Planning Palm Bay, Florida – RMA BusinessFlare TM Case Study

Redevelopment Management Associates – Palm Bay, Florida is the largest city in Brevard County and as it grew west of Interstate-95, the eastern part of the community suffered from a lack of development, leaving the area with an undefined image or brand. In need of a strategy to stimulate growth, the Bayfront Community Redevelopment Agency (BCRA) applied for and won a Competitive Florida grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity. The City used the grant to hire RMA to perform a scope of work that included market analysis, public input, and development of an economic development strategy and action plan.

“This was an exciting project that was going to allow us to lay out a realistic action plan that would transform an area that was truly underappreciated,” said Kevin Crowder, RMA Director of Economic Development.  “Once we got to know the community, we found many foundational assets for growth, and we encountered a commission and community that were very business-friendly and open to hearing all of our ideas.”

RMA found that Palm Bay’s Leading Assets included:

  • A Fortune 500 company, Harris Corporation, expanding their base in the area
  • Unique scenic views along the US1 corridor along the Indian River Lagoon, creating a bluff-like environment that is unique and rare in the state
  • Public investment in enhancing the Turkey Creek Sanctuary area; beautifying the park, adding piers, picnic areas and a small public beach, with additional potential for eco-tourism and further development
  • The Pelican Harbor Marina, with access to the Inter-coastal Waterway and Indian River Lagoon, that will be the catalyst for future development

Crowder utilized RMA’s BusinessFlare™ approach to conduct numerous studies and identify the current influences on the five drivers of investment and economic development (land, labor, capital, markets, and regulation), and then further identified how the city and BCRA could realistically influence those drivers.

“The bottom line however, is that market demand analysis looks at the past, while market potential looks to the future,” explained Crowder.  “For the Bayfront Village area, RMA believes that it is not the quantity of market demand that is important; rather, it is the quality of market potential.”

With that market potential in mind, the economic development strategy and action plan included defining the brand potential for the district. RMA’s Director of Business Attraction & Marketing, Sharon McCormick, participated in meetings and the analytical process for collecting data and information as it pertained to the area’s visitor experience. The process led to the development of a strategic brand message and the basis for a future marketing campaign, laying the foundation for a definitive brand and image for the area.

The difference between economic development and redevelopment is that economic development serves and capitalizes on the market while redevelopment changes the market or creates a new one. Redevelopment is about realizing market potential, and the Bayfront of Palm Bay has significant potential and opportunity for market change.

Overall, the partnership between the Bayfront CRA, the City of Palm Bay, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, and Redevelopment Management Associates resulted in the successful development of a realistic, achievable, community-driven plan for revitalization of the Bayfront.

“The program was a valuable exercise, and allowed for an approach that identifies realistic strategies that can be implemented,” said Crowder.  “The Competitive Florida grant program is an excellent partnership between local communities and the State, and can serve as a model approach for other communities.”

For details on how BusinessFlare™ can help your City or County, contact us now.