stadium. These waterfront developments strengthen the city’s continuing support for ferry service connecting destinations throughout Pensacola Bay. According to the Transportation Study, the cost of the two-boat ferry service operating six days per week for a 15week peak season, with three trips per day in each direction is $1.1 million for the season. “We have applied for funding through various grants, but have not received any backing yet,” says Ryan Winterberg-Lipp, Community Redevelopment Agency administrator for The City of Pensacola. Support for ferry service in the bay is long-standing, with studies conducted since the 1970s. The Santa Rosa Island Authority, The Downtown Improvement Board, the regional metropolitan planning organization, and the local transit authority are among those who support the current efforts to establish ferry service in the bay. Many believe it is definitely going to happen; it is just a matter of when. 2012/2013

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Downtownâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Wheels: Changing Modes of Transportation

By Emily Lullo

Emerald Coast Tours Gulf Coast Pedicabs

As with many growing urban centers throughout the nation, the use of

alternative modes of transportation is quickly becoming more and more popular, whether itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s for commuting, recreation or even a quick trip from the office to a nearby lunch spot. Recent changes to the Downtown Pensacola street grid have further encouraged more pedestrian and bicycle traffic by adding stops and changing the layout of lanes on Palafox, slowing down car traffic, especially for cars headed to the interstate on-ramp off Chase Street. These factors, along with the surge of entertainment and dining options spreading throughout the area, have made the desire to discover Downtown Pensacola on two wheels grow, and several new businesses are reaping the benefits. One is Bikes Plus, which relocated to North

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Palafox in the spring, offering retail and bicycle repairs and bike gear to cycling enthusiasts. Many customers were inquiring with them about bike rentals, and coincidentally, they soon had a neighboring business to refer these customers to in Emerald Coast Tours, which opened across the street within a month in March. After a successful trial run on North Palafox, Emerald Coast Tours has since relocated to a permanent spot at 701 S. Palafox, offering bike rentals and tours as well as walking historic pub tours. Soon the company was offering specials for people renting bikes to ride to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball games at the Maritime Community Park baseball stadium, where the bikes were highly visible locked up outside the stadium. In June, owner Nick Schuck added Segway tours to the repertoire, modeling them after the roughly two hour


historic bike tours. Segway tours are growing steadily in popularity, and sprouting up in urban areas across the nation. Emerald Coast Tours offers a historic Segway Tour as well as a guided free glide throughout Downtown. The fall season brought another new addition in the Wine & Glide tours, which are one hour Segway tours that end with a wine tasting at Distinctive Kitchens offered every Friday. “We added the Wine & Glide on August 31,” Schuck says. “It’s one of our most popular tours and they book up weeks in advanced, so we’re looking at more specialized tours like that.” Schuck says the company is building slowly and looking at partnering with other businesses and offering more tours in the future. “We keep growing,” he says. “At the bottom of our liability form it asks how you heard about us, and the last few weeks a lot of it’s coming from word of mouth.” The business also gets a push from overwhelmingly positive reviews TripAdvisor.com, which has already listed ECT as the number one tour in the area. Schuck says roughly half of the people on tours are visitors to the area, and he has recently started seeing more people coming from nearby cities like Mobile, Biloxi and Panama City for daytrips. Other visitors are directed to the company by the Visitor’s Center, or just from seeing the Segways or bike tours making their way through the Downtown area. “I’ve had numerous families say they’ve vacationed in Panama City for ten years and have never come to Pensacola, but they come to Pensacola to ride Segways, so we feel good about that,” Schuck says. As the only company offering Segway tours from New Orleans, Louisiana to Clearwater, Florida, the growing business has plenty of room to expand their offerings in the future. Another business that started with a bang thanks to the baseball games is Gulf Coast Pedicabs, owned by Nick Sexton and Ashley Curd. The business got its start in April, working mostly on nights when the Wahoos played home games, taking attendees between their parked cars and the stadium. The company quickly expanded its fleet to 15 pedicabs to meet the demand. During the baseball team’s off-season, Downtown events like concerts, festivals and Gallery Nights have quickly become the bread and butter for the pedicab drivers, who pay to rent the cabs and work for only tips. “It comes down to the events and festivals, because parking is a situation, so it becomes more useful for people,” Sexton says. “But we’re always going to try.” With the growing number of events getting booked at the Community Maritime Park, a slew of festivals like the Great Gulfcoast Arts Festival, Ice Flyers hockey games and holiday events on the horizon, the season doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Usually around ten cabs will take to the streets during events, making rounds and taking calls from passengers in need of a lift. “It’s definitely kicking in a lot more,” Sexton says. “We’ve made it through the season and people are starting to use us whenever they go out.” Gulf Coast Pedicabs has also expanded to working

festivals in Destin, and can even accommodate groups that want to be shuttled around for an evening. They have also recently been booked several times to work with weddings both in and out of Downtown. One place where non-motorized transportation isn’t seeing a huge boost is in commuting. While the number of Downtown employees commuting to work by bicycle has only grown from 1 to 2 percent in the last few years, there are still growing opportunities for area workers to take to the streets on two wheels. An up and coming Pensacola group called Think Beyond is currently working to move forward sustainable projects to advance Pensacola, and the first project the group is throwing its weight behind is called Bikes at Work. The project is spearheaded by Christian Wagely, Jessica Bell and Kelly Wieczorek and has thus far involved approaching businesses about purchases bicycles to be used by employees throughout the work day. The trio wanted to start something similar to bike sharing projects that are being implemented in larger cities like Washington D.C. and Toronto, and saw an opportunity to start smaller by going through Downtown businesses. “Downtown is very walkable and very bike-able because of the way the streets are laid out, because they were laid out before the automobile, but despite that, very few people are biking,” Wagely says. “We came up with this idea for businesses to keep bikes in the workplace so that employees can use them to go to lunch, run their errands, take lunch down to the waterfront, or whatever they want to do, instead of having to see cars drive three or four blocks and take up parking spaces that could be better used by tourists or people who need them.” With 9,697 employees working in the Downtown area according to 2011 census data, that’s a lot of potential usage. Downtown Pensacola has also played host to the third and final leg of the Pensacola Cycling Classic, which completed its third year in September. The Classic consists of three cycling races over the course of a weekend, with the final and most spectator friendly event, the Criterium taking place in the heart of Downtown Pensacola. The Classic brings cyclists and their families from around the country to the area, and thousands gather in the streets of Downtown when riders make rapid loops around several city blocks for a total prize purse of $4,550. The event has grown significantly each year, and it will continue to increase the presence of cyclists and bike culture in the city and region. As the core of Downtown grows and begins to mimic many of the national trends of urban areas around the country, the changing modes of transportation will become ever more prevalent. The mixed use area offers ample opportunity for a diverse array of establishments and people from employees, to residents, to visiting tourists, and the ways in which they traverse the expanding Downtown offerings will continue to expand. Whether for health and environmental reasons, entertainment or leisure, many more people are now seeing Downtown from two wheels instead of four, and getting more out of the experience because of it. 2012/2013

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Too much stuff? Here’s the best and cheapest way to clear out the garage. List your stuff in a Gosport Classified. Rates are $9 for the first ten words and fifty cents for each additional word. Over 25,000 people see the Gosport every week. Go online to www.gosportpensacola.com or call 433-1166 ext. 24 to place your ad today.

Northwest Florida’s Business Climate

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MESS Hall

Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Museums in Downtown Pensacola By Emily Lullo

As Downtown has exploded with activity over the last few years, the choices for dining, nightlife and special events have likewise expanded. For Pensacola families or visitors with children looking for some relief for bored kids, the summer of 2012 brought some much-needed options with the opening of both the Pensacola Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Museum and the MESS Hall. 2012/2013

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The entire Village is run by the University of West Florida and the museum is designed to focus on multiple disciplines like science, history and others. Educational programming at the museum is backed up by state standards for kindergarten through second grades. “We keep everything updated and 2012 is the latest update we’ve done. I worked on that this summer,” says McMillen. “We also have plans to bring on board other educational programs which will take place in the party room with a story time where kids get to meet a character.” There are also plans in the works to set up other programs, like one that teaches students about electricity to the curriculums that will also meet state educational standards. McMillen says the museum will work continually to update exhibits and add new programming that will interest children while also keep up with changing state educational standards. “In a museum setting, especially for children, we have to keep it fresh,” McMillen says. “People won’t come back to see the same thing over and over.” McMillen says that throughout the summer, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Admission to the Pensacola Children’s Museum is $3 per person, and free for children under 12 months. More information about the Pensacola Children’s Museum as well as information on booking parties can be found at historicpensacola.org. Another museum that opened this summer is the MESS Hall. The MESS Hall’s name stands for Math, Engineering, Science and Stuff, and the open-ended exhibits inside it offered hands-on activities that encouraged those skills in children. Spearheaded by Megan Pratt, the MESS Hall opened temporarily in The party area. Illustration by Alvare Design. Downtown Pensacola as an experiment to gauge interest in this type of museum, and the test run took place in the relatively small space at 21 W. Romana Street. “This summer was designed to be a trial, so basically, we realized that to meet the demand we had this summer we’d need two times the amount of space,” Pratt says. The MESS Hall was open Wednesday-Friday 10 am-2 pm and Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm, and from June 2 to August 18, the museum saw more than 4,000 visitors. It was unique in that in addition to its four permanent interactive exhibits, the MESS Hall also offered a deli-style counter where visitors could “order” from a daily menu of around 18 different MESS kits consisting of a small project that kids could explore on their own in an open-ended manner. The kits included things like playing with polymer slime, exploring ultraviolet light or making a small animation with Zoetropes. Of the 4,000 visitors, Pratt says that some data collection revealed that about 10 to 12 percent of visitors were from out of town, though the actual The fort, the ship and the amount of tourist visitors is likely higher. Visitors Lavalle House. Illustration by Alvare Design. were asked to write down the zip code of where

The Pensacola Children’s Museum opened in the Historic Pensacola Village in June, picking up where the children’s area on the third floor of the T.T. Wentworth Museum Discovery Gallery left off. Last summer, Discovery Gallery averaged around 1,000 visitors a month. With such a high influx, the gallery reached capacity many times. Rob Overton, the acting director of West Florida Historic Preservation Inc., says the idea for a children’s museum in Pensacola is not new, but rather something that has been kicked around for many years. “We realized that there was a need for another children’s exhibit that could accommodate more,” says Overton. The Pensacola Children’s Museum has two floors with the Discovery Gallery on the first, and a series of exhibits that encourage hands on learning on the second. During the Pensacola Historic Village’s Open House event in June, the museum had its grand opening, during which 1,409 people came through the doors to explore the new addition to the village. Since then, museum educator and educational and private tour coordinator Jim McMillen says the museum has seen an overall average of 250 visitors each day. In addition to hosting 380 students for educational program field trips just between the opening August 18, the Discovery Gallery and a joining party room is available as a spot to host children’s birthday parties, hosting 419 kids for parties in that same time frame.

Discovery Museum

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they were from, but through conversations with visitors, Pratt realized that often tourists would visit family who lived locally, and those locals would fill out the demographic information. There were also multiple repeat visitors to the MESS Hall, because the ever-changing selection of MESS kits allowed for something new at each visit despite the small place. The average length of a visit was two hours, which is similar to the average length of visit times at much larger children’s museum facilities. Pratt says all four days of operation had relatively equal attendance numbers, which was surprising, since Saturdays would seem to be the most popular days. Camp and school field trips as well as vacationing schoolchildren boosted weekday attendance. On August 18, the temporary MESS Hall closed, but the successful summer proved that there is definitely demand for a museum of this nature in Downtown Pensacola. “Our plan now is to look for twice the amount of exhibit area and include some classroom space for birthday parties and field trips,” Pratt says. “We would like to open in the spring.” The location will stay in Downtown Pensacola, where Pratt says she felt the synergy was perfect for this type of addition to the area’s offerings for families with children. “Being Downtown was a great benefit for us,” she says. “I think people who visited were happy to be able to go out to lunch afterward, and make it part of their day.” The Pensacola Children’s Museum is fast becoming a mainstay for the Historic Pensacola Village, while the MESS Hall searches for the future home for its unique open-ended exhibits. Both museums add a huge offering for the many families that come Downtown with children, inspiring their creativity and insights, and making for ever-increasing choices for entertainment in the heart of Pensacola. 2012/2013

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The Revival of North Palafox Street

By Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough

The Palafox Market. Photo courtesy of The Birdwell Agency

Walking along the three blocks of N. Palafox Street between Garden Street and Wright Street in the heart of the Downtown core produces a totally different experience today than it did in early 2011. If one remembers what such a stroll was like more than 18 months ago, it’s easy to notice the increased activity all seven days each week. There just seems to be more to do, more options, and more people. All of these observations are based in reality and validate the fulfillment of an economic development strategy implemented by the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board (DIB) to bring life and commerce back to the once anemic boulevard. 2012/2013

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During much of 2010 and into early 2011, various committees of the DIB toiled with the challenge of how to extend the resurgence of activity, commerce, and residential living being enjoyed by Palafox Place and the rest of Downtown to this long stagnant and depressed area of the Downtown district. The negative realities from 2010 and prior years with regards to N. Palafox Street were so compelling and long-standing that the committees exploring ways to stimulate investment and business location were compelled to be bold and innovative. In 2010, that three-block section had nine empty buildings fronting on N. Palafox Street collectively representing approximately 82,000 square feet of vacant space. What was even worse was the fact that the average length of time that those nine buildings had been vacant was 4.1 years – over 400 percent longer than the average vacant commercial structure anywhere else in Downtown Pensacola. That three-block section of N. Palafox Street also had the largest concentration of vacant commercial space within any three contiguous blocks of Downtown – an undesirable title the area had held for years. More than half of the nine vacant buildings were significantly larger in size than the typical ground floor commercial spaces available in other parts of Downtown. Cars and trucks typically raced along this empty boulevard at speeds almost 20 miles per hour above the intended speed limit in an effort to quickly get through this part of town. As the old cliché goes, “the deck was stacked” against that street. After months of debate and exploration of new ideas and concepts through DIB committees, and with the assistance of incredibly innovative traffic engineers, a strategy to revitalize N. Palafox Street was brought forward for consideration by the DIB. The economic revitalization strategy contained the following components: a.) add more

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customer/client parking along the street; b.) create unencumbered sight lines from the new parking spaces to the front doors of the empty buildings; c.) significantly slow down the traffic so that pedestrians would again feel comfortable walking across the street; d.) divert through traffic (especially trucks) off of N. Palafox Street; and e.) create more reasons for people to come to that area of Downtown on the weekends. The strategy concept was adopted by the DIB; and the stage was set for implementation. After traffic studies by both the DIB and the City of Pensacola, it was determined that the four lane divided boulevard had significant excess capacity. So much so in fact, that it was agreed that the street would work just fine with only two lanes instead of four – one in each direction – even if more vehicles started using it. This finding made it possible to accomplish the first objective of the revitalization strategy: adding more customer/client parking. With the assistance of a traffic engineering firm, the DIB redesigned the curbside parking pattern for the street and in the process added 92 additional public parking spaces. This feat was accomplished by adding back-in angled parking along the building sides of each lane of the boulevarded street and removing one of the travel lanes in each direction. The remaining unmarked parallel parking lanes in each direction adjacent to the landscaped median was stripped for maximum use by customers. The pavement markings and signage to implement this change were installed during late April and early May of 2011. With the narrowing of the area available for vehicular travel paths in both directions along this three block section of N. Palafox Street, it also had the result of calming the traffic so that speeds were reduced to the desired 25 MPH and through traffic (especially truck traffic) was frustrated by people parking (parallel and back-in angle parking)


to such an extent that alternative routes were found. The City also installed new and additional signage on Garden Street directing through traffic seeking I-110 to other streets. Pedestrians could again safely use the long dormant cross walks and move from one side of the street to the other because the raceway was no more. The strategy also called for the trees in the landscaped medians of N. Palafox Street to be limbed-up to a point where pedestrians could easily see their parked vehicle in the new curbside parking spaces from the doorways of any of the nine empty buildings. This was realized during the spring of 2011 and again during the spring of 2012. The last element of the approved strategy – creating more activity on weekends - was accomplished incrementally over two years. For the 2011 season of the Palafox Market, the variety of offerings allowed was expanded and the number of months the Saturday public market was open was expanded to eight. For the 2012 season of the Palafox Market, the area covered by the public market was expanded to include all three blocks of the center median and the months of operation were expanded to a year-round presence. The results from these bold and calculated economic enhancement strategies have been nothing short of amazing. Five of the previously empty buildings are now filled with new enterprises. These new businesses and government offices have added more than 100 new employees to the area. A sixth long term empty building along this stretch of N. Palafox Street is also under contract with plans for redevelopment as a performance venue early in 2013. Pedestrian counts in the area are up by 30 percent from before the changes. Attendance at the Palafox Market has quadrupled while the number of vendors has more than doubled. Several of the older businesses and most of the new ones along this street now have Saturday hours to

capture the crowds. A few are now even staying open past 5 pm to take advantage of the new economic realities along this street. Finding a parking space is never a problem – even with the new businesses, employees, and customers – because of the reconfiguration. Vehicular traffic in the area has increased between nine percent and 16 percent all along this street even though the traffic is slower. Much of the current traffic is coming to do businesses with one or more of the occupants of the buildings fronting along this street. Businesses along N. Palafox Street now get more visibility as a result of the slower traffic. It’s easier to find a business along this street because the traffic is not moving so fast. Motorists also have the chance to look around and be exposed to the nearby businesses while they are waiting for a traffic light or for someone ahead of them to park. This is marketing that the adjoining businesses were missing before the implementation of the revitalization strategy. Other added benefits from the full implementation of the N. Palafox Street economic enhancement strategy have included: the creation of a safer environment for pedestrians; the creation of a safer environment for motorist attempting to park (because of the 80 percent increase in safety attributable to back-in angled parking as opposed to head-in parking); four more handicapped parking spaces each, wider and easier to use than handicapped parking in traditional parallel parking configurations; and an active image for this part of Downtown. It’s obvious that the strategy to enhance the economic vitality of N. Palafox Street delivered as intended. It took all of the elements of the plan working together and getting put into place to create new opportunity and help sustain new investments. Newcomers to the area only know that business is good and people are plenty. And that’s all the proof that is needed. 2012/2013

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Photograph by Kassie McLean

Downtown's Destination Park and Amphitheater By Kelly Oden

What a difference a year makes. This time last year, Pensacola residents were eagerly awaiting the opening of the Community Maritime Park and the new double A baseball stadium. Now, residents are proudly showing off the gorgeously landscaped waterfront park, reminiscing about a fantastic first season for the Blue Wahoos and looking forward to upcoming events. One of the best parts of the new park is the stunning Hunter Amphitheater located just behind the stadium and right on the bayfront. The impressive structure was named for Randall K. and Martha A. Hunter who graciously donated $1 million to UWF for the proposed maritime museum. When those plans fell through due to funding issues, the university allotted the funds for the building of a community amphitheater. Bullock Tice Associates provided architectural design services for this waterfront amphitheater. In addition to accommodating traveling musical performances, the amphitheater accommodates a variety of local performing groups, parties, weddings and other social or community gatherings. It can also function adequately for theatrical performances utilizing the full stage platform for a show or even installing bleachers on the platform to have a theater in-the-round setting. Design features that enable this

flexibility in the CMP facility include: dedicated and isolated electrical outlets for on stage sound and lighting systems; dedicated on-stage hookup points for localized mixing board including access to remote speakers; sufficient exit capacity for high concentration of occupants on stage platform; relocatable vertical awning screens to bring the back and side wall planes in for a smaller, more intimate setting; relocatable vertical awing screen positions to create visually concealed egress around performance area, rear and sides; and house work lights that can be controlled in such a manner to project varying light levels at different stage positions for those groups that cannot afford theatrical lighting. The Community Maritime Park Associates board is in charge of running the park, which includes the stadium and the amphitheater. The Blue Wahoos rent the stadium and the City of Pensacola has a contract to run the park events, including programs, the amphitheater, the festival grounds and the exhibition field. The city also runs parking for Wahoos games and any other events for the stadium. They are also starting a pilot pushcart-vending program for food and retail vendors, which will emphasize healthy food along with hats, sunscreen and fishing equipment. 2012/2013

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The city has already run a number of successful events this year including family movie nights, a Manna Food Pantries benefit and Nickelodeon's Day of Play. Heather Chenoweth, Community Maritime Park Recreation Coordinator, says the city envisions bringing a number of unique concepts to the amphitheater and park. Dinner theatre, musicals, more movie nights and concerts are all in the works. Although most events aren’t public yet, Chenoweth says the amphitheater and park are well booked from mid-March through October of next year. "We have an outdoor recreation type expo and a regional food truck festival because there aren’t too many food trucks in Pensacola. Our Department of Neighborhood Services has done an Easter egg hunt for years at Rodgers Scott Athletic Center, but they are moving it over here. We will also have a summer concert series, and we are looking into regional and local promoters. We want to have concerts but it's just about finding the right organization to help us put it on. We’ve had one concert so far this year, a Manna benefit on July 29. That was very successful; it was a Frankie Valli tribute group. Manna made a whole bunch of money to help offset some of the costs from the big flood on June 9." The Maritime Park Grand Opening was postponed due to the heavy rains this summer. The rescheduled event takes place on November 17 and the headliner will be a Grammy Award winning country artist, but due to contractual obligations, the public won’t find out until two weeks prior to the celebration. Here are a few of the announced events planned for the rest of 2012: October 25th In the stadium: Tri Gulf Coast presents Community Movie Night – Newly Released, Madagascar 3 – Europe's Most Wanted – Free to attend October 26th-28th Large "Battle of the Bands" Concert with Starliner Production. November 9th-12th Veteran's Day Concert. Performers include Phil Vasser, Steve Azar, Javier Clon

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November 16th A Night at the Maritime A dinner theatre event in partnership with Nick's Boathouse, Ballinger


Publishing, and Act4Murder. Act4Murder will perform "A Condo to Kill For" while guests enjoy a threecourse meal provided by Nick's Boathouse. $40 per person - includes dinner and the show at the Community Maritime Park Amphitheater. November 17th Park Dedication, Hill-Kelly Dodge Mopar Car Show, and Craft Beer Festival. The long anticipated and finally rescheduled "grand opening" of the Community Maritime Park. Free event day festivities will include the Car Show, a Touch a Truck event, a kids carnival area, tasty food merchants, and live music. The music kicks off at 1 pm and will climax with a performance by a Grammy Award-winning country artist and fireworks. The Craft Beer Festival will be held in the Stadium ($35/person) with over 100 beers. Enjoy football on the JumboTron and a Navy vs. Air Force Softball Game. November 26th - January 2nd The week after Thanksgiving kicks off the Winter Wonderland display in the Stadium and the Light Up the Park Decorating Contest in the Park. This will run through the end of the year and will be open for the public to enjoy. December 1st Step Out to Stop Diabetes - Northwest Florida Fundraiser and Awareness Event. December 7th Family Holiday Movie at the Amphitheater December 8th Holiday Craft Fair in the festival grounds area of the park. December 22nd Community Holiday Concert at the amphitheater. Performers include, but are not, limited to: Episcopal Day School Chorus, Workman Middle School Chorus, Greater Little Rock Baptist Church, and a local Barbershop Quartet. This will be free fun for the whole family. 2013 Baseball kicks off the 2013 season on April 4, 2013. Springtime will bring a large Outdoor Recreation and Adventure Fair and the Easter EggStravaganza. Through the summer months, look out for a Summer Concert Series - with one event in each June, July, and August.

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ICE FLYERS

Return to Pensacola— With a Vengeance

By Josh Newby

The 2011 Ice Flyers at the Pensacola Civic Center

As the weather grows chillier and the nights come sooner, ‘tis the season again for the time-honored tradition of attending a good old fashioned, competitive, rough-n’-tumble hockey game, courtesy of the Pensacola Ice Flyers. Hockey has been an institution in Pensacola since 1996 and the Ice Flyers have been delighting fans of all ages since 2009. The legacy continues in Pensacola on Friday, Nov. 2. 36

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This past season, the Ice Flyers nearly won a championship, and in the process, entertained a crowd of 5,630 in a single game, setting a league record for playoff attendance, but they believe they can do even better this year. With over 100,000 tickets sold and an average attendance of 3,889 per game, the Ice Flyers enjoyed increased popularity and the Downtown area benefitted greatly from the additional influx of people. The team plays an average of at least one game per week in Pensacola—and sometimes that number is two or three. Every week, Downtown is being inundated with thousands of fun-loving fans, many of whom enjoy dinner before or after a game, shop at a local store, or have a beer or two at a local bar. “We help supplement the number of patrons Downtown by bringing thousands of people to the area who may not have come,” said Greg Harris, co-owner of the team. “We do that 28 times a season. That’s one of our goals. We want to attract sponsors and businesses to the Downtown area. The more successful that is, the more successful we’ll be, and vice-versa.” But it’s not all about the money, as any member of the staff or team will attest. The Ice Flyers also focus on contributing back to the community that has given so much to them. In their highest attended game of the season, a game that saw more than 7,000 patrons, the team raised $20,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a childhood cancer charity. “The team shaved their heads for the event and everyone had a good time supporting this great cause,” said Harris. The Ice Flyers are important to the economy and morale of the city. The beginning of the hockey season is near the end of football season, so after football ends and before baseball begins, hockey is the only live professional sport available in Pensacola. In addition to all the benefits the team offers Downtown, there are many exciting changes to the team this year, as well. Whether on the ice or behind the scenes, these changes are meant to bolster attendance numbers and increase team performance. One big change is Gary Graham, who is entering his first season as the Ice Flyers’ head coach. He brings with him a winning coaching record and a successful philosophy. As a former assistant coach of the Fort Wayne Komets, this is his first job at the pro level, and he said he is ready and willing to take on the challenge. “I’m really excited,” said Graham. “I have butterflies and nerves, but I’m looking forward to getting involved with the team and with Pensacola. We have some new recruits who have never played at the pro level and are ready to show us what they can do. We also have guys who bring a championship-winning history of wisdom with them and can mentor everyone on the team.” Another big change is a new vice president of

business operations, Evangeline Leventhal. Leventhal is in charge of developing the Ice Flyers’ front office staff, particularly in ticket sales and corporate partnership fulfillment. “We are continuing to take steps to strengthen the team's footprint in Northwest Florida,” said Ice Flyers owner Tim Kerr in a press release. “Evangeline brings a great deal of experience and has had tremendous success in the business of sports with teams at different levels.” Other changes include a heavier focus on community relations, showcased by Graham’s desire to get involved with local schools and create a bond between the players and kids. “The guys can impact these kids in a positive way, and that’s the goal,” said Graham. “We’re trying to reach a new demographic, so whether that means getting involved in local charities or playing street hockey with the kids, that’s what we’ll do.” “I consider it a personal mission to help develop a first-class hockey experience to a new range of fans, and assist in bringing back those who haven't been to an Ice Flyers’ game in a while,” said Leventhal in a press release. Also new this year is the plan to have a monthly community event at the Civic Center to rally community support and foster fans’ interest in the players and the sport. These monthly activities will include bounce houses, grilling, a DJ or band: all the makings for a great tailgate party. Graham is hopeful and optimistic about this year’s opportunities. Last year, the team nearly won the SPHL (Southern Professional Hockey League) playoffs, but succumbed in the end to the Columbus Cottonmouths. “I’ve assessed the plays from last year and found that our team had undeniable confidence and swagger in the playoffs,” said Graham. “That’s always a good thing and it’s something you want. Ultimately, we were undone by a physically more dominant team, and we’ve taken recruiting steps this year to ensure that doesn’t happen again.” The first game of this season, in Columbus, Ohio on October 26, is against those very Cottonmouth rivals, but Graham said that the team is ready and energized for the match. “We’re ready to channel that energy and see where we stack up against the league champions as soon as the puck drops,” said Graham. “Win or lose, we’re going to hold ourselves to a work ethic that’s going to define our team this year.” “We saw tremendous success this past season, both in terms of numbers and team excellence,” said Harris. “We proved Pensacola loves hockey and wants it to stay. This year, we’re hungry for more, and I’m confident we’re going to get it.” 2012/2013

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Offshore Inland: Making the Most of Our Local Resources By Dennis McKay

The Maritime Park and the Pensacola Blue Wahoos aren’t the only exciting, new things happening in Downtown Pensacola that are contributing to local economic success. Downtown restaurants, bars, hotels, and entertainment venues are continuing to thrive despite the state of the nation’s and the region’s economies. Part of that continued success might just come from an unexpected, new source: the offshore oil services industry.

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In January, 2012, Mayor Ashton Hayward announced the findings of the Port Advisory Committee, a group that he had charged with analyzing the then-current and nowfuture prospects of the Port of Pensacola. The report found that the jewel in the Port’s crown—and the key to the future of the Port—was Offshore Inland, a marine services company based in Mobile, Alabama, with offices scattered throughout the Southern United States, Mexico, Europe, and Africa. Embracing companies such as Offshore Inland (who have actually been in Pensacola since 2010) that provide high-tech, lucrative jobs in a niche market was the Committee’s foremost recommendation for the highest and best use of Pensacola’s Port. From a layman’s or tourist’s point of view, Offshore Inland is the company that is bringing in the huge ships that one can often see anchored across from Palafox Pier in Downtown Pensacola, or, as a child at the pier said, “the big one and the bigger one.” According to Buddy McCormick, the Director of Business Development and Public Relations of Offshore Inland in Pensacola (and owner of RagTyme Grille in Downtown Pensacola), one of the ships recently in port was the Global 1200. This ship—the “bigger one”—is owned by one of the largest offshore services companies in the world, a French company named Technip (www.technip.com), and is one of the newest and most sophisticated oilrig service vessels in the Gulf. The Global 1200 came to Pensacola to have a second ROV (that is, a Remote Operating Vehicle, one of the submarine vessels that many will remember taking subsea pictures during the BP oil spill) installed by Offshore Inland, which also services dive and support vessels, installs critical equipment such as cranes and navigational equipment, and provides logistical help to large offshore ships. The Downtown economy directly benefits from these docked ships in several ways. The crew of these ships, as McCormick noted, are not in “service-sector jobs, they are all making high wages and they have mostly technical jobs. So you are seeing guys who can actually walk around and go to the restaurants and bars and have money to spend.” Furthermore, according to McCormick, “They are a younger group and they love Pensacola because it is such a nice, clean city, the boats are tied up right in the middle of Downtown so all the entertainment offerings are within walking distance. They feel really safe here.” McCormick’s sentiment was mirrored by Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough, who served for several years as the Director of the Downtown Improvement Board before recently leaving to take over as CEO for the Independence, Missouri, Chamber of Commerce. Kimbrough said that “the folks that are working on those boats that come in will stay in hotels, they are going to eat in Downtown restaurants and patronize Downtown entertainment venues and generally spend money. They are going to buy supplies from our local suppliers as well, for things that they need on the spot. It’s very good in terms of the spending that will occur in the Downtown economy. We will get the lion’s share of that just because of proximity.”

What is the daily economic impact of one of the ships and its crew? According to the report of the Mayor’s Port panel, one ship can spend from $25,000 to $50,000 or more in a single day on supplies, hotel rooms, airfare, hardware, and fuel, among other things; this is an astonishing amount that simply did not exist before Offshore Inland set up shop at the Port. Offshore Inland’s commitment to Pensacola and its Port is clear; according to McCormick, they have signed a 14-year lease and have the first rights of refusal, or priority rights, to pier space to perform maintenance on and mobilize and demobilize ships. Likewise, the City and the Port provide a safe and clean facility with paved areas close to the docks, warehouse space, and are committed to making continued improvements, such as the recent installation of shore power that allows ships’ generators to be turned off while docked at the Port. The future of the subsea support industry is, by McCormick’s account, bright, and Pensacola is in a prime position to benefit greatly because of its facilities, its proximity to the rigs themselves, and its renaissance as a niche port. McCormick also noted that “the country has realized that we have huge deposits of natural gas that we can get to very easily in shallow water and become energy independent…if the government ever opens up the eastern Gulf for natural gas exploration.” Opening up these resources would mean that Pensacola could become an even greater hub for business related to the offshore oil industry. The City of Pensacola, in the opinion of Kimbrough, might well also reap future economic benefits from the offshore and subsea services industry. The Downtown economy is, he said, already “growing faster than any other commercial area in the region, it’s growing faster than the region as a whole, it’s growing faster than the state as a whole, and it’s growing faster than the nation as a whole. We are doing incredibly well in terms of job creation and business location.” It is Kimbrough’s hope and expectation that “as Offshore Inland’s business, their local footprint, and their level of activity here in Pensacola increases we will eventually get an office here. That means a substantial number of employees with good salaries. Those are the types of jobs that we want in Pensacola.” Jobs such as these would only add to the fastest growing category of employees in Downtown Pensacola— people working in the scientific and technical fields—but pay, according to Kimbrough, a third more in salary than the current local average for workers in the science and technical fields. Attracting more businesses like Offshore Inland to Pensacola will only add economic success on top of economic success. The Mayor and his panel of experts should be commended for their prescience and continued commitment to their model of how the Port should be used. The possibilities for the Port of Pensacola and the offshore services industry are endless, but the present is solid and the future of Downtown Pensacola is bright.

2012/2013

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Photo by Gary McCracken

The 2011-12 team thanks their host city

Blue Wahoos:

A Homerun for Downtown By Josh Newby

The final bases have been run and the last pitches thrown for the Pensacola Blue Wahoosâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; inaugural season, but the positive Downtown impact of the team and the support from the community is only just beginning. Since the first pitch was thrown on April 5, 2012, the team has enjoyed 40 sold-out games, an average of 4,821 fans per game, 68 wins, an award for Ballpark of the Year, and an award for Organization of the Year. 2012/2013

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Photo by Gary McCracken

Photo by Gary McCracken

“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication to this project by our owners Quint and Rishy Studer, the confidence and support of this stadium, and the vision by the Community Maritime Park Associates, the City of Pensacola and its citizens,” said Blue Wahoos’ president Bruce Baldwin in a press release. The benefits Downtown Pensacola experienced have outshined predictions and the citizens and businesses of Pensacola are reaping the benefits. “Both the direct and indirect impact of the Wahoos has been very positive,” said Quint Studer, owner of the team. “Something like this puts the city on the map.” Local businesses saw the advantages of bringing more than A local school visits and learns from the Wahoos. 300,000 people to the Downtown area within a five-month span, most to turn a profit as well, such as St. Joseph Parish, which of whom would stop for dinner at a local restaurant made $6,000 by charging for parking. Fans also stopped, before or after the game, or have a celebratory drink at a ate, drank and shopped at businesses along their walk to Downtown bar following a victory. the ballpark. “Citizens would eat, drink and shop at the Downtown “While our ballpark may have been the destination, we establishments,” said Jonathan Griffith, the Blue Wahoos’ found many of our fans took in the whole Downtown executive vice president. “Many restaurants, one example experience before or after attending our games,” said Griffith. being Sam’s Seafood about a mile from our facility, said Food and beverage sales totaling between $1.6 and $2 they saw a noted increase in their dinner crowds.” million were all purchased from local vendors. “The Parking for baseball events enabled area business lots money that the team made was put right back into the

School kids relax with players in the Florida heat

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community,” said Studer. Eight to nine baseball scouts were reportedly present at each game throughout the season, as well, regularly putting the team and the area on a national stage. “The Wahoos’ presence has expanded Pensacola’s horizons in terms of what’s possible,” said Franklin D. “Kim” Kimbrough, former executive director of the Pensacola Downtown Improvement Board. “As with any sport, they brought the city together and increased our city’s visibility exponentially.” One example of increased visibility is Blue Wahoo shortstop Billy Hamilton’s stolen bases record, which was reported by national news and sports media and gave Pensacola and the team some much-deserved time in the national spotlight. Pensacola’s identity from hosting the team has grown significantly, according to Kimbrough. “There are 90 baseball franchises in the country, and far more cities with larger populations than ours don’t have one,” he said. In addition to all the community benefits the Blue Wahoos have brought to the area, the team itself has won awards that are something the entire area can be proud of. Popular stadium review site Baseballparks.com named Pensacola Bayfront Stadium their 13th Annual Ballpark of the Year. Other stadiums in consideration for the award included

Marlins Park in Miami and the Boston Red Sox spring training facility in Lee County, Florida. “Even though it was the smallest of the three projects, I think Pensacola’s ballpark is the best,” said the website’s Joe Mock. “The ballpark adds to the quality of life and is a huge plus when it comes to attracting new businesses,” said Kimbrough. “It is a tremendous catalyst for all the other exciting things happening in our community.” Ballpark of the Year is only the first of two celebrated awards the Wahoos received within the same week. Ballpark Digest, a leading website that covers the culture and business of baseball, named the Blue Wahoos their 2012 Organization of the Year. “Leading the Southern League in attendance in the first year of operation is quite the accomplishment,” said Kevin Reichard, publisher of Ballpark Digest, in a press release. “It’s a tribute to the strong operation put together by the Studers. Put together some experienced folks like Bruce Baldwin and Jonathan Griffith, add in a great ballpark and you have the making for success. Building a first-rate operation basically from scratch is an accomplishment worth noting.” Quint Studer announced the prestigious honor to fans during the 2012 season finale. “I was absolutely thrilled to hear of the awards,” said

Photo by Gary McCracken

The next generation of ballplayers learns from a pro 2012/2013

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Photo by Gary McCracken

Technique is critical when running the bases Studer. “It’s an unwritten theory that minor league teams don’t win these kind of recognitions until they’ve been in the business for a few years, but the Wahoos helped disprove that.” Additionally, the Southern League of Professional Baseball Clubs named Pensacola Blue Wahoos President Bruce Baldwin as the 2012 Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year. Entering the 2012 season as the first president in Pensacola Blue Wahoos history, Baldwin, a 29-year baseball executive, oversaw the day-to-day operations of a club that has had an undeniably successful first season. Last but not least, the Southern League recently announced Wahoos outfielder Josh Fellhauer as the league’s Topps Player of the Month for August. This is the first time a Blue Wahoos player has been honored with the monthly award. These distinctions are just a few in a long list of memorable moments that have made the Blue Wahoos’ first season in Downtown Pensacola a resounding success. The Blue Angels flyover on opening day, visits from Masters Champion Bubba Watson and National Champion running back Trent Richardson, a no-hitter, and now baseball’s best new stadium and organization have all molded a lasting impression of Minor League Baseball on fans in the Pensacola community. One of the reasons for this rampant success may be the team’s genuine dedication to the city and the family-

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friendly entertainment. The team is well-known for being community-minded and family-focused—on and off season. Off season birthday parties give local kids the chance to tour the clubhouse and practice in the Wahoos’ very own batting cages. Members of the team visit area hospitals to encourage and befriend patients. Kazoo, the team mascot, can also be seen around the Pensacola area at various community events, including schools, charity events and festivals. “In the community, we raised close to $100,000 for local non-profits,” said Griffith. “We pride ourselves on family value and fun and we want to make sure every fan has a memorable experience each time they visit the ballpark. To make sure everyone has a fun and safe experience, we put a serious focus on customer service and hiring and training extraordinary employees. We also conduct fan surveys after every game to make sure we’re doing our best.” Kimbrough noted that it is common among minor league baseball teams to decrease in popularity and attendance after the first three years, but the various community events and team engagements are helping to guarantee the Wahoos stay on top for a long time to come. “The team has really done a terrific job endearing itself to the community,” said Kimbrough. “They have far exceeded attendance and revenue projections. With their deep integration into the fabric of the community and the many partnerships they have built, I fully expect the


Photo by Gary McCracken

momentum and positive impact to continue. The team nights, wedding and banquet opportunities, and an icerepresentatives and players enjoy meeting and interacting skating rink this winter. with the public, and I think the community will return that “The park is always a work in progress, but I am very support for years to come.” pleased with the success it has enjoyed thus far,” said And it seems to be paying off. The Pensacola Studer. community have accepted the Wahoos as their own and Weather permitting, the new team’s sophomore season the team’s popularity is growing . begins Thursday, April 4, 2013, and the entire staff and The Blue Wahoos team and stadium also make certain team could not be more thrilled. that they take care of their own. The stadium employs “We’re very excited about next season,” said Studer. more than 400 full-time and part-time seasonal “We’ve put a lot of the steps into further improving the employees, all of whom enjoy success pay, a profit share experience of the fans. There’s a waiting list for season at the end of the year and a mid-year Walmart gift card. tickets and sponsorships, so community members are Employees also have access to a job-placement program definitely ready too.” at the end of the season. Around 100 employees took advantage of that service this year. “No other minor league team places as high a priority on family fun and employee wellbeing as we do,” said Studer. “We also host employee parties, honor employees in-game during every homestand, and give special staff gifts,” said Griffith. “Employees also enjoy half price food during the games that they work.” As for the stadium itself, a variety of community events are hosted throughout the year, including free family movie Blue Wahoos’ mascot Kazoo

Photo by Brian Pierce

Community Maritime Park

2012/2013

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Northwest Florida's Business Climate - Downtown Issue 2012  

The 8th Annual Downtown Issue Downtown by the Numbers The Revival of North Palafox Street Downtown's Destination Park and Amphitheater Palaf...

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