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Master Plan Update

ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

downtown 1

ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


!"#$%&'(#)&#*+*,%&-.&/0-0 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

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acknowledgments

2010

City Council Stephen J. Wukela, Mayor Billy D. Williams, Mayor Pro Tem, District 1 Edward Robinson, District 2 Buddy Brand, District 3 Bill Bradham, At-Large Steve Powers, At-Large Octavia Williams-Blake, At Large

City Planning Commission Glynn Willis, Chair Drew Chaplin, Jr., Vice-Chair Elouise Frazier Dorothy Hines Louie Hopkins Simon Lee Ron Moore Derrick Owens Mildred Welch

Florence Downtown Development Corporation Board Peter Mazzaroni, Chairman Tom Ewart, Immediate Past Chairman Ed Love, Vice Chairman Paula Lawson, Secretary Karen Leatherman, Treasurer Phillip Lookadoo, Executive Director

Councilman Buddy Brand Darryl Bridges Dr. Annie Brown Dr. Sharon Davis Bob Ericksen John Keith, MD Mark Laskowski Charlene Lowery Tom Marschel Alex Palkovich Councilman Steve Powers Mike Reichenbach Agnes Willcox David Williams

Downtown Advisory Committee Janice Baroody Al Bradley Mark Buyck Jr. Fred Carter George Jebaily John Keith Pete Mazzaroni Alex Palkovich Steve Powers David Williams Octavia Williams-Blake Glynn Willis

City of Florence David N. Williams, City Manager Phillip Lookadoo, Director of Urban Planning and Development Kendra Cobbs Tyrone Simon Paul Thebo Marilyn West Jennifer Wilcox

Kendig Keast Collaborative Plan Consultant Bret Keast, AICP, President Greg Flisram, AICP, Project Manager / Principal Associate / Urban Designer Liz Probst, AICP, Associate Planner / Urban Designer Cristin Burton, Associate Planner Susan Watkins, Associate Planner

Additional Recognition The Downtown Master Plan Update is a collaboration of past and present planning efforts. This document incorporates the findings and illustrations of previous planning documents originated by Hunter Interests Inc. and Allison Platt & Associates. Credit is also given to Aaron Gotter for the use of his photographs.


opportunity assessment

planning context

introduction

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8

special issue areas

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implementation

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table of contents 35

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introduction This plan was developed in conjunction with, and as a component of, the City of Florence Comprehensive Plan. It encapsulates a body of planning work spanning approximately 10-years beginning with Vision 2010 adopted in 2001. Since that time, Downtown Florence has undergone a number of notable changes that can be credited, in large part, to the visions set out in these earlier plans. A number of other planning recommendations have yet to be implemented and are reexamined in this work along with new opportunities warranting fresh examination.


New visions for Downtown Florence. Source: Florence Downtown Revitalization Strategy, 2004 - 2007, Allison Platt & Associates

Previous Downtown Master Plan. Source: Florence Downtown Revitalization Strategy, 2004 - 2007

N S S A

Good ideas from old plans are revalidated, modified and carried forward plan scope and process

Somewhat paradoxically, one measure of a plan’s success is how quickly it is made ccess is how quickly it is made Somewhat paradoxically, one measure of a plan’s success is obsolete through effective implementation. It isn’t contradictory to say then that the In addition to revisiting unfinished obsolete projectsthrough and looking new development ntradictory to sayCity’s thenprevious that theDowntown planning efforts can be considered both highly successful effectiveatimplementation. It isn’t contradicto opportunities, this edition of the Florence Downtown takes a look at some broader nsidered both highly successful City’s previousPlan Downtown planning efforts can be considered and highly in need of updating at the same time. Updating the plan however doesn’t In additionfrom to the revisiting unfinished development planning issues that have not been addressed in detail in previous plans. These issues dating the plan however and highly in need of updating at the same time. Updating th mean adoesn’t complete departure past. Good ideas projects from oldand planslooking are re-at new this edition of the Downtown takes a lookinclude: at somehousing, broader public space, employment, mobility,departure infrastructure economic s from old plans are revalidated, mean a complete from and the past. Good ideas from ol validated, modified opportunities, and carried forward. Others areFlorence either entirely recastPlan or cast-off planning thatofhave not been in detailininthe previous These issues development programming. These more policy-based topics forward. are integral to supporting irely recast or cast-off entirely modified and carried Others are either entirely rec entirely depending upon the issues priorities the day. New addressed ideas are added face plans. include: housing, public space, employment, mobility, infrastructure and economic a full revival of Downtown and need depending to be addressed alongside theofstrictly physical are added in the face information of new upon the priorities the day. New ideas are add of new and new economic conditions. The plan update therefore isn’t a programming. policy-based topics are integral to supporting planning elements. pdate therefore isn’t a complete information and new economic conditions. The plan update th complete “reset” of development the Downtown agenda, butThese rather more the next-set of assignments a full revival of Downtown and need to be addressed alongside the strictly physical of assignments toward “reset” of the Downtown agenda, but rather the next-set of assig toward creating creating a completely reinvigorated place. planning elements. a completely reinvigorated place.

Plan Scope and Process

5

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010


DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

The plan also looks at a handful of exciting projects including a potential Downtown The plan also looks at a handful of currently exciting projects including a potential incubator and transit center, that are in the works that could have anDowntown important incubator and transit center, that are currently theexplores works thatthe could have anrole important bearing on Downtown’s future. Finally, the in plan emerging of the bearing Downtown’s future. Finally, the plan explores the emerging of the Florenceon Downtown Development Corporation (FDDC) in spearheading the role Downtown Florence Development Corporation (FDDC) in implementation spearheading the Downtown effort. TheDowntown planning horizon is generally 10-15 years with broken down effort. The planning horizon is generally 10-15 years with implementation broken down into 2-5 year intervals. A “long view” is needed to avoid incremental decision-making into 2-5 year intervals. A “long view” is needed avoid incrementalofdecision-making that often results in missed opportunities or worse,tothe compounding earlier mistakes. that often results in missed or worse, the compounding of earlier mistakes. Actual implementation will opportunities depend on fiscal, economic and other circumstances. Actual implementation will depend on fiscal, economic and other circumstances

This plan was developed over several months in conjunction with an ad hoc Downtown This plan was developed several months in conjunction hoc Downtown Advisory Committee (seeover acknowledgements). The resultswith fromanaad community-wide Advisory Committee acknowledgements). The results from a with community-wide planning forum held on(see March 22, 2010 as well as numerous interviews city business planning forum on March 22, 2010were as well as numerous interviews with city business leaders and realheld estate professionals used to inform major recommendations of leaders estate professionals were used to inform major recommendations of the plan.and Thereal results of the forum are included in the appendix. the plan. The results of the forum are included in the appendix.

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Source: Aaron Gotter

The mapping and LEGO building block exercise promoted creative problem-solving and discussion among residents, elected officials, and City staff.


Public Feedback on Redevelopment Opportunities Comments and Illustrations from the March 2010 Charrette

Redevelopment opportunities Preserve or fix up Traffic/pedestrian problem areas Green space and/ or other public improvements

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planning context The City* Like many historic cities throughout the country, the pattern of development that characterizes present day Downtown Florence can be traced to the rail lines that traverse the city. The convergence of these lines acted as both a magnet for settlement, and as an organizing feature for the city’s original street grid. By the dawn of the 20th Century, West Evans Street had emerged as the City’s main commercial street following a great fire in 1899. The new city hall, three of the five banks in the city, and most of the principal stores were constructed in this block. A significant number of business owners lived in Downtown during this period, usually within the same block as their business. *Adapted from the Downtown TIF District Master Plan


Darlington

Economic Landscape

Industrial Corridor Touchstone Energy Park

Medical Corridor

5

I-9

Darlington Tech

Transportation & Logistics Downtown

SG

Regional Shopping & Hospitality

Highway 52 Industrial Corridor

AH

OLD MARION

EB E N E ZE R

Florence Industrial Park H

BY

FO RE

WI

RION

LL

HOFFME YER

McLeod Hospital

HOFFME YER

CAS

HUA

To Columbia

ON

IR BY

IAMS

D MA OL

ES STA TA TTE E

GREGG A PAL P

CH C H ER ER O

H

Conference Center

Airport

C

Five Points (Mid-City)

E

FMU

Downtown

KE KE E

Irby

IRBY

EZER

OR O UG

NE IN PINE P

NE PINE

A RK PARK P

UT HB

O BO B

Medical Corridor

Transportation & Logistics

NAAT T IO O

AN TA T Y

S

To Myrtle Beach

EVANS

H

SO

Line Amtrak “Palmetto”

Hwy. 76

AY DAY D

Regional Shopping & Hospitality

Other Landmarks

Rail Complex

TON GTON G

I-20

OLD MARION

AS

Hwy. 327

Central Gateway Interchanges

PI

Se

SE

CO

con

ND LO

OP

W CO CO MC

ON

dL

oop Hwy.

MARSH M AR SH

N

RC H CH UR W IN CHURCH TWIN T

P

NT V EN AVENT A

PIN P IN N

LLO OO

327

LAK L A K EV E VIEW IE W

Carolina’s Hospital TH T HIR RD

R

A

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PLI PAM

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IRBY

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FLO

WE RS

To Charleston / Savannah

A wave of building construction in the early decadesofofthe the20th 20th Century Century established A wave of building construction in the early decades established the physical the current-day Downtown. In the 1900, theofBank of Florence the physical profileprofile of theof current-day Downtown. In 1900, Bank Florence erected erected building on Evans Street, andathe newopera city hall and These opera a building onaEvans Street, and the city built newcity citybuilt hallaand house. house. These two buildings were followed succession by theand Federal Court two buildings were followed in succession by the in Federal Court House Post Office House the andRainwater Post Office (1905-06), the Rainwater (1912), the W.M.and Waters (1905-06), building (1912), the W. M. building Waters building (1914), the building and “skyscraper” the Florence(1919), Trust Company “skyscraper” the Florence Trust(1914), Company and the Guaranty Bank (1919), buildingand (1910). Bank building ofthe these structures survive except for the original All ofGuaranty these structures survive(1910). exceptAllfor original city hall building. city hall building. During the latter portion of the 1960’s and continuing even now, thethe original like many the During lattercompact, portion ofDowntown the 1960’sFlorence, and continuing evenother now,downtowns the originalacross compact, nation,Florence, began tolike experience thedowntowns exodus of retail merchants to began suburban shopping Downtown many other across the nation, to experience the exodus of retail merchants to suburban shopping malls. This movement was made DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

malls. This movement was made possible by the advent of the Interstate Highway system and increasing automobile ownership among other factors. Today the primary land use in the Downtown Redevelopment District is retail and office/institutional, with a portion of the district including residential uses and a lesser number of industrial uses. The traditional downtown core along Dargan and Evans Streets is in a declining state due to the lack of public and private sector investment. Past street beautification efforts, including a mid-Century covered “promenade” along portions of Dargan and Evans Streets as well as more recent streetscaping, haven’t generated a sustained revitalization of downtown.

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


Landmark projects have radically transformed portions of Downtown current context current context The impetus for for this this version version of of the the Florence Florence Downtown Downtown plan plan is is due due to to several several factors factors The impetus not least of of which which has has been been the the generous generous investments investments in in major major cultural cultural institutions institutions not least by the Doctors Doctors Bruce Bruce and and Lee Lee Foundation. Foundation. These These landmark landmark projects projects have have radically radically by the transformed portions of of Downtown Downtown and and solidified solidified its its role role as as the the civic civic and and cultural cultural hub hub transformed portions of the region. region. They They have have also also caused caused the the City’s City’s previous previous plans, plans, which which focused focused mainly mainly of the on the Dargan Dargan Street Street corridor corridor to to become become quickly quickly outdated. outdated. A A number number of of other other exciting exciting on the projects currently in in the the pre-feasibility pre-feasibility or or discussion discussion phases, phases, have have also also warranted warranted projects currently updating the plan plan to to ensure ensure that that they they are are being being thought thought through through collectively collectively and and in in updating the context context with with the the entire entire Downtown. Downtown. DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

Finally, will likely likely alter alter the the paradigm paradigm for for real real Finally, the the deep deep economic economic downturn downturn of of 2007-09 2007-09 will estate new estate development development and and economic economic development development for for some some time time to to come. come. This This new reality that cities cities will will have have to to work work harder harder and and more more creatively creatively to to facilitate facilitate major major reality means means that new Although the the City City has has already already taken taken new investments investments in in property property and and in in businesses. businesses. Although significant strides in in this this direction direction through through the the creation significant strides creation of of the the Florence Florence Downtown Downtown Development will need need to to adopt adopt an an even even Development Corporation Corporation and and the the Downtown Downtown TIF TIF district, district, itit will more stance to to both both create create investment investment opportunities opportunities more entrepreneurial, entrepreneurial, deal-making deal-making stance Downtown to mobilize mobilize the the necessary necessary financial financial and and management management resources resources to to Downtown and and to “land” “land” private private investment. investment. Many Many of of these these deals deals will will require require some some amount amount of of direct direct financial financial support support by by the the City City typically typically in in the the form form of of “gap” “gap” financing. financing.

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opportunity assessment Plans aren’t created in a vacuum. They are usually formulated in response to some perceived community needs or “issues”. The most effective Downtown regeneration plans however take a much different tact. They are usually assets-based and opportunistic. That is, they seek to take advantage of ready opportunities rather than try to tackle the toughest problems without first generating momentum with a few highly visible “wins.” This plan is no exception. It starts from the premise that the City has several important advantages and opportunities that, if capitalized on, can create conditions that make other initiatives more successful.


ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


Services and retail corridor A highly visible, linking the Medical Center to professional services node Downtown

cheves street hospitality corridor

downtown subdistricts ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

irby street financial district

A branded business environment with old and new buildings

urban business park

Master-planned, mixed-use development

north point a.k.a. “the triangle�

Grand civic space of the City Beautiful Era

cultural campus

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

cheves street hospitality corridor

The Downtown area is strategically positioned with respect to the region’s major transportation infrastructure, and its principal driver industry; namely healthcare. The McLeod campus is perhaps the largest single economic catalyst and traffic generator in the entire region. It is separated from the heart of Downtown by only a few hundred feet (and by a major transportation corridor) yet there is very little economic spillover between the two areas. Previous plans coined the term “The Medical Mile” to define a potential westward path of development emanating from the McLeod campus into Downtown along Cheves Street. Possible uses along the corridor range from medical offices to medical supply companies, clinics, labs and the full complement of hospitality

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IRBY

AN DARG

DARGAN

N

CHEVES

OAD

EV AN S

RAILR

Proposed building type. For illustration only.

ES

EV

CH

Connecting Downtown to the Medical Center services such asto hotels andarestaurants to support a largecenter. and growing medicalcampus center. and restaurants support large and growing medical The McLeod The McLeod campus has over 1,500 employees generates well overvisits 11,000 has over 1,500 employees and generates welland over 11,000 patient perpatient week visits per week (575,000/yr). (575,000/yr). Extending the greater hospital zone into Downtown with particular emphasis on Extending greater hospital into Downtown particular emphasis on hospitality the services would help zone fuse together the twowith areas and help serve the hospitality services would help fuse together the two areas and help serve the City’s growing culture economy. In addition to quality urban infill development along City’s growing In addition quality urban development along Cheves Street, culture strongereconomy. connections betweentothe hospital andinfill Downtown can also be Cheves Street, connections between the hospital and Downtown canalong also encouraged in astronger number of other ways including: major pedestrian improvements be encouraged in aStreets; numbercoordinated of other ways including: major pedestrian improvements Cheves and Evans signs and wayfinding on either side of Church along Cheves and Evans Streets; coordinated signs and wayfinding on either side of DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

Street; incentivized Downtown hospital-worker housing; and new corner-to-corner Church Street; incentivized Downtown hospital-worker housing; and new corner-to-corner transit connections (potentially to include a dedicated transit loop between McLeod and transit connections (potentially to include a dedicated transit loop between McLeod and Downtown). A new transit center near Cheves and Baroody Streets, including a new Downtown). A new transit center near Cheves and Baroody Streets, including a new Amtrak station would also help join the two areas together and provide a centralized Amtrak station would also help join the two areas together and provide a centralized transit transit hub convenient to both Downtown and the hospital. There are also potential hub convenient to both Downtown and the hospital. There are also potential opportunities opportunities for Downtown Merchants to co-market themselves directly to the hospital for Downtown Merchants to co-market themselves directly to the hospital and their client and their client base through coordinated advertising special promotional events. Over base through coordinated advertising special promotional events. Over time, the City time, the City should look into the feasibility of removing the viaduct separating the two should look into the feasibility of removing the viaduct separating the two areas. This areas. This would require placing the rail lines below grade level in a trench or tunnel. would require placing the rail lines below grade level in a trench or tunnel.

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

irby street irby street financial district financial district

The City of Florence is aisregional banking center with a relatively high concentration of The City of Florence a regional banking center with a relatively high concentration Downtown banks. ManyMany of these banksbanks are grouped along along a shortastretch of Irby of Street of Downtown banks. of these are grouped short stretch Irby from Pinefrom to Cheves many of many the bank buildings showingshowing signs of signs age. Street Pine to Streets Cheveswith Streets with of the bank buildings The of Irby andofPalmetto the mostisheavily traveled intersection in the City ofintersection age. The intersection Irby andisPalmetto the most heavily traveled intersection (approximately 40,000 vpd), 40,000 and is an important gateway into gateway Downtown, sections in the City (approximately vpd), and is an important intoyet Downtown, of yet this sections area are significantly and elsewhereHere Downtown, there is of this areaunderdeveloped. are significantly Here underdeveloped. and elsewhere a noticeable of modern Class Alack office to serve City’sspace large medical Downtown,lack there is a noticeable ofspace modern Class the A office to serveand the legal professional communities. City’s large medical and legal professional communities.

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CH

EVE

S COI

T

N

Y IRB

PA L

M

ET

TO

A highly visible, professional services node


Redevelopment of the two-block section of the Irby corridor roughly between Pine and Cheves Streets presents an opportunity to create a new, highly visible, professional services node that is equally accessible to Downtown’s major employment centers: the City/County complex and McLeod Hospital. Because of its visibility, access and current state of underdevelopment, it is a prime location for a new master-planned, mid-rise office center with Class A amenities including ground floor retail and structured parking. Taller, landmark-quality development at this intersection would also create an important western gateway to Downtown and, with structured parking, could potentially provide parking relief for nearby churches. The Coit Street side (between Palmetto and

Cheves Streets) could accommodate a potential expansion of Florence-Darlington Tech’s Downtown campus. More single-story strip development, no matter how well it is designed, would be a further underutilization of this important cross-roads. At a macro level, the City’s main highways leading into Downtown including Palmetto and Irby streets should be “red-carpeted” with streetscaping and more attractive development. This can be implemented, in part, through design overlay planning and the universal application of design standards.

21 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

urban urban business park business park

Similar Similar to housing, the expansion of employment opportunities in Downtown is critical to housing, the expansion of employment opportunities in Downtown is to making a vibrant place.a The Baroody corridor with itscorridor rail spurwith hasits long critical to making vibrant place.Street The Baroody Street railbeen spur a location small-shop manufacturing in Downtown. Much of current building has for long been a location for small-shop manufacturing in the Downtown. Much of stock however is either vacant or is being used only vacant for storage. it is only also for in the current building stock however is either or is Much being of used poor repair. storage. Much of it is also in poor repair. Although completely reinventing this area unimaginable over thelong long term, term, Although completely reinventing this area isn’tisn’t unimaginable over the it probably shouldn’t be near-term priority City.Environmental Environmental conditions conditions it probably shouldn’t be near-term priority of of thetheCity. are unknown, the buildings serviceable, and marketfor forquality quality are unknown, many many of theofbuildings are are still still serviceable, and thethemarket replacement is uncertain. more pragmatic would on replacement uses is uses uncertain. A more A pragmatic approachapproach would focus on focus building

D GAN DAR N

IRBY

COIT

DARLINGTON

BAROODY

A branded business environment with old and new buildings

EVANS N

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Proposed building type. For illustration only.

Proposed signage type. For illustration only.

maintenance, surgical redevelopment and infill, and basic aesthetics in order to building maintenance, surgical redevelopment andneighborhood infill, and basic establish an identifiable, attractive small business in aesthetics the heart ofin the order to establish an identifiable, attractive small business neighborhood in the City. heart of the City. The concept for an “urban business park” involves several cosmetic, peripheral The concept for an “urban business park” involves several cosmetic, peripheral improvements and zoning changes to create a “branded” business environment improvements and zoning changes to create a “branded” business environment encompassing both old and new buildings; a common sign and landscape motif; encompassing both old and new buildings; a common sign and landscape motif; shared/joined parking lots; and potentially a common management structure. Multishared/joined parking lots; and potentially a common management structure. tenant, flex-space buildings providing affordable space for clean” business start-

Underutilized building along Baroody Street.

When required for businesses, sidefacing loading docks enhance the overall character and appearance.

ups, as well as live/work spaces, can be key to cultivating an entrepreneurial “scene” Multitenant, flex-space buildings providing affordable space for clean” business downtown. This would also be a prime location for a traditional business incubator. startups, as well as live/work spaces, can be key to cultivating an entrepreneurial “scene” downtown. This would also be a prime location for a traditional business Depending upon underlying environmental conditions and future market conditions, incubator. this area could transition over time to include more urban housing; particularly if the existing rail spur abandonedenvironmental and converted into a bikeand trail.future market conditions, Depending uponisunderlying conditions this area could transition over time to include more urban housing; particularly if the existing rail spur is abandoned and converted into a bike trail.

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

north point north point a.k.a. “the a.k.a. “thetriangle” triangle”

Asinnoted in previous the large triangle-shaped area formedDarlington, by Lucas, As noted previous plans, theplans, large triangle-shaped area formed by Lucas, and IrbyaStreets representsforaarare for a development large master and IrbyDarlington, Streets represents rare opportunity largeopportunity master planned plannedentry development at theThe northern to downtown. precise use-mix at the northern to downtown. preciseentry use-mix however isThe virtually impossible however is virtually impossible to know (and problematic to dictate) given current to know (and problematic to dictate) given current market, and possible environmental, market, and possible environmental, conditions. conditions. While standard-box commercial development would likely be attracted to this site, While standard-box commercial development would likely be attracted to this site, citizens citizens have repeatedly stated that there is a “higher and better” use for it. Ideas have repeatedly stated that there is a “higher and better” use for it. Ideas put forth include put forth include everything from tourism, recreation, spectator sports, education everything from tourism, recreation, spectator sports, education and other kinds of and other kinds of “destination” development. However, unless the City is willing “destination” development. However, unless the City is willing to take the necessary steps to take the necessary steps to control the site and keep it in-tact through public

north point alternative a

north point alternative b

S CA LU

S CA LU

SUMPTER

DARLINGTON

DARGAN

IRBY

IRBY

DARGAN

SUMPTER

DARLINGTON

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Proposed building types. Images for illustration only.

Master-planned, mixed-unit development For illustration only.

ownership, it remains to being “chopped up” for a potentially range to of to control the site and vulnerable keep it in-tact through public ownership, it remainswide vulnerable uses. being “chopped up” for a potentially wide range of uses. While the real real estate estate market market recovers, recovers, the the City City can can help help lay lay the the groundwork groundwork for for quality quality While the master-planned, “mixed-unit” development development by by working working to to assemble assemble and and control control key key master-planned, “mixed-unit” pieces of land and applying certain regulatory tools. These tools include PUD-style pieces of land and applying certain regulatory tools. These tools include PUD-style overlay zoning, possible possible subdivision subdivision controls, controls, access access management management controls, controls, and and firm firm overlay zoning, application application of of the the City’s City’s Downtown Downtown Design Design Guidelines. Guidelines. At a minimum, minimum, developers developers should should be be compelled compelled to to observe observe a a handful handful of of basic basic land land At a planning guidelines as they “program” the site. These include the use of: nominally planning guidelines as they “program” the site. These include the use of: nominally consistent building materials; materials; internalized internalized parking parking and and circulation; circulation; aa comprehensive comprehensive consistent building DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

into storm water management solution; and through-block street access connecting into for landmarklandmarkthe surrounding street system. Prominent corner sites should be reserved for right-of-way quality buildings. In the event of its decommissioning, the lightly used rail right-of-way that parallels Lucas Street should be acquired for a bike path extension. Finally, Finally, since since the the site site will will involve involve all all new new development, development, there there is is an an opportunity opportunity for for maximum maximum creativity creativity in in site site design design and and architecture architecture including including the the application application of of sustainable sustainable development development techniques techniques and and possibly possibly even even alternative alternative sources sources of of energy. energy. A A LEED-ND-rating LEED-ND-rating for for this this high high profile profile site site would would make make aa powerful powerful statement statement for for the the city city and and help help differentiate differentiate the the development development in in the the marketplace. marketplace. Any Any City City incentives incentives for for redeveloping redeveloping the the site site (such (such as as through through TIF), TIF), should should be be conditioned conditioned on on the the highest highest quality quality design design including including sustainable sustainable design. design.

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

cultural campus

Although each building in the City’s growing Cultural District is impressive in its own right, they don’t constitute a greater whole. That is, there aren’t any unifying landscape features that tie the buildings together visually or spatially, and the open lawns between them are little more than leftover spaces. Although streetscaping would help to a certain extent, it won’t by itself be enough to create the grand setting that these monumental buildings deserve. The cultural “district” would make a more powerful statement if it was reconceived as a cultural campus where open space is increased and knitted together to create a parklike setting. With some creative landscape design and the attrition of many of the older office buildings on the west side of Dargan Street, today’s

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Images for illustration only.

Grand civic space in the City Beautiful tradition With some creative and the attrition many the older office Cultural District couldlandscape potentiallydesign be transformed into theoftype of of grand civic space buildings on the west side of Dargan District of could currently lacking in Downtown. Such aStreet, spacetoday’s could Cultural be reminiscent the potentially great City be transformed into the type of grandwhen civic iconic space currently lacking in Downtown. Such Beautiful Era parks (c.1893-1930) cultural institutions were placed in a space could be reminiscent the great aCity Beautiful Era parks when lushly landscaped urban parksofproviding dramatic backdrop for(c.1893-1930) the architecture. In iconic cultural were in lushly landscaped parksthe providing a Florence’s owninstitutions interpretation of placed this design model, the lawns urban in between buildings dramatic backdrop for the architecture. In Florence’s own interpretation of this design along Dargan Street could be tied together with common landscaping elements. Other model, the lawns in could between buildings along Dargan public Street could tied together in-between spaces be the used for special gardens, art, orbe special events. with landscaping elements. Other in-between spaces could used for section special Withcommon some “urban surgery” (and reconfiguration of parking), the be one-block gardens, publicbetween art, or special events. WithStreets some “urban surgery” (and reconfiguration of Pine Street Irby and Dargan could be transformed into a “great of parking), the one-block section of Pineand Street between and green Dargan lawn” that could tie the district together be used as aIrby public orStreets centralcould park.

be transformed a “greatsection lawn” that could tie the district together and beof used as a Abandoning thisinto one-block of Pine Street would allow the creation a grand public green or centralitpark. Abandoning this one-block public space however wouldn’t be absolutely critical. section of Pine Street would allow the creation of a grand public space however it wouldn’t be absolutely critical. Florence’s cultural commons (or public gardens) would be a major regional andmark Florence’s cultural commons public gardens) would district be a major regional landmark that would provide a physical (or framework for the cultural and put the city on par that would provide a physical the cultural districtprovide and putathe city on par with other cities having majorframework downtownfor amenities. It would public space with other cities having majorlacking, downtown provide a publichousing space Downtown that is currently and amenities. help drive Itawould stronger Downtown Downtown lacking,from and phasing-out help drive athestronger Downtown market. Thethat lost istaxcurrently base resulting office buildings on housing Dargan market.beThe lost taxwith base resulting from phasing-out would replaced denser infill along Irby Street. the office buildings on Dargan would be replaced with denser infill along Irby Street.

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

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special issue areas Historic District The City’s admirable efforts to garner recognition for its Downtown historic district, including getting parts of it listed on the National Register, is a solid first step in building more local appreciation for it (and developer interest in it). However unless this is backed up with a rigorous code enforcement regime to protect the buildings from prolonged periods of deferred maintenance, many of them are at risk of basically being demolished through neglect. The result could soon be gap-toothed blocks and a severely eroded sense of place. A basic code enforcement program is a fundamental “public health and safety” function of the City. It helps instill investor confidence by protecting the value of new projects against encroaching blight, and helps “mothball” historic buildings awaiting renovation. (It may also motivate recalcitrant property owners to sell or donate their buildings rather than just hold them as is.) The implementation of such a code would empower the City to take action preventing the spread of blight. Infractions not dealt with within a reasonable timeframe would trigger the City to undertake the repairs itself and apply a lien against the property.


Serving as the historical nexus of the region

New visions of Downtown. Source: Florence Downtown Revitalization Strategy, 2004 - 2007, Allison Platt & Associates

Historic renovation projects projects in in smaller smaller cities cities like like Florence Florence are are often often very very difficult difficult to to make make Historic renovation work financially. Even with various tax credits, the costs of renovation often exceed work financially. Even with various tax credits, the costs of renovation often exceed the building’s revenue revenue generating generating potential. potential. Consequently, Consequently, such such projects projects either either involve involve the building’s multiple layers layers of of financing financing and and a a host host of of incentives incentives to to drive drive down down development development costs costs multiple or or they they just just don’t don’t get get done. done. With this in mind, the City should be receptive to project ideas that require creative With this in mind, the City should be receptive to project ideas that require creative “deal structuring” to make work including those involving affordable housing tax “deal structuring” to make work including those involving affordable housing tax credits, rehabilitation tax credits, New Markets Tax Credits, and potential TIF financing. credits, rehabilitation tax credits, New Markets Tax Credits, and potential TIF financing. In addition, a general appeal should be made to certain property owners to donate their In addition, a general appeal should be made to certain property owners to donate their property to the FDDC. (With today’s depressed property values, some owners may property to the FDDC. (With today’s depressed property values, some owners may well realize a larger net financial benefit through tax deduction than through an outright DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

well realize a larger net financial benefit through tax deduction than through an outright sale.) sale.) The The FDDC FDDC in in turn turn could could market market the the buildings buildings to to private private developers developers at at a a very very nominal nominal purchase purchase price. price. Steeply Steeply discounted discounted ‘bulk’ ‘bulk’ property property combined combined with with different different types types of of tax tax credits, credits, will will be be key key to to making making these these projects projects financially financially feasible. feasible. The The window window to to act act on on this this won’t won’t be be open open indefinitely. indefinitely. Some Some of of the the buildings buildings already already are are in poor repair repair with with structural structural and and roof roof problems problems that that will will quickly quickly worsen worsen with with continued continued in poor lack of maintenance. maintenance. At for lack of At some some point point restoration restoration may may become become completely completely infeasible infeasible for many of these structures and demolition may be the only course. Over time, the City many of these structures and demolition may be the only course. Over time, the City could gradually lose lose the the singular singular feature feature that that grounds grounds itit in in both both time time and and place place as as the the could gradually historical nexus of the region. historical nexus of the region.

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

parking parking

Downtowns must accommodate parking withoutwithout becoming overwhelmed with parking. Downtowns must accommodate parking becoming overwhelmed with Large expanses surface parking gives cities gives a barren feel and have deadening parking. Largeofexpanses of surface parking cities a barren feela and have a effect on pedestrian life.pedestrian They also life. lessen a also city’slessen potential tax base. As voiced in the deadening effect on They a city’s potential tax base. As public meetings for thismeetings plan, thefor citythis is plan, in need comprehensive, shared parking voiced in the public theofcity is in need of comprehensive, strategies in order strategies to move away fromtothe ‘one building, one‘one parking lot’ development shared parking in order move away from the building, one parking pattern that have leftpattern large holes in theleft City’s urban lot’ development that have large holesfabric. in the City’s urban fabric. In order to create the kind of “solid-block” environment that invites walking, Florence will need In order to create kindfrom of “solid-block” walking, to start movingthe away single-user environment parking in a that fairlyinvites drastic way. InFlorence additionwill to need to start moving away fromopportunities, single-user parking a fairly drastic way. In addition maximizing on-street parking this willinmean strategically placed public to maximizing on-streetparking. parkingParking opportunities, this however will meanare strategically placedtopublic lots and structured structures very expensive build lots and structured parking. Parking structures however are very expensive to build

IRBY

CITY Y-COU O NT N Y CO OMPLEX

PA AR RK KIN NG GARA GA GARA RAGE GE

Structured parking helps to minimize the negative impacts of surface lots

Judicial Center concept. Source: Allison Platt & Associates

Proposed parking structure type. For illustration only.

30


($15,000 - $20,000 per space) and generally don’t make financial sense where land costs are low and land vacancy is high. (This is because it is far less expensive for private developers to provide surface parking, and because of the public’s unwillingness to pay for parking when there is ample free surface parking nearby.) Greater development density or major public incentives will likely need to accompany the private development of structures. Public structures too, when they are financed with public revenue bonds, are also sensitive to the same market dynamics. That is, they must pay for themselves, in whole or in part, with lease revenue or hourly receipts. This has a major impact on the location decision. If funded through general obligation bonds however, public structures are accepted as more of a true (‘dead weight’) public good like parks and schools and are often placed close to other public facilities. Florence’s decision to fund public structures in the future must weigh special user needs with those of the general public and fiscal reality. The selected funding mechanism may have a strong bearing on the location decision. In either case, public structures must be located where they will serve the greatest number of people on the greatest number of days, not where they will serve only occasional peak-time demands. If the City decides to move forward with a first public parking structure (and assuming it will be financed with general obligation bonds), the optimal location would be in the current City/County Building lot. This assumes that the proposed judicial center is constructed on Irby Street and/ or a new transit center is located directly nearby (the second best location). This area makes the most sense because it will become completely parking “impacted” with the introduction of the judicial center and because the public uses here are a solid “five days, 52 weeks per year”. A structure here could also equally serve business in the historic district. A secondary location would be somewhere along the north side of Cheves Street roughly between Coit and Baroody Streets provided that a significant amount of new

infill development would occur here as well (particularly west of Dargan Street). A structure here could also serve the historic district, the Performing Arts Center and Museum however it seems doubtful that the average traffic created by the latter two could come close to that of the City/County Complex. However, if a significant amount of additional development can be anticipated elsewhere on Cheves Street including a potential transit center, the priority could be reversed in which case the structure may be developed only partially with public funds under a public-private-public partnership involving state or Federal transportation grants, private dollars, and City revenue bonds (i.e. where eventgoers pay for parking and some of the space is leased to newly developed adjacent businesses for instance). A structure at this location (i.e. somewhere on the 100 block of East Cheves Street) could also potentially be organized as a private condominium development that sells or leases spaces to the City and other major users. Conversely, a stand-alone structure to primarily serve the peak uses of the Arts Center and Museum would not be an optimal use of public funds. To recap, if the structure is to be for pure public use and it is accepted that it will have to be funded out of general revenues, the City/County complex is probably where is ought to go. If the structure will need to be more self-supporting, other locations in/near Cheves Street may make more sense provided that parts of it can be leased to nearby entities or time sold by the hour. A third priority location for a public structure would be along Irby Street in the vicinity of the Little Theater and Library. A structure here may eventually be warranted to consolidate some of the parking for these facilities and the Wachovia Bank building particularly if the vision for a cultural campus is to materialize. Privately developed structured parking should be built elsewhere in the Irby corridor especially near the proposed financial district at the intersection of Irby and Palmetto.

31 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

housing housing

Downtowns need people living in them in order to thrive. Most successful Downtown Downtowns living in them in order thrive. Most successful rejuvenation need effortspeople over the past 20 years havetoactually led with housing Downtown which has rejuvenation efforts over the past 20 years have actually led with housing has provided a market for Downtown businesses and provided consistent activitywhich at various provided a market for week. Downtown businesses andcities provided activity at various times of the day and And although most preferconsistent “market rate” housing, the times of edge the day Andmarket although mostconsists cities prefer rate”percentage housing, the leading of and the week. housing usually of a“market significant of leading edge of theThe housing market usually consists of tax a significant percentage of affordable housing. affordable projects can leverage credits making otherwise affordable The affordable projects leverage tax creditsAny making unfeasible housing. projects viable, while helping spurcan market-rate housing. effortotherwise therefore unfeasible projects viable, reinvestment while helping should spur market-rate effortoftherefore to encourage Downtown focus on housing. housing Any as one the first to encourage Downtown reinvestment should focus on housing as one of the first courses of action. courses of action.

Positive example of an existing building type. Coit Village, Phase 1.

32

New housing should be one of the first courses of action.

Example of a Downtown building with residential potential.


Proposed building types. Images for illustration only.

At present, present, there there are are far far too too few few people people living living in in the the heart heart of of Downtown Downtown to to support support local local At businesses and and maintain maintain consistent consistent activity. activity. Also, Also, given given current current conditions conditions Downtown, Downtown, businesses and the the limited limited size size of of the the local local luxury luxury urban urban housing housing market, market, the the City City shouldn’t shouldn’t expect expect and a flood flood of of condo condo developers developers even even once once the the market market does does recover. recover. The The City City therefore therefore a would be be wise wise to to encourage encourage more more high-quality high-quality affordable affordable housing housing developments developments would Downtown particularly particularly in in some some of of the the historic historic buildings buildings that that probably probably won’t won’t get get restored restored Downtown without some some type type of of major major tax tax incentives incentives (i.e. (i.e. where where the the cost cost of of rehab rehab is is likely likely to to greatly greatly without exceed resale resale value value or or projected projected rental rental income). income). Affordable Affordable housing housing tax tax credits credits are are exceed also generally generally the the least least onerous onerous credits credits to to acquire acquire or or work work with with making making these these projects projects also quicker to to bring bring to to market. market. As As a a good good local local example, example, Coit Coit Village Village is is a a newly newly constructed constructed quicker project that that has, has, by by most most accounts, accounts, been been positively positively received received in in the the market. market. project DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

An obvious obviouscandidate candidate affordable housing tax credits is the multi-story Trust An for for affordable housing tax credits is the multi-story Trust building at building at the southwest corner of Evans and Irby. The building is believed to be in a the southwest corner of Evans and Irby. The building is believed to be in a condition that condition that would require a infusion considerable infusion of money to repairinto andapartments convert into– would require a considerable of money to repair and convert apartments probably farsupportable more than is supportable with current market probably far –more than is with current market rents alone. Therents mostalone. likely The most likelyfor reuse scenariowould for thebebuilding would beresidential a mixed-income reuse scenario the building a mixed-income buildingresidential including building a majority of affordable combined with a smaller percentage a majorityincluding of affordable units combined withunits a smaller percentage of market-rate units of market-rate units on theEven prime top floors. Even though the market for tax credits is on the prime top floors. though the market for tax credits is weak at this time, weak at thiscan time,help the credits can help raisecapital scarcethat equity capital wouldn’t that probably wouldn’t the credits raise scarce equity probably otherwise be otherwiseto bethe attracted themost project. The most plausible near-term scenario upper attracted project.toThe plausible near-term scenario for upper floorfor housing floor housing elsewhere the historic districtlive/work is merchant elsewhere in the historic in district is merchant units.live/work units.

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011 FINAL DRAFT DECEMBER 2, 2010

Other housing should include a combination of rental and condo units in mixed-use Other housing should include a combination of rental and condo units in and single-use buildings distributed throughout Downtown. These units could be in mixed-use and single-use buildings distributed throughout Downtown. These smaller infill projects master planned should be provided units could or belarger in smaller infill projectsprojects. or largerUnits master planned projects. at differentUnits priceshould levels. be In the commercial heartprice of Downtown, should usually provided at different levels. In these the commercial heart take the form of above-storefront units. Closer theform neighborhood fringe areas, of Downtown, these should usually taketothe of above-storefront units. urban townhouses style, “walk-up” apartments are more appropriate. Closer toand the garden neighborhood fringe areas, urban townhouses and garden style, “walk-up” apartments are more appropriate. Two areas of particular

SITE PLAN FOR FOR COIT COITVILLAGE, VILLAGE, PHASE II AND III

Two areas focus of particular the lower Dargan Street the area should focus be theshould lower be Dargan Street area and thearea areaand around Coit around Coit Village. Both areas can accommodate a significant of new Village. Both areas can accommodate a significant amountamount of new housing withDargan DarganStreet Streetbeing beingperhaps perhapsthe thebest bestlocation locationtotosupport supporthigher-end, higher-end, housing with

34


Proposed building types. Images for illustration only.

Downtown should offer a combination of affordable and market-rate housing. market-rate housing. This area was one of the city’s original upscale neighborhoods, housing. This one investment of the city’soccurring original upscale neighborhoods, and with all and with all thearea newwas cultural there, can become this once again. the new cultural investment occurring there, can become this once again. The area The area should be downzoned for low-density multifamily residential (i.e. such as should be downzoned for low-density multifamily (i.e. such as New rowhouses) rowhouses) with small inns and other cultural usesresidential also being permitted. offices with small inns and other cultural uses also being permitted. New offices and retail, on and retail, on the other hand, shouldn’t be allowed. There are many better Downtown the other for hand, shouldn’t be allowed. There better locations for locations office development whereas thereare aremany far fewer thatDowntown will support higher-end office development whereas there are far fewer that will support higher-end housing. housing. Additional phases Additional phases of of Coit Coit Village Village development development at at the the corner corner of of Coit Coit and and Darlington Darlington Streets provide Streets provide an an opportunity opportunity for for more more newly newly constructed constructed affordable affordable housing. housing. This This possibility possibility is is realistic realistic in in light light of of the the apparent apparent success success of of the the first first phase phase combined combined with with

DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

the relatively high amount of vacant and underutilized land in the immediate area. the relatively high could amount of vacant and underutilized in theinto immediate area. Additional phases transform the current stand-aloneland buildings the true urban Additional phases could transform the current stand-alone buildings into the true urban village that currently exists in name only. village that currently exists in name only. Pure market rate housing on the other hand, will probably occur mostly in new, Pure marketmixed-use rate housing on the other hand, for willthe probably occur future. mostlyThe in new, largerscale construction projects foreseeable onelargermajor scale mixed-use construction projects for the foreseeable future. one district major exception to this again is the lower Dargan street corridor where theThe cultural exception to drive this again the lower cultural district should help qualityisurban infill Dargan housing street on thecorridor easternwhere edge the of the district. The should could help drive quality urban infill housing on the eastern edge ofinto the monumental district. The market be given greater impetus if the cultural district is wrapped marketdescribed could be given greater impetus if the cultural district is wrapped into monumental space earlier. space described earlier.

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

mobility mobility

Downtown Florence is a fairly easy place to get around by automobile. It isn’t as Downtown Florence is a fairly easy place to get around by automobile. It isn’t as convenient convenient to navigate by other means, and walking is inhibited by the distance between to navigate by other means, and walking is inhibited by the distance between major building major building groups and heavy traffic on through streets. The edges of Downtown groups and heavy traffic on through streets. The edges of Downtown and its major attractions and its major attractions are also not well marked giving it a pass-through quality. In are also not well marked giving it a pass-through quality. In all cases the city needs to place all cases the city needs to place greater emphasis on the overall user experience, greater emphasis on the overall user experience, including visitors and pedestrians and including visitors and pedestrians and accommodate alternative forms of transit such accommodate alternative forms of transit such as bike and bus. as bike and bus.

36

This plan doesn’t put forth any new recommendations for major street improvements except Thisthat planadd doesn’t put forth any new recommendations for major street streetscaping, improvements for those to overall street functionality and appearance; particularly exceptsigns, for those that add to overall utility streetlines, functionality and appearance; particularly wayfinding the burying of overhead and maximizing opportunities for bike streetscaping, wayfinding signs, and maximizing opportunities for bike lanes and that onlanes and on-street parking. These are shown on the map below. One street in particular street parking. These are shown on the map below. One street in particular that is

Street improvement concepts. Source: Florence Downtown Revitalization Strategy, 2004 2007, Allison Platt & Associates


ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


Mixed-use concept. Source: Florence Downtown Revitalization Strategy, 2004 - 2007, Allison Platt & Associates

Proposed building type. For illustration only.

is critical importanceis isthe theeast eastend endofofEvans EvansStreet Streetbetween between Dargan Dargan and and the the back back of of critical importance entrance to the the hospital. hospital. Here, Here, the the combination combination of of excessive excessive street street width, width, lack lack of of entrance to building fronts, and rail and overpass divisions make this a barren, (‘neither here nor building fronts, and rail and overpass divisions make this a barren, (‘neither here nor there’) stretch of of road. road. Although Although little little that that can can be be done done about about the the rail rail and and overpass, overpass, there’) stretch major street beautification beautification will will help help to to better better define define the the street street as as a a vitally vitally important important “back “back major street door” connection between Downtown and the McLeod campus. It should be positioned door” connection between Downtown and the McLeod campus. It should be positioned the principal pedestrian/transit pedestrian/transit connection connection to to Downtown Downtown by by hospital hospital employees employees and and the principal visitors, and and accommodate accommodate walking, walking, biking biking and and transit transit shuttle shuttle service. service. The The street street should should visitors, also (and can) can) support support additional additional on-street on-street parking parking to to accommodate accommodate the the needs needs of of the the also (and Business Technology Center and any new development along Evans street particularly Business Technology Center and any new development along Evans street particularly the current current transit transit staging staging area area is is relocated. relocated. ifif the DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

Example of a farmers’ market. For illustration only.

TheThe prescription is an of the Downtown streetscape to the railroad tracks; prescription is extension an extension of the Downtown streetscape to the railroad tracks; effectively narrowing the the right-of-way withwith angle parking on both sides of the street, effectively narrowing right-of-way angle parking on both sides of the street, andand adding street trees andand lighting to create a vertical “street wall”wall” to frame the the line-lineadding street trees lighting to create a vertical “street to frame of-sight to the Dargan/ Evans intersection. NewNew sidewalks should eventually be added of-sight to the Dargan/ Evans intersection. sidewalks should eventually be added to improve the the walking experience. If and when anyany of the sitessites along the the street get get to improve walking experience. If and when of the along street redeveloped, theythey should better define the the street space by being oriented to the street redeveloped, should better define street space by being oriented to the street andand placed closer to it.to it. placed closer The City should update its capital improvements program (CIP) to reflect the right-ofway improvements noted above. The undergrounding of overhead utility lines should be coordinated in conjunction with all new roadway reconstruction projects and/or any scheduled water and sewer improvements.

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ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

40

TRANSIT CENTER Exciting efforts are currently underway to build a new intermodal transit center Downtown. Such a facility promises to stimulate other investments and will help reinforce Downtown as the place where all things come together. Such a facility though has to be located near to where potential ridership generators are most concentrated, and where buses can be staged without conflicting with adjacent uses. Ideally, the project would be connected to Amtrak’s Palmetto line service making it a true intermodal hub. This would require relocating the current Amtrak station to a more central Downtown location. Also factored into the decision-making is the fact that the project will be largely funded with Federal grant dollars. This presents an opportunity to wrap the costs of ancillary facilities, such as structured parking, into the total cost of the project. Although structured parking may provide additional benefits external to the project (it could potentially serve adjacent development), it still needs to be a place where it will be used on a fairly regular basis in order to make sense. In short, if the City wants to get a deal on a parking structure that will attract maximum use, the transit center will need to be convenient to one or more of Downtown’s major activity centers. This is a further constraint on its location. There are several sites in or near Downtown that could be potentially used for the proposed transit center. Which of them is ultimately selected will depend on a host of variables including: site availability/suitability, cost and any timing contraints on the start or completion of construction as stipulated by funders.


ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011


Financial Assistance

As si

a st

Tax Abatements / TIF Private Activity Bonds

Fin an cia l

Revolving Loan Fund Loan Guarantee

Technical Assistance

e nc

Tax Credits

Business Planning Monitoring On-Call Consultation - Legal

Business Climate Good

- Financial - Marketing

Affordable Land / Rent

- Operations Incubator

ss is ta nc e

Business Idea

DYNAMICS OF BC

lA a c i hn Tec

Good Business Climate Regulations Taxes, Licenses Utilities Politics Permitting (One-Stop Shop)

Downtown Downtown development development means means economic economic omic development. development. Especially Especially in in today’s today’s economic environment, a singular focus on real estate development (supply) economic environment, a singular focus on real estate development (supply) without without aa complementary effort complementary effort to to develop develop or or recruit recruitit businesses businesses to to occupy occupy itit (demand) (demand) will will have have limited limited success. success. Incentives Incentives and and supports supportss need need to to be be created created for for businesses businesses as as well well as as buildings, buildings, and and the the City City will will sometimes sometimes need need to to coax coax difficult difficult projects projects into into existence existence using all all resources resources at at its its disposal. disposal. using

economic economic development development DRAFT FEBRUARY PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010 ADOPTED 14, 2011

The City’s main role in getting private real estate projects off the ground will typically The City’s main role in getting private real estate projects off the ground will typically involve three things: assembling and reselling land (possibly at a discount), providing involve three things: assembling and reselling land (possibly at a discount), providing low-cost subordinated ‘gap’ financing to businesses and developers, and ensuring fair low-cost subordinated ‘gap’ financing to businesses and developers, and ensuring fair and timely permitting. With regard to business creation, it also involves helping to lineand timely permitting. With regard to business creation, it also involves helping to line-

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

up no/low cost business technical assistance such as through a university or technical college and providing antechnical overall environment conducive to business formation. A up no/low cost business assistance such as through a university or technical Downtown incubator such has been proposed can do much to support this but college and providing an as overall environment conducive to business formation. A itDowntown will need to be complemented hard financialcan resources provided or procured incubator such as haswith been proposed do much to support this but by the need City ortoentities working on the These resources must be specially it will be complemented withCity’s hardbehalf. financial resources provided or procured targeted to Downtown. by the City or entities working on the City’s behalf. These resources must be specially targeted to Downtown. Conventional economic development approaches emphasize aggressive City Conventional economic development approaches City marketing and outside business recruitment. These are emphasize expensive toaggressive do with usually marketing andresults outside These aredesired expensive to of dochain with usually disappointing in business traditionalrecruitment. urban markets. Most types stores disappointing in traditional urban markets. Most typesdo, of will chain stores won’t locate inresults a traditional ‘main street’ downtown anddesired when they demand

an inordinate amount of public subsidy. Increasingly, cities are realizing that a homegrown approach is a better‘main strategy. Local businesses provide more flavor and won’t locate in a traditional street’ downtown and when they do, local will demand an are more apt to patronize other local businesses. They also don’t need to be “sold” on inordinate amount of public subsidy. Increasingly, cities are realizing that a homegrown Florence they alreadyLocal havebusinesses a connection to it. more local flavor and are more approachbecause is a better strategy. provide apt to patronize other local businesses. They also don’t need to be “sold” on Florence Targeting economic development resources because they already have a connection to it.on Downtown is part of a larger economic development strategy for the city as whole. It will involve building the capacity of FDDC staff and local entrepreneurs as well as building public investment leverage Targeting economic development resources on Downtown is part ofcapital a largertoeconomic private capitalstrategy and vise-versa. It will require use of TIF development for the city as also whole. It will creative involve building thefinancing. capacity of FDDC staff and local entrepreneurs as well as building public investment capital to leverage private capital and vise-versa. It will also require creative use of TIF financing.

FOUR PLANKS OF DOWNTOWN REGENERATION

s nt ive ce

Land Assembly Brokering Tax Credits Business Technical Assistance Revolving Loan Fund Management Minor Public Improvements Special Events Advocacy Marketing

an

ag e

m

en

t

Proposed building types. Images for illustration only.

M

Financial Resources

In

Development

FDDC

Promotion Personnel Resources

Merchant’s Association Business Improvement District

44


The fund could potentially be capitalized with CDBG and foundation grants, SBA funds, pooled bank loans, and TIF funds and can potentially be structured as a loan guarantee program in order to maximize leverage. Local banks should be recruited into a consortium to administer and manage the fund (potentially in the form of a bank CDC as way to meet their Community Reinvestment Act requirements) as well as being the main loan/loan guarantee providers. The fund would be used primarily to support business owner/operators; including those “birthed” in the incubator. Loan parameters should be such that they are big enough to help support high impact projects, but not so high that the fund is quickly tapped out or overexposed. As for incenting real estate projects, the City’s main focus should be on providing access to financing which is currently unavailable or insufficient at commercial banks, and helping to package land. Land assembly can take place through various means including: direct purchase, assignable options, tax foreclosure, syndication, donation and in extreme cases involving severe blight, condemnation. It will need to be matched with creative use of the City’s TIF powers; specifically in packaging low interest financing that can be passed on to developers. One way to provide scarce financing may be through the use of Private Activity Bonds (PABs). The entire City of Florence is a Federally designated Enterprise Community allowing it to issue PABs to raise debt capital for private development. PABs allow cities to issue tax-exempt bonds on behalf of private investors that are paid back directly by the investors. They work like Industrial Development Bonds where the bonds are not generally backed by the full faith and credit of the City and don’t count against the City’s debt caps. They are subject however to State caps. The two types of PABs that may be available to the City are: Qualified Redevelopment Bonds and Enterprise Zone bonds. Both types of bonds are designed to fight blight and can be used for commercial development and housing.

economic development ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14, 2011

TIF-funded public improvements can be coordinated with (and potentially wrapped into the financing of) private development. General revenues as well as pledged revenues from outside the TIF district such as water and sewer fees are other possible ways to back the City’s TIF and bring it to life by funding key public projects. The City’s legal counsel will need to check state statutes to determine any applicable restrictions on how TIF-financing is used. As a way to activate its current Downtown TIF district, the City should consider expanding its boundaries into areas where new development is anticipated. Extending it eastward along Cheves and Evans Streets for instance may allow it to passively capture revenues from the taxable portion of new hospital-related development. Other incentives could include the City and/or County agreeing to extend the County’s 5-year tax abatement program, and/or refunding business license fees exclusively for new Downtown businesses. An incentive to existing businesses may be a façade improvement program funded or working capital loans funded through grants, TIF or a revolving loan fund. In all cases, the City should use incentives only for projects that wouldn’t occur in their absence, are for fundamentally viable enterprises, and only for projects that advance the vision set forth in the plan. Most often, they should be used to close any cost/revenue imbalances created by projects that may not be feasible on their own; specifically projects that include some “public good” such as restoring historic buildings, providing structured parking and removing blight.

As a basic starter-program for Downtown development, the City should recapitalize its revolving loan fund specifically for downtown businesses and downtown developers. The fund would be used to provide “gap” financing for viable businesses where the owner/investor can demonstrate commitment, competency and capacity; and can bring a significant amount of their own equity to a project as well as some conventional bank financing. The fund should be specifically targeted to projects that help fill unmet market needs such as restaurants and specialty retail so as not to create additional competition for current Downtown businesses.

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DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 2010 ADOPTED FEBRUARY 14,1,2011

46

Management: FDDC 2.0 FLORENCE DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT FOCI

Sustainable Management & Funding

Incentives & Promotions

concertedDowntown Downtownregeneration regenerationeffort effortwill will need need to to be be led A Aconcerted led by by aa fully fullyempowered empowered FDDCwith withdedicated, dedicated,professional professionalleadership. leadership.An An executive executive director director for FDDC for the theFDDC FDDCwill will need to be hired with solid deal-making credentials. This person will be responsible need to be hired with solid deal-making credentials. This person will be responsible for for initiating both initiating and managing conducting businessand outreach, and both and managing projects, projects, conducting business outreach, coordinating coordinating with City and County planning and economic staff. Theto with City and County planning and economic development staff.development The person will need person will need to be highly entrepreneurial and be capable of handling business be highly entrepreneurial and be capable of handling business development services, as development services, asestate well asdevelopment unconventional real involving estate development projects well as unconventional real projects tax credits and other involving They tax credits andtoother They willof need broad knowledge of subsidies. will need havesubsidies. broad knowledge howtotohave access various economic how to access various economic development programs offered through the State, development programs offered through the State, County and Federal governments as County and Federal governments as well as programs and resources available well as programs and resources available through local educational institutions. The through institutions. person willwith need to form strong working person willlocal neededucational to form strong workingThe relationships these organizations along relationships with these organizations along with the local business community at with the local business community at large. large. A significant amount of the ED’s time will also be spent on business retention, A significant amountand of the ED’s timeactivities. will alsoThe be latter spent will on require businessprofessional retention, expansion, advocacy recruitment expansion, advocacy and recruitment activities. The latter will require professional marketing materials including a special Downtown website featuring information on marketing materials including a special Downtown website City programs, processes, market characteristics and ideally,featuring availableinformation real estate.onIt City programs, processes, market characteristics and ideally, available real estate. will be important that the person not be expected to spend an excessive amount of time It will be important that the person not be expected to spend an excessive amount performing ancillary functions such as event planning and other purely promotional of time performing ancillary functionsstaff such planning otherwillpurely (chamber-type) activities. Until support canasbeevent brought on, theand person need promotional (chamber-type) activities. Until support staff can be brought on, the to rely on city staff (specifically the City’s Downtown Development Coordinator) and person will needtotohelp rely on (specifically City’sasDowntown Development board members outcity withstaff core functions the as well extra projects. The ED Coordinator) and board to help out with core functions as well as extra should be responsible formembers helping coalesce a self-managing downtown merchant’s projects. The ED should be responsible for helping coalesce a self-managing association, but shouldn’t be seen as the organization’s leader or principal staff person. downtown merchant’sshould association, shouldn’t be seen of asthe theCity’s organization’s Program management remain abut primary responsibility Downtown leader or principal staff person. Program management should remain a primary Development Coordinator. This person should continue to manage Main Street-type responsibility of the City’s Downtown Development Coordinator. This person should functions such as organizing, educating, and promotions as well as serve in a support continue to manage Main Street-type functions such as organizing, educating, and capacity to the FDDC Executive Director. promotions as well as serve in a support capacity to the FDDC Executive Director.

Business Development

Land Development

The Executive Director will often need to rely on the special expertise brought by The Executive Director will often need to rely on the special expertise brought individual board members and mobilize the board to help implement certain tasks. The by individual board members and mobilize the board to help implement certain FDDC Board therefore needs to be active, involved and help round out the abilities of tasks. The FDDC Board therefore needs to be active, involved and help round the Executive Director. For this reason, it may be advantageous for the FDDC to move out the abilities of the Executive Director. For this reason, it may be advantageous toward a smaller, working board made up of contributing members with applicable for the FDDC to move toward a smaller, working board made up of contributing expertise in real estate, banking, fund raising, and business management than the members with applicable expertise in real estate, banking, fund raising, and current ‘representative’ board structure. Alternatively, the board could be organized business management than the current ‘representative’ board structure. into special subcommittees around specific functions or action items such as Alternatively, the board could be organized into special subcommittees around organizing and managing a revolving loan fund. The Executive Director will need to specific functions or action items such as organizing and managing a revolving be adept at organizing and managing these committees; putting to good use all of loan fund. The Executive Director will need to be adept at organizing and the talents currently on the board and maintaining these relationships; and recruiting managing these committees; putting to good use all of the talents currently on outside expertise as needed. Board members should understand that their role is to the board and maintaining these relationships; and recruiting outside expertise meaningfully contribute by working, not just by attending meetings. as needed. Board members should understand that their role is to meaningfully contribute by working, not just by attending meetings.


Potential FDDC revenue streams include special events, loans, and developer fees. For illustration only.

Peter Mazzaroni, Chairman of the FDDC, addressing the Downtown Charrette in March 2010. Source: Aaron Gotter

Finally, the FDDC needs to follow a strategic plan that continually sharpens the Finally, the FDDC needsfocus to follow strategic thatit continually sharpens organization’s programmatic andabegins to plan move toward some degreetheof organization’s programmatic focus andstreams begins to movecome it toward some degree financial self-sufficiency. Potential revenue could from rents, loan of financial revenue streams come from rents, administration fees,self-sufficiency. special events,Potential and earned developer feescould where the organization loaninstrumental administration fees, specialland events, and earned whereofthe has been in assembling or procuring taxdeveloper credits. Afees rewriting its organization has been instrumental in assembling or procuring tax with credits. strategic plan to address some of these issues is beingland done concurrently this plan. A rewriting of its strategic plan to address some of these issues is being done concurrently with this plan.

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implementation Effective implementation begins by aligning the community’s energies and resources around good projects that are currently ‘in play’. At the time of this writing, these include: the proposed judicial center, the downtown transit center and business incubator, the Artisan Center, and the handful of private development projects that are in various stages of ‘due diligence”. These projects should be coaxed along by helping to plug financing gaps, expedited permitting, facilitating property negotiations mobilizing political support, coordinated infrastructure improvements, and creatively looking for ways to tap existing public programs. Concurrently, the City should begin to put in place the programs and institutional structures leading to a sustainable climate of reinvestment.


Immediate Priorities (0 - 1 Years) Programmatic Hire an Executive Director for the FDDC Recommended Steps: • Carefully craft the job description to match the needed skills (as determined by the below-listed activities) • Recruit nationally • Clearly delineate job responsibilities vis-à-vis the City, County Implement Façade Improvement Program Recommended steps: • Determine program protocols, matching requirements, and permanent funding sources • Organize design review committee • Promote program to property owners, brokers, realtors, contractors Begin talks with McLeod Hospital on their direct participation in Downtown’s revival Recommended steps: • Collect, draft language on possible walk-to-work (forgivable loan) programs • Poll their employees on their potential interest in the program • Determine McLeod’s interest in taking an equity position or pre-leases in Downtown resident housing • Solicit foundation contribution to revolving loan fund or FDDC

• Solicit vendor contract commitments on behalf of current and future Downtown businesses • Seek their continued/additional participation on the FDDC Board • Seek their agreement in including the entire hospital campus in the Downtown TIF district • Enlist them to encourage FMU to locate the proposed Health Sciences Facility in the core Downtown (D-1 District) • Determine their interest in assembling more land Downtown Create/recapitalize a Downtown-specific revolving loan fund (RLF) Recommended steps: • Convene area banks to establish a loan pool or bank CDC to capitalize and administer the fund • Develop underwriting and project eligibility criteria • Explore various grants through USDA, SBA, CBDG, EDA, others as additional capitalization sources • Contribute city funds to new RLF or create separate fund to guarantee bank fund • Distribute information about fund among business groups, educational institutions, the public • Hold banker, broker, developer roundtables to promote and explain the program Draft Downtown property maintenance code Recommended Steps: • Draft a basic starter code that can be amended later as needed • Conduct public informational meetings to facilitate understanding and solicit feedback • Forward code and façade grant program as a package for Council approval • Plan and budget for enforcement regime • Allocate staff and budget

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Targeted Reinvestment Areas Initiate future development of the proposed (Irby/Palmetto) professional services district Recommended Steps: • Begin initial discussions will key property owners on site availability, cost, option, syndication possibilities • Enlist the help of a proxy (“straw-man”) buyer • Determine property-owners preferred position in any new development (i.e. tenant, equity partner, sell-out) • Seek permission to conduct cursory environmental analysis • Amend TIF project plan as needed to include property acquisition and developer financing as TIF-eligible costs • Inquire with state as to availability of qualified redevelopment zone and Enterprise Community (private activity) bonds that could be applied • Conduct appraisals on ‘in play’ properties • Prepare a generic development agreement Explore opportunities to control or convey ownership of key properties in the Historic District Recommended steps: • Solicit donations of properties to the FDDC • Look for opportunities to control contiguous properties • Focus initial efforts on key at-risk or pivotal properties: Kreske, Cosmos, Trust buildings • Consider developing a marketing strategy/ RFQ for the Kimbrells Building • Develop lists of possible investors, developers, and area holders of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) for future solicitation

Prepare a working business plan for the Artisan Center/Art Trail Gallery Recommended steps: • Define the business model. Develop operating budget and funding/management strategy (i.e. artist co-op) • Consider spinning off separate subsidiary non-profit corporation • Recruit board membership • Identify and solicit foundation, philanthropic support • Recruit tenants • Begin to “business-manage” and program the space Prepare detailed design plan for lower Dargan Street corridor Recommended steps: • Prepare detailed streetscape plan that also includes the –00 and –00 blocks of Cheves and Palmetto Street with cost estimates and design specifications • Schedule improvements in CIP starting with lower Dargan Street • Explore alternative funding mechanisms including TIF, developer concessions and special assessments (seek PILOT contributions from tax exempt entities in the corridor) Facilitate discussions with PDRTA and FMU on the proposed Downtown transit center/incubator Recommended steps: • Initiate discussions with Amtrak on relocating train station to Cheves/ Baroody Street intersection • Assist PDRTA in seeking state and Federal transportation grants (i.e. TIGER, FTA New Starts)


• Work with FMU to solidify location parameters and building ‘program’ for incubator • Identify alternative incubator locations and consider decoupling the projects if necessary Expedite the development of the Judicial Center Recommended steps: • Expedite permitting and development review • Assist the relocation/retention of any active businesses in Downtown • Begin preliminary feasibility study of public parking structure in the City/County lot

Rezone special Downtown sub-districts • Rezone Lower Dargan Street exclusively for residential and institutional uses (i.e. prohibit new offices) • Create a special commercial office district for the proposed Irby/ Palmetto professional services district that establishes minimum densities and building heights • Change zoning along lower Coit Street to allow more neighborhood retail uses such as coffee shops, specialty retail and inns • Create a mixed-unit overlay district for the ‘triangle’ area that restricts single-site development Launch a Downtown marketing campaign

Near Term Priorities (1 - 3 Years) Programmatic Solidify working organizational structure for Downtown Merchants Association

Recommended steps: • • • • •

Enlist local creatives to identify themes and create a branding message Enlist local media to run a slogan contest Develop a Downtown Florence website and print materials Distribute materials to area realtors and brokers Consider regional broadcast PSAs promoting Downtown cultural amenities and special events • Request local media to run a regular series on Downtown happenings, programs, ground-breakings, and history

Recommended steps: • • • •

Work to develop DMA membership Establish by-laws and charter Establish a basic strategic plan, management and funding structure Recruit, mentor DMA leadership

Begin implementation of Artisan Center business plan Recommended steps: • • • • •

Recruit tenants/vendors Make facilities improvements if needed Program special events Solicit funders Develop working relationship with FMU Center for Entrepreneurship

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Work to modify FDDC board structure Recommended Steps • Recruit special expertise in: real estate, banking, fund-raising, marketing and construction management • Create sub-committee structure to implement special projects

• Issue citations with stipulated compliance deadlines and penalties for noncompliance

Targeted Reinvestment Areas Begin developer recruitment campaign Recommended steps:

Work to extend National Register Historic District westward to Irby Street Recommended steps: • Work with owner of Cosmos Building to excavate, restore building façade • Petition National Park Service to extend district Update design guidelines to include dimensional metrics, materials palette, and façade grant procedures Recommended steps: • Attach appendix that includes rehabilitation tax credits and façade grant procedures and requirements • Conduct information workshops for interested property owners, developers/ contractors, and design review committee members Begin enforcement of building maintenance code

• Amend TIF project plan as needed to include property acquisition and developer financing as TIF-eligible costs • Focus initially on quality affordable housing in/near historic district • Prepare appraisals and preliminary project feasibility (pro-forma) on Trust, Kreske and Cosmos buildings to determine funding gap • Prepare a housing market study • Discuss possible option/ sales terms with building owners • Prepare multi-site RFQ/P • Target reputable tax-credit developers • Pre-identify potential tax credit sources • Prepare general developer template agreement with stipulations on maximum amount of affordable housing, minimum capital investment and equity requirements, adherence to design guidelines etc. Begin advanced planning for cultural campus

Recommended steps

Recommended steps:

• Conduct outreach/ awareness campaign (couple with façade improvement and/ or revolving loan programs) • Develop systematic review and appeals procedures

• Prepare detailed design plan for Pine Street area and project concept paper • Engage Dr’s Bruce and Lee Foundation as main project benefactors (emphasizing the enhancement and protection of their existing investments) • Begin discussions with school district on vacating old administration building


• • • •

Identify other funding sources city/county, grants Outreach to other ‘in-the-path’ property owners Schedule project into CIP Prepare to use eminent domain powers (surgically) down the road if absolutely necessary

Continue land assembly/ redevelopment activities in Irby/Palmetto area

Mid-Long Term Priorities (3 - 5 Years) Programmatic Maximize capitalization of revolving loan fund

Recommended steps:

Recommended steps:

• • • • • • • •

• Seek additional grants and TIF funds • Solicit additional bank participation

Conduct commercial market study Continue property-owner discussions using proxy-buyer Identify possible future office tenants Talk to nearby banks and Florence-Darlington Tech about their potential interest Conduct environmental review Perform preliminary pro-forma Begin site clearance on acquired, blighted buildings Prepare RFQ/P if site control of key properties looks positive

Initiate consolidation and redevelopment of Triangle site Recommended steps: • • • • • • • • •

Implement zone change and access control measures on Irby, Dargan Explore potential purchase of rail spur Complete detailed site inventory and environmental history Begin discussions with key property owners Apply property maintenance code Perform environmental analysis (seek grants for this) Attempt to reach terms on key parcels and control with renewable options Complete detailed site/plat plan Issue RFQ/P if a significant portion of the site is controllable

Establish Downtown Business Improvement District (BID) Recommended steps: • • • • •

Begin education campaign Prepare draft by-laws and board structure Use established Downtown Merchant’s Association as a platform Identify funding formula and management structure Develop operating plan

Select exploratory committees for new spectator expo grounds and Downtown farmers market Recommended steps: • Enlist motivated advisors to explore facility options, identify project comparables and funding strategies • Develop project whitepapers • Seek financial participation of State and County, prospective tenants

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• Solicit sponsorship of FMU, McLeod, Carolinas, foundations (including naming rights) • Determine funding structures

Targeted Reinvestment Areas Identify facilities improvements for Urban Business Park Recommended steps: • • • • • • • • • • • •

Solicit support of Business Technology Center (BTC) Enlist FDDC or other non-profit as possible management fiduciary Conduct brownfields analysis on suspect properties Create comprehensive property database Contact absentee owners Clear blighted properties Seek to acquire, control available properties Build support for separate Neighborhood/Business Improvement District Create comprehensive sign and parking plan Create permanent management/board structure Create a marketing profile and platform including a ‘space available’ website Schedule streets and infrastructure improvements into CIP

Promote 2nd/3rd phases of Coit Village Recommended steps: • Solicit interest of original developer, other developers • Inquire as to possible availability of surrounding property • City to assist with possible land assembly/ clearance and coordinated infrastructure, streetscape improvements


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Implementation are Implementationwill willinclude include both both policy policy and and project-specific project-specific measures. measures. These These are presented “targeted presentedbelow belowinin3-5 3-5year yearintervals intervalsunder underthe the headings: headings: “programmatic” “programmatic” and and “targeted reinvestment It should bebe noted thatthat specific realreal estate development projects are reinvestmentareas”. areas”. It should noted specific estate development projects subject to external influences that may be beyond the City’s ability to control. (i.e. land are subject to external influences that may be beyond the City’s ability to control. (i.e. and credit site control, developer interest etc.). Therefore it will be important land and availability, credit availability, site control, developer interest etc.). Therefore it will be that the City remain both flexible and opportunistic in how it engages theit private sector important that the City remain both flexible and opportunistic in how engages the while at the same time maintaining a strategic focus. Public resources need to leverage private sector while at the same time maintaining a strategic focus. Public resources private vise-versa. All resources need to applied in a concentrated way need resources to leverageand private resources and vise-versa. Allbe resources need to be applied in toaachieve the greatest impact. concentrated way to achieve the greatest impact.

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1415 Highway 6 South, Ste. A-300 Sugar Land, TX 77478 Phone: (281) 242-2960

56 DRAFT PLAN AUGUST 1, 2010


Downtown Florence Master Plan Update