Management District has become a more prominent and
powerful force. It not only acts as a liaison between the
city and downtown corporations and retailers, but it also
utilizes city funding to manage everything from waste
management to landscaping.
“It is hard for the city to do it all,” Staats said. “It is easier
for the Downtown Management District to say, ‘Here is
an area of downtown that we’re going to assess ourselves,
we’re going to manage the money ourselves and we’re
going to prioritize it ourselves.’ It gets done more efficiently than trying to work through a large bureaucracy.”
Teamwork has also been critical to
the success of Circle Centre Mall in Indianapolis. The
mall has a strong partnership with the city that began in
the development phase, with the common goal of creating a destination-oriented shopping environment downtown in already-existing buildings, said Steve Kingsley,
regional vice president of property management for
Simon Management Group in Indianapolis. In developing
Circle Centre, Simon worked closely with the city and the
Indianapolis Historical Society to preserve the historical
“The plan involved including historical elements into
the design of the exterior of the center,” said Kingsley.
“The purpose was for it to look as if it had always been
there. That goes a long way in maintaining the character
of the city.”
Today, the mall also partners with the Indianapolis
Convention and Visitors Association (ICVA), which
focuses on attracting new businesses and growing exist-
ing businesses downtown. For example, the mall recently
worked with ICVA to create a window display to show-
case some of the Indianapolis Zoo’s premier exhibits.
“We created synergy between the zoo and downtown
Indianapolis,” said Kingsley. “It was a great partnership,
and it paid off for both of us.”
Municipalities Make gReat tenants
Many cities are also taking an active role in filling vacancies by becoming tenants themselves. For instance, when
Promus Commercial was trying to fill vacancies in Pier
View Plaza, a mixed-use development in Oceanside,
Calif., the city opted to lease a storefront for its redevelopment agency.
The agency moved into a visible storefront within the
center and set up the space similar to a visitor’s center.
The center is open to locals and tourists, who are looking for sights to see and things to do within Oceanside.
Additionally, prospective retailers come in to get advice
and guidance on redevelopment opportunities and incentives. The redevelopment agency also began hosting a
street fair outside the center every week, which helped
draw traffic to and increase the visibility of the center.
As both a tenant and a partner, the redevelopment
agency was a valuable resource for Promus Commercial
in terms of referring tenants.
“They would give us leads, saying this retailer is looking for space so you might want to talk to them,” said
Greenblatt Hines. “They are also such a great resource for
our tenants, most of whom are mom-and-pop operators
looking to open a new business.”
Finally, many municipalities are developing programs to encourage landlords to maintain properties and retain tenants such as façade rebate programs,
tax increment financing ( TIFs), special loan programs and
focused marketing programs, according to Spencer.
“It takes the total involvement of each of the players
to achieve a positive outcome,” said Spencer. “The property owner has to be open to improving its asset and not
just accepting rent checks from struggling tenants; the
municipality has to be creative with their zoning, planning
and financial incentives; and the retailer has to develop
formats that address the urban footprint or the needs of
the specific community.” n
diana mirel is a contributing writer for JPM. if you have questions regarding this article or you are an irem member
interested in writing for JPM, please e-mail markisan naso at email@example.com.