Urban Land Institute (ULI) makes recommendation for the Historic Sistrunk Corridor
From Petula Burks, Public Information Specialist
FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – Change is in the air and the Technical Advisory Panel for the South Florida District of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has some recommendations to help facilitate that change along Historic Sistrunk Boulevard.
On Dec. 9 and 10, 2014, the ULI, through its local District Council and at the request of the Fort Lauderdale Community Redevelopment Agency, organized a technical assistance panel (TAP) to discuss and provide advice on specific issues relating to the best ways to encourage more investment and economic development throughout the entire Northwest-Progresso-Flagler Heights Redevelopment Area, specifically focusing the discussion on designated sections of the Sis-trunk Corridor west of the FEC railroad line and surrounding areas.
In order to facilitate such a panel discussion, key questions and issues were addressed, such as: Where and how to more efficiently concentrate and phase efforts and activities; What incentives are needed; Marketing and branding strategies; Optimal organizational structure to accomplish change and Access to capital.
Panelists and participants also reviewed what Sistrunk looks like today and offered pros and cons. Some of the items that came out of the discussion were: Sistrunk is not the vibrant place it once was; Lacks a clear champion in the marketplace; Lacks many neighborhood services; High commercial and industrial vacancy rates and Home to legacy sites such as the Mizell Center (Old Provident Hospital) and the African American Research Library; Ideally located for future growth; Significant potential for heritage tourism and Substantial recent infrastructure investment
Based on the two-day panel discussion, the following is a preliminary overview of the ULI/TAP recommendations: Create a shared vision for the area/revitalization of Sistrunk Boulevard by convening a group of stakeholders; Focus on existing stock and investments; Establish unique businesses to reinforce local character; Expand the basic sector economies; Expand partner base; Promote mixed use real estate; Relax parking requirements; Better align developer agreements with economic goals; Develop a more creative role for the CRA; Possibly extend CRA beyond 2025; Focus on marketing of Place; need active brand management; Develop mom and pop business program; Add staff to enhance business recruitment; Dedicated CRA staff; Tourism partnerships; Connect job and training opportunities; Empower CRA; Explore alter-native capital sources
While these are recommendations that will need further study, next steps were also provided as food for thought for those in attendance. The suggested next steps include: Concentrating initial efforts from Northwest Seventh to Northwest 15th Avenues; Work on redevelopment efforts west of Northwest 15th Avenue, after eastern link is established
The final report will be available in February 2015 and at that time will be presented to the City Commission.