Leveraging the size and economic clout of large urban institutions, like colleges and hospitals, for downtown revitalization first emerged in the 1990’s and was a strategy pretty much reserved for large cities having such major downtown medical centers and universities. So how can these concepts that work in large cities be modified to work in small towns?
The answer lies in a more diverse base of anchors that value a revitalized downtown. The strategies used to build the Jackson Anchor Initiative, the model for a mid-sized city execution of the anchor concept, recognized that businesses were motivated to provide support to their community and especially where that support could also be translated to competitive advantages in terms of talent attraction.
In the Jackson, Michigan case, incentives and commitments from a range of anchor businesses created the demand and filled a pipeline for 150 new market rate apartments coming into the downtown by the end of 2017 - a downtown that today has only 30 such apartments! These apartments are sought by millennials now working in Jackson and will support the efforts of employers to attract more talent to the community over the next decade.
Downtown Strategies is prepared to assist communities either directly or through advocate organizations – those organizations interested in working with communities in replicating their version of this successful approach.