Agency

West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

 

Services Provided

  • Business Attraction & Marketing
  • Economic Development
  • Urban Design & Planning
  • Government Management

 

Performance Period

2005 – 2010 (Kim Briesemeister &
Sharon McCormick)

2014 – Present (RMA)

West Palm Beach Strategy Development, Business Attraction, Marketing & Communications Plan

Issue

In 2006 the Northwood area of West Palm Beach was a blighted, tired business district bordered by an industrial warehouse area, referred to simply as “Northwood Business District”. When RMA Director of Marketing, Sharon McCormick reviewed the options, it was clear that if business attraction efforts were to work a complete rebranding was needed, as well as a comprehensive strategic approach to redevelopment and marketing of the areas.

Strategy

After conducting a market assessment and analysis, it was verified that a combination of branding, marketing, events and business attraction efforts were needed, but first the “perception” of the area had to change. A strategic marketing plan was drafted that outlined a comprehensive targeted approach including: branding to address the current perception and image of the area; the condition of buildings; the existing merchandise mix and the opportunity gap analysis; parking; and increasing the customer base through campaigns, wayfinding signage and special events.

In 2014, the West Palm Beach CRA also retained RMA to develop a “vision” for the North End of West Palm Beach that encompasses three mixed-use districts (Currie Park, Northwood Village and the Broadway Corridor), as well as an Industrial District and the Pleasant City neighborhood. RMA organized and conducted a 7-day design workshop within the community that engaged hundreds of residents, business owners and stakeholders within the North End. The goal of the design workshop was to create a vision and an implementation strategy for the redevelopment of the North End that had faced years of stagnation due to shortcomings in the current zoning regulations and economic downturns. The vision adopted for the North End was incorporated into the comprehensive marketing and communications plan.

Outcome

  • Over 100 new businesses have located to Northwood Village and over $3 million in renovations have been completed on over 35 buildings, one at a time – many utilizing CRA Business Incentives.
  • Northwood Village is now a destination spot with Hangout Spots, Trendy Shops, Stylish Wares, Delicious Fare, and Unique Finds, and has been featured in Southern Living, the New York Times, Palm Beach Illustrated, and countless other local, regional and national publications.
  • An active Arts & Cultural scene in Northwood Village includes the Center for Creative Education and over 10 art galleries (when RMA team members branded the area as an arts district, it was an aspirational brand – there were no art galleries).
  • Thousands of visitors frequent the district monthly to enjoy the “Northwood Village Mural Project”, the monthly Art Walk guided tour and an Art & Wine Promenade featuring “Art Battle” with local artists painting live for the voting spectators.
  • The West Palm Beach CRA, with Sharon McCormick as Marketing Director, won the prestigious international Maxi Award for Marketing & Public Relations from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) for the branding and repositioning of Northwood Village.
  • In 2009 the CRA won the FRA Roy F. Kenzie Awards for Cultural Enhancement for the Art & Wine Promenade and for Creative Organizational Development & Funding for the unique Merchant Assistance Program. According to FRA, 2009 was the first year that any city or agency won 2 awards in any one year.
  • Northwood Village is now described by the prestigious magazine, Palm Beach Illustrated, as “Historically Hip”. It was once a run-down, discarded commercial district that is now a trendy, edgy hot spot in West Palm Beach.
  • The development community responded to the North End Vision with 20 property transactions worth over $9M in private investment in Northwood Village within one year.
  • Today, investors are implementing the North End Vision developed by the RMA team and are currently planning the Currie Corridor Development.

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