From The Master Plan - Old Brooklyn Community Development Corporation
Economic development can be defined as efforts that seek to a) improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by supporting or growing incomes and the tax base and b) create and/or retain jobs. Given the ever-changing nature of the national and regional economy, the economic development goals included in this plan will take considerable effort to achieve, but they are necessary to ensure that the neighborhoods remain strong and stable.
Goal 15: Attract and encourage public and private investment in a systematic manner that builds upon the communities’ strengths.
Alleviate vacancies along major corridors through creative and appropriate reuse.
The current zoning along Pearl Road, State Road, and portions of Memphis and Broadview is predominately Local Retail. Yet, as stated earlier, there is an overabundance of retail floor area, a great deal of which is in underperforming locations or in structures that suffer physical obsolescence (spaces have not been updated) or functional obsolescence (spaces no longer meet today’s businesses requirements).
Pearl, State, Broadview and Memphis are the “front doors” to the residential neighborhoods and often visitors to the area develop a perception of the neighborhoods based on the physical appearance and condition of these streets. Encourage infill development on appropriate land or under-utilized parcels.
Recruit non-retail tenancies
Recruit non-retail tenancies in areas outside the target retail nodes. Offices, residential, limited commercial services as well as a combination of uses such as live/work spaces. This strategy is appropriate when buildings are still viable and can be economically remodeled and reoccupied.
Buildings beyond repair and adjacent to successful businesses should be considered for acquisition, demolition and reuse as surface parking or business expansion.
Reuse vacant properties as “green infrastructure”
Reuse vacant properties as “green infrastructure”, such as green space, storm water management, renewable energy and community gardening. Vacant buildings and properties that are poorly maintained diminish the value of the remaining, more viable buildings. The “Reimagining A More Sustainable Cleveland” policy report provides a number of strategies for reusing vacant property with the goal of “making Cleveland a cleaner, healthier, more beautiful, and economically sound city”. Green infrastructure has been shown to provide a number of economic benefits.
Identify important infill sites and zone them to encourage successful infill.
Adopt interim zoning regulations to encourage appropriate uses.
For example, some prime redevelopment locations are currently zoned for industrial uses. Rezoning these parcels to a more appropriate zoning classification proactively will assist in redevelopment
Assemble land to create parcels that are more developable.
The “Reimagining A More Sustainable Cleveland” policy report also provides strategies for holding land in areas where redevelopment opportunities exist. This strategy is particularly important for redevelopment of the Pearl/State Triangle.
Make infill sites appealing by improving infrastructure and amenities.
Concentrate public investment where infill development is targeted. The street improvements recommended by the Pearl Road/W 25th Corridor Plan (TLCI) can be the catalyst for revitalization along Pearl Road. The recommended public investments in infrastructure improvements will narrow Pearl Road, provide wider sidewalks, keep traffic moving at safe speeds, make cycling safer and create more pleasant transit waiting environments. See also Goal 25 for additional discussion of infrastructure improvements.
Market available buildings and sites aggressively.
Many developers do not recognize that older neighborhoods are viable opportunities for investment. As a result, OBCDC will need to work extra hard to market development opportunities in order to attract the development community.
Have and maintain a thorough inventory of spaces available for retail, commercial and industrial uses, including a map identifying the locations of infill development sites
Produce development profile brochures
Produce development profile brochures that can be made available on the OBCDC website and can be sent to property owners, developers, bankers, real-estate agents, businesses, and interested citizens. The profiles should include the demographic information that developers need to make investment decisions.
An aggressive marketing campaign for infill development sites sends the following messages to developers:
- The neighborhood wants infill development.
- There is a market.
- The OBCDC is ready and available to assist in any way possible.
Provide support for local entrepreneurs to be successful.
According to the Big-Box Centers Impact Study, small businesses are still the engine that drives inner-city economies. Furthermore, small independently-owned shops are typically the types of unique establishments that attract creative-class workers.
Promote participation in regional incubator programs, mentor programs, and other incentives to encourage new businesses.
Starting a new business is always a risky proposition. Business incubation is a business support process that accelerates the successful development of start-up and fledgling companies by providing entrepreneurs with an array of targeted resources and services. These services are usually developed or orchestrated by incubator management entity and offered both in the business incubator and through its network of contacts. A business incubator’s main goal is to produce successful firms that will leave the program financially viable and freestanding.
Critical to the definition of an incubator is the provision of management guidance, technical assistance and consulting tailored to young growing companies. Incubators usually also provide clients access to appropriate rental space and flexible leases, shared basic business services and equipment, technology support services and assistance in obtaining the financing necessary for company growth.
There are a number of incubator programs operating in the Cleveland area that are available to assist new enterprises. Examples include:
- BioEnterprise is a business formation, recruitment, and acceleration initiative designed to grow bioscience companies. BioEnterprise provides management counsel, clinical access, business development, and capital access services to these companies.
- JumpStart's mission is to accelerate the growth of early-stage businesses and ideas into venture-ready companies by delivering vital, focused resources to entrepreneurs. The organization provides a continuum of business development services as well as seed capital funding to early stage companies in Northeast Ohio.
- NorTech is a group of technology and business leaders seeking to enhance the prosperity of the region through science, technology and innovation. The organization promotes new businesses and quality job growth in Northeast Ohio.
Conduct regular seminars for business owners.
Partner with Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition and other existing organizations to provide seminars on business improvement strategies such as visual improvements to storefront windows, product display, advertising, and management.
Goal 16: Ensure that new development fits appropriately into the neighborhood while meeting the needs of contemporary retailers and businesses.
Establish high standards for public and private development.
The Old Brooklyn downtown retail district and the Brooklyn Centre Landmarks District, which covers the Brooklyn Centre retail area, are the only two areas in the neighborhoods with design review. In the remaining areas along Pearl Road, State Road, Broadview Road, Brookpark Road and Memphis Avenue development activities do not undergo design review at this time. However, the city of Cleveland is in the process of revising the design review regulations so that the design of all new nonresidential construction will be reviewed.
“Design review” is a process in which new buildings, building renovation, and property improvements (such as parking, fencing and landscaping) are reviewed to ensure that their design is compatible with the character of surrounding buildings. Design review considers such subjects as architectural style, building placement, color, materials, landscaping, and driveway locations. Areas dominated by historic structures undergo strict review through designation as a Landmarks District, such as in Brooklyn Centre. Design review in other areas of Cleveland is carried out with the Business Revitalization District designation.
Business Revitalization Districts are established in neighborhood commercial districts through the zoning amendment procedure to ensure appropriate design of all new construction, exterior property alterations, and signs. Business Revitalization Districts have proven to be a useful tool to help enhance overall development, aid in creating a more cohesive outcome as private properties are improved incrementally.
Expand the Business Revitalization District in Old Brooklyn
Expand the Business Revitalization District in Old Brooklyn to provide more complete design review in all retail nodes.
Business Revitalization Districts are considered overlay districts within the zoning code. Any expansion of an existing district or creation of a new district requires an amendment to the Cleveland Zoning District Map according to the procedures established in Chapter 333. The amendment process enables OBCDC to be the “local sponsoring organization” to request the designation or expansion of a local design review district.
A geographic area is eligible for Business Revitalization District designation only if it meets the following criteria: there must be at least 2,000 lineal feet of street frontage (measured separately on each side of a street with only one frontage measured per building); at least 75% of parcels must be zoned in nonresidential districts; and the area must be included within a Storefront Renovation Target Area or other area targeted by the City of Cleveland for concentrated public improvements or property renovation assistance.
Develop and Adopt Design Guidelines.
The city of Cleveland’s regulations governing Business Revitalization Districts allow each district to adopt design guidelines to supplement the city’s general guidelines included in the zoning code. Also see Section 5.2 for more information.
Excellent design refers not to the architectural design of a single building but to the quality of place created by a fabric of well-designed buildings and public spaces. Each element of public and private spaces, from awnings and windows, to benches and sidewalks, to roads and transit stations, needs to be carefully crafted. Excellent design creates places that are safe and attractive, ensures a variety of transportation options, and encourages appropriate private investment and development. Design guidelines should include requirements for providing public open space, connections between parking and building entrances, building massing (minimum/maximum height and width), as well as guidelines for integrating residential uses in/adjacent to retail nodes.
Promote a “community wireless network” in the Old Brooklyn and Brooklyn Centre neighborhoods.
Providing wireless access throughout the neighborhoods could attract outside investment, additional businesses and more job opportunities to the area. Using the University Circle model to establish the network and provide service, the neighborhoods should partner with OneCommunity to investigate the potential of creating a wireless network in the area.
In his 2007 State of the City address, Mayor Frank Jackson announced a plan to bring wireless internet access to "all 77 square miles of the city..." Later that year, it became clear that the goal to have a single provider build and operate a network at no charge to the city was no longer an option. The City then decided to contract with multiple providers to wire key locations like University Circle, the Cleveland Clinic area, the Case Western Reserve campus, and downtown.
In May 2008, a free wireless network covering five square miles of University Circle and surrounding areas became available through a partnership between OneCommunity and Case Western Reserve University. OneCommunity uses more than 100 access points on utility poles and other structures to create blanket Wi-Fi access in most of the University Circle area and parts of Cleveland Heights and East Cleveland. The premise for the service is that institutions such as hospitals and governments pay for private, higher-bandwidth access to the network, which allows OneCommunity to offer free access to the public.
OneCommunity is a nonprofit organization that serves Northeast Ohio by connecting public and nonprofit institutions to its fiber-optic network. A number of area institutions are already subscribers to OneCommunity, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the Cleveland Public Library’s Brooklyn Branch and South Brooklyn Branch, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, and MetroHealth Systems.
Goal 17: Foster environmentally-friendly building practices and processes.
Encourage new development/ redevelopment to incorporate green building principles.
Green building is the practice of creating structures and using processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and deconstruction. This practice expands and complements the classical building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. Green building is sometimes also referred to as sustainable or high performance building.
Encourage businesses to use renewable energy and become more energy efficient.
Renewable energy sources are either continuously resupplied by the sun or wind or tap inexhaustible resources, such as geothermal energy. In addition to having an unlimited supply, modern renewable energy technologies produce less pollution than burning fossil fuels.
Using renewable energy and using energy more efficiently are wise business investments. Viable renewable energy resources, such as solar energy, wind power and geothermal energy are becoming more cost effective.