Tag Archives: P3

Retail Therapy: Health Conscious Consumers Drive the Market

By Lynn Dehlinger, Sr. Economic Development Manager/Broker Associate/ICSC P3 Florida Chair, Private Sector


As everyday consumers push the health-and-wellness movement from the earthy-crunchy margins to the mainstream, retailers are going beyond just selling Fitbit wellness trackers and organic, gluten-free bread.

Ushering in the next wave of healthy-living consumerism, merchants are taking on the overtones of the medical, psychotherapeutic and fitness communities. They’re wrapping the sale of “better for you goods” in services and experiences that aim at holistic, mind-body-soul approaches to wellness.

Professional and personal lives tethered to smartphones and digital screens have taken an existential toll on shoppers who are already buried in “peak stuff.”

Experts point to the rise of the so-called “self-care generation,” and what Euromonitor International dubs “clean lifers,” younger consumers “who are saying no to unhealthy habits…and uninformed spending.”

People would rather spend their money on experiences, such as weekends away, festivals and restaurants, where they can chat with friends, or healthier social alternatives, such as hosting fitness class parties from yoga to high-intensity workouts, in today’s world, so they’re increasingly turning to retailers to deliver something more, be it added convenience, service, guidance or inspiration.

There is an imperative today to deliver shoppers meaningful experiences that they can’t get online, Health and wellness is a natural fit, as increasingly savvy consumers “want to trust the information they get” in a Good-Housekeeping Institute stamp of approval fashion.

Eileen Fisher’s New Making Space Store: Serving Up Retail Therapy

Eileen Fisher has branded ethical consumerism into the retailer’s branding world ever since she founded the fashion chain in 1984. As a Certified B Corporation, for one, it voluntarily meets higher criteria for social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency, a rare designation among fashion brands.

Now the fashion retailer, on a mission to achieve maximum sustainability by 2020, wants to help you to not only wear clothes that reflect conscious capitalism, but find your purpose, too, said Kate McShane, Director of Brand Marketing at Making Space, according to International Council Shopping Center’s research.

That all comes together at its new Making Space test store in the Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, what it bills as a “community-centered retail experience.”

The store features an outsized mix of Eileen Fisher’s Renew and Remade recycled clothing collections—crafted from shoppers returned worn garments that have been refashioned for a second life. It also features a rotating roster of community-based artists in residence like Lilah Horwitz, who makes one-of-a-kind pieces and will hold an on-site workshop on creating new designs from damaged clothing.

The store’s lower level gives new meaning to the term “retail therapy.” Eileen Fisher’s signature LifeWork guest lectures and panel discussions, like “Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction,” once reserved for its employees, is being opened up to its shoppers.

Lens Crafters: Reinventing the Exam

Another retailer, LensCrafters, is ‘Reinventing The Exam’ With Digital Technology.  At the same time, retailers are catering to consumers’ growing penchant to measure their health and wellness via technology such as wearables that track their exercise activity, heart rates and even stress levels, while joining forces with medical experts to give their merchandise and marketing a wellness stamp of authenticity.

LensCrafters is seizing that inclination. New technology is propelling the brand into the future of vision care in a market where consumers, with a heightened awareness of their health, play a participatory role in safeguarding it, said Giorgio Candido, senior vice president and general manager of the eyewear chain.

A comprehensive eye exam has always been key to maintaining good eye health, he said. However, the retailer says the chain is upping that protection by “completely reinventing” the eye-exam experience with Clarifye, its proprietary, a digitally based exam that’s conducted in store.

Clarifye scans the inside and outside structure of the eye, generating a digital fingerprint of the visual system.  The result is an eye exam that gathers five times more data on the characteristics of a consumer’s visual health that far eclipses the precision of a standard screening, according to the retailer.

“Not only can we detect eye diseases and underlying health conditions, which don’t have early warnings signs and couldn’t be detected through a regular screening, but the patient is also part of the experience, learning about their eyes and seeing what the doctor sees,” he said. “They walk out of the exam room with a much deeper understanding of their eyes and what makes them healthy.  This has raised the bar and with it, consumers’ expectations.”

DSW: Feet Healing At The  ‘Sole Lounge’

DSW, with more than 500 stores in 55 states, is eyeing wellness as part of its larger goal to forge an emotional bond with shoppers via services, along with cause marketing efforts that go beyond the mere sale of products.

“We see health and wellness as a big opportunity,” Roger Rawlins, CEO of DSW, said in an interview. “People are more aware of their own health and wellness and things… they can do to improve their lives, and we can provide our customers with tools and products that can further their well-being.”

The footwear retailer’s service-meets-wellness push comes to life in DSW’s “innovation lab store” in Polaris, designed to “offer exclusive experiences and services, ” Rawlins said. A key feature: the Sole Lounge, an in-store shop offering manicures and pedicures, shoe repair as well as custom-made orthotics, as foot health is integral to total health, Rawlins said.

Meanwhile, DSW is tapping into its shoppers’ growing interest in conscious consumption. That, coupled with its own, “be the change you want to see in the world” goals, birthed the DSW Gives campaign last month, which focuses on (spacing here)“empowerment, wellness and community.” Via an expanded partnership with Soles4Souls, DSW shoppers can now bring their gently worn shoes to one of its stores and the organization will donate pairs to children and families in need around the world. Shoppers earn 50 loyalty rewards points in return.

“We hope to do our small part to build resiliency and promote wellness in the communities where our associates live and work and inspire others to do the same,” Rawlins said.

CVS: Health-and-Wellness Makeover – do we want to mention they stopped selling cigarettes also?

CVS’ health-and-wellness makeover debuted in a mock store last year in New York City that signaled a push to morph into something akin to the Whole Foods of drugstore retailing. The shift marks efforts by the retailer to change along with its core consumers, who are asking for wellness, preventative and “better-for-you” fare, executives said.

There is a product, merchandising and philosophical shift from a focus on “sick care,” or “expected,” products like over-the-counter cold medications and sleep aids (sleep, or lack thereof, is the number one issue that CVS shoppers come in trying to solve) to “unexpected,” preventative “self-care” solutions, such as natural supplements, sleep tracking devices, sleep masks and aromatherapy, CVS executives said.

The retailer has since expanded its health-focused format to select stores, signature features of which include industry disruptive “discovery zones” that spotlight holistic solutions via educational displays that guide shoppers in their purchase of better-for-you goods, “with messages emphasizing health expertise.”

The zones feature connected-health items such as diagnostic scales, wireless thermometers and digital trackers to active-nutrition supplements such as elderberry “for those on a journey to holistic wellness and self-care,” said Erin Pensa, senior director of retail communications for CVS Pharmacy, items previously reserved for specialty health store and online retailers.

In conclusion,  the health and wellness retail market is becoming an important business model.   So use this knowledge in your community to attract these retailers.


  • Forbes, September 2018
  • Barbara Thau
  • ICSC, Research Department

Redevelopment Management Associates’ Kevin Crowder on What Cities Need to Know Before They Seek a P3

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. /Florida Newswire/ — Kevin Crowder was in great demand at the recent Florida Council for Public Private Partnership (P3) conference in Orlando. As the Economic Development Director for RMA – Redevelopment Management Associates (www.rma.us.com) he has successfully guided many cities through the complicated P3 process. During the conference, he shared how cities can avoid some of the biggest P3 pitfalls and emulate the most successful P3 projects.

“P3s can be a terrific tool to attract investment, but the first step is to determine if the P3 process is actually right for your city,” explained Crowder. “Many city leaders feel if they want to attract a new hotel or create a new downtown, then they should automatically use a P3. But there are other viable options, and cities must weigh them all. Due diligence is critical before embarking on this route. Choosing a P3 process without fully understanding all the aspects is a common error with serious consequences.”

RMA has guided many city and county clients through the evaluation process, and it is a formidable one. Successful P3s entail intense prior analysis of market potential, real estate feasibility studies, zoning evaluations and public input. However, this process does not end with the analysis; understanding the market potential from the private perspective is critical. If a P3 is embarked upon, Crowder stresses that city leaders must accept the fact they do not speak the same language as developers.

“The public and private sectors inherently do not understand each other,” explained Crowder. “City leaders will need a ‘translator.’”

As Crowder relays during his presentations, cities often hire specialists such as attorneys and financial advisors to guide them through various municipal issues, yet they often underestimate the need for a specialist to translate ‘developer speak’ and structure a successful negotiation.

“Developers bring their A-team to the negotiating table; cities must bring theirs,” stressed Crowder.

During the conference, Crowder highlighted the recent successful P3 for the Town of Davie in Florida, which will transform the unstructured downtown into a Rodeo Western Village featuring entertainment excellence, world-class infrastructures, residences, a hotel and more.

“The Town of Davie is terrific role model for cities seeking a development partner,” he explained. “City leaders completed the three key requirements for a successful P3: they did their due diligence, they brought their A-team to the table, and they brought forth a project that was compatible with the community’s character.”

About RMA:

Founded in 2009 by Kim Briesemeister and Chris Brown, Redevelopment Management Associates (RMA) is comprised of a phenomenal team of redevelopment experts passionate about building better communities. RMA is the most experienced full-service economic redevelopment consulting and management firm, headquartered in the state of Florida, specializing in revitalizing core areas and corridors for cities, counties and special districts nationwide. The co-founders are also the authors of one of the definitive books about city redevelopment, “Reinventing Your City: 8 Steps to Turn Your City Around.”

More information: https://www.rma.us.com/.

News Source: Redevelopment Management Associates

Related link: https://www.rma.us.com/

Legislative Update on Florida Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) – What’s Next?

By Kevin Crowder, CEcD, Director of Economic Development 

The Florida Legislative Session is now in its 8th week and is scheduled to complete all business on March 9, 2018. The two bills that deal with Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs), House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 432, have continued to progress. The House of Representatives approved House Bill 17 on January 24, by a vote of 72-32. The bill has now been sent to and received by the Florida Senate. The Senate Bill was passed by its first committee of reference but has not been heard in its additional committees. However, now that the Senate has received the House Bill, that bill may be heard and/or amended by the Senate, or it may become the subject of negotiation and trading between the two chambers prior to the end of the Session.

Although both bills contain provisions that are positive, including improvements regarding ethics training and accountability, unfortunately there are still some problems with the legislation. These include a provision that new CRAs must be created by a special act of the Legislature rather than by the local governing body. Local elected officials are by far in the best position to determine local redevelopment needs and guide the creation and implementation of programs for redevelopment and revitalization.

The legislation also requires a cap on administrative expenses. This is a challenging issue due to the different sizes of CRA budgets throughout Florida. There are also restrictions on CRA expenditures, and on those items that a CRA may and may not spend redevelopment funds on. According to the position of the Florida Redevelopment Association, “What may be right for a CRA designed to address housing needs would be very different for a CRA designed to rejuvenate a working waterfront. To artificially and randomly limit expenditures, given the incredibly inclusive nature of the process for creating redevelopment plans, is to significantly hinder the effectiveness of these agencies in completing their individual missions.”

The Florida Legislature has many important issues to work on during the last two weeks of session, including casino gambling, school safety, medical marijuana, education, economic development and finishing the state budget. Anyone that is interested and supports CRAs should continue to communicate with your legislators that CRAs are important revitalization and economic development tools which have had proven success due to their local governance and ability to respond to unique local conditions. Each person’s voice matters to help shape what’s next for Florida CRAs.


RMA’s Kevin Crowder to discuss P3’s at 2017 Future of Florida Forum

Kevin Crowder, RMA Economic Development Director, is a session panelist for the discussion on Public-Private Partnerships during the “Six Pillar Caucus Conversation: Infrastructure and Growth Leadership” at the Florida Chamber Future of Florida Forum, Thursday, September 28, 2017 from 9:30-11:30 AM at the JW Marriott Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2017 Future of Florida Forum brings together Florida’s business leaders, industry experts and elected officials to discuss the opportunities and challenges impacting Florida’s future between now and 2030. Topics such as workforce, education, prosperity, global competitiveness, innovation, economic development and more will be examined.

P3 Do’s and Don’ts

By Kevin Crowder CCeD, Director of Economic Development

Why is a city going to do a P3? Because you’ve identified a public benefit or service that needs to be provided and, although you’ve iden­tified that public need, there is limited or no public funding to provide it. There is also continued resistance to tax increases and increases in the public debt, yet in order to do a P3 to provide that public need, there also must be a revenue source that provides reasonable return on investment potential to a private partner in the deal. Therefore, not all projects are going to be suitable as P3s, but where they do work they can free up limited public resources to provide for other needs and services that are not attractive P3 candidates. P3s can be done for infrastructure, office development, hotels, residen­tial projects, arts and culture, recreation, and parking, parking, and more parking.

What are the benefits of doing a P3? Immediate access to new sources of capital; expedited project completion; mitigated risk; economic development catalyst. First, a city can access new sources of capital that are available immediately. Since the private sector needs to realize a return on investment, project completion is usually expedited compared to a publicly managed project. A P3 leverages private expertise and it transfers risk to the party that’s best suited to deal with that risk. Also, a P3 allows a city to promote economic development through private sec­tor investment opportunities that are catalysts for additional economic development and investment. Be careful however, as there are also pitfalls to P3s that can include insufficient public sector understanding of what a P3 is and what it is not: A P3 is not outsourcing or privatization, rather it is using private money to deliver and provide for a public need. Secondly, there can be political risk to P3s and that risk is increased when there is no project champion in public sector leadership. There is also a misconception that P3s are free, that they are giveaways to the private sector, when in reality they are using private money to provide for public needs and public benefits.

Understand the real estate environment and your potential developer partner. If your community is going to do a public private partnership, it is important to understand the real estate environment and that you will be dealing with developers that will bring their A-Team to the table to negotiate the deal. Developer partners will want to ensure fairness, responsiveness and timeliness, and it is important to remember that developers understand their world far better than the public sector does. Keep in mind that developers have many choices on where to invest their money and they are guided by return on investment, market feasibility, and brand connection, and that they may not care about your local politics except to the ex­tent that it helps get their deal done. Another tip is to be very clear about roles and responsibilities; this goes both ways. If your agreement is not clear, you can end up in a situation where one party says they will ‘try’ to do something and their partner hears them ‘promise’ to do some­thing. This situation can potentially get very painful very quickly, and have serious negative impacts on a partnership and credibility.

 Clarify each parties’ roles and effectively communicate relevant factors from each sides perspective. It is important that your private sector partner understand there are public sector considerations that are not present in a private sector trans­action. Make sure that they understand, and that you define, the differ­ences between the city’s regulatory and proprietary roles. Make sure they know that elected officials have pain thresholds that vary from com­munity to community and from elected official to elected official. That there are deal breakers and certain things that the public sector cannot do or will not do that could be entirely appropriate business terms in the private sector.

Be realistic about the impacts and challenges that you will face. Additionally, public officials should remember that in a public private partnership you are using public resources to accomplish something that cannot be provided by the marketplace. This can result in a change to the status quo and when you change the status quo you negatively impact whoever benefits from it. In this situation, let’s be realistic and ask how many elected officials or decision makers does that negatively impacted person have on speed dial and what are going to be the political ramifications. Public officials and their development partners need to understand this reality so that the project can be delivered to provide the public policy goals as intended.

 Don’t forget that every P3 is different and requires an experienced team to achieve policy goals. Some final guidance for public officials that are considering a P3 includes engaging the right third party consultants for your project. Remember that your private-sector partner is going to be coming to the table with his A-Team, so make sure you have yours at the table as well. Keep in mind that every P3 is different and must be approached on its own merits. In the Town of Davie, RMA is assisting the Davie CRA through the full process of evaluating the market and project feasibility, gathering public input, developing the solicitation, assisting with the selection, and negotiating the development agreement. In Miami Shores, our role so far has been limited to an assessment to determine if a P3 is even feasible to achieve their goals of downtown revitalization, and in Gainesville RMA assisted the CRA with the development of the RFP document, based on the good work that the CRA had already completed. P3s can be a valuable tool to achieve policy goals when used the right way, but they can also create political minefields when not fully vetted or understood.

Photo caption: In Miami Beach, the P3 model was used to deliver a much-needed Publix Supermarket to the South Pointe neighborhood, and provide 500 public parking spaces at the entrance to the city, as well as additional retail offerings previously not locally available to residents and visitors.


5 Tips to Help Managers Grow Their Tax Base

By Kim Briesemeister, C.R.A. Principal

Most local government managers probably do not have time to monitor the real estate market; however, by implementing a few public initiatives that are real estate oriented, the results can have a direct impact on growing a community’s tax base.

The quickest way to increase the general fund and the tax base is by attracting private development. There is a reason why developers gravitate to some communities more than others, so make sure your city or county is ready for the next real estate boom. Here are five ways to do just that:

1. Install upgraded utility systems. One of the costliest line items for any development is providing infrastructure or utility upgrades to increase capacity for new development. Even if the land cost is at a reasonable market rate, expensive utility costs can kill a project.

A local government can anticipate where development is likely to occur or even drive development to a certain area by installing upgraded utility systems for future development. Although the private sector usually pays these costs in a hot urban area, a second-tier area can attract development more quickly by covering these costs on the front end.

The tax base will increase sooner, which over time pays for itself. A locality could also impose an assessment that the developers pay back over time, lessening their upfront cost burden.

2. Change your current zoning. If the zoning is not conducive to attracting development, the city or county can be proactive and have the planning department amend and update the codes. Again, this approach reduces the timeline for development by eliminating the need to rezone parcels.

During the zoning rewrite, it is also a good idea to anticipate what uses are in the current land development regulations that may be incompatible with future or desired development and remove those uses. One city, for example, allowed massage parlors, convenience stores, and check-cashing stores. Those uses tend to cluster together and can create a blighting effect.

By regulating those uses, the city was able to position itself for redevelopment.

3. Promote your city and create perks. Filling vacant big box or retail spaces along corridors is really the responsibility of property owners or the real estate agents; however, local governments can assist in attracting retailers by creating small incentives or simply marketing the area as an attractive place to locate.

Having a point person who can “sell” the city and its unique service-friendly environment is key. Also consider such perks as a “one-year-only” fast-track permit process for filing vacant space or providing such small cash incentives as façade assistance.

These incentives are small but can really make the difference between retailers choosing your community over another one.

4. Stay ahead of the parking crunch. Nothing will derail a retailer or company from opening a business faster than a lack of parking or conversely, the cost of providing parking. Many older areas, for example, don’t have enough surface parking to meet the requirements for a new restaurant.

Making sure the parking plan, including a parking management system, is in place is critically important. One city completely eliminated the parking requirement for restaurants— only for a period of three years—and attracted five new businesses. These restaurants had to identify parking locations on their own and resorted to valet parking.

Once those restaurants opened, they began to attract more of the same and the codes were tightened. The city began to supply off-site parking and manage the fees for on-site spaces. The restaurants just needed the jump start.

5. Assess in-house negotiation expertise. If a local government owns public land and is looking for a private development partner, having an expert team in place will increase the odds of successfully developing the site.

Whether this team is with internal staff members or management advisers, there are two important skill sets to consider: experience and skill in negotiating a public-private agreement and an understanding of the economics of the agreement.

You can bet the developers will have sharp and skilled real estate staff by their side, so make sure your community is equally prepared.


North Miami Beach Downtown, Biscayne Corridor & Waterfront Mixed-Use Districts


North Miami Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

Services Provided

Urban Design & Planning
Ongoing Urban Design Review
Economic Development Implementation Plan
Retail Market Assessment
Demand Analysis
Public-Private Partnerships
CRA Administration
CRA Incentives

Performance Period


North Miami Beach Downtown, Biscayne Corridor & Waterfront Mixed Use Districts


North Miami Beach was languishing and being strangled by traffic while neighboring cities, such as Sunny Isles and Aventura, experienced unprecedented growth and economic development. Development was stifled by low height and density, even in areas where transit oriented development was desired. Development pressure for more height and density resulted in endless debates and horse trading in commission meetings. Projects that were coming forward were dense yet auto-oriented and did not enhance the character of the city with its well established street, park, and waterway system. The result was more development with no real plan for growth and no control of its remaining valuable assets, such as the Intracoastal waterway parcels. The city was in need of a strategy for encouraging redevelopment while laying out the expected public benefits, providing residents with a comfort level that quality of life would be enhanced. Following leadership changes on the City Council, which in turn led to changes in the city’s administrative leadership, the city embarked on an aggressive program of redevelopment, revitalization, and tax base enhancement. This included RMA’s development of an economic development implementation plan, which began with efforts to change the city’s reputation in the real estate industry and to ensure that city regulations matched market conditions and market potential. RMA assisted the city in the Land Use and Zoning amendment for seven mixed-use districts in the City to include the Downtown area, Biscayne Boulevard Corridor and Waterfront Districts.


RMA worked with the city to begin a campaign to “spread the word” about the new opportunities in North Miami Beach, and especially the new attitude toward private sector investment. This began with an analysis of the market demand and potential, a review of development financial feasibility, and the development and implementation of tax increment incentives for new investment Subsequently, the urban design team developed a vision plan for the future growth based on the market study. The vision plan became the base for the proposed land use policies and objectives and zoning map and text amendments.

The planning team conducted a buildout analysis to determine the existing entitlements under the current regulations and the future entitlements under the proposed regulations. Additionally, RMA conducted a concurrency analysis based on the projected entitlements to address infrastructure improvements needed as well as potential impact fees generated for parks and police services. The CRA Tax Increment Recapture Incentive Program was revamped to establish clear and stricter guidelines for giving rebates. Before RMA revamped the program, the CRA gave up to 75% tax rebate for any projects that came in regardless of what they developed in the CRA.


The amendments were unanimously approved in March 2015. In less than one year of adopting the regulations, the city received nearly ten applications for site plan approval. Two major development sites that were considered to be a hindrance to redevelopment, a large adult entertainment venue in the waterfront district and a commercial property near the future rail station, were sold for a combined $30 million, making way for mixed use developments. Over $280
million in real estate transactions took place in the target area in the first 18 months, with approval of over 1,000 residential units, 200 hotel rooms, and significant commercial development. The quick change in North Miami Beach’s reputation in the private sector, combined with strong, visionary leadership and RMA’s approach, enabled North Miami Beach to lead Miami-Dade County in property taxable value growth from 2015-2016, at a year over year rate of 17%. Additionally, the taxable value of property within the North Miami Beach Redevelopment Area increased by 46% during the same period. This growth was driven by real estate transactions, and additional, even more significant tax base enhancement, will occur as the projects are completed over the next few years.

RMA Featured in IDA’s Top Issues Council Report

By Kim Briesemeister

Earlier this year, I was asked to serve on the International Downtown Association’s Public-Private Partnership Council. This is a tremendous honor for our firm, and I was excited to collaborate with an array of industry leaders to produce in-depth research briefs about top urban issues. The report I participated in, “Partnerships for Urban Place Management” is now available on the IDA’s website, www.downtown.org. I highly recommend this report to city leaders who are looking to attract private-sector investment.

Downtown champions require effective tools to help them create successful cities, and this guide is intended to provide practitioners with many methods, tactics, and issues that public-private partnerships (P3s) can address, including improvements within public safety, economic development, planning, mobility, infrastructure, outreach, engagement, planning, finance, public space management and activation, marketing and events.

There are many nuances to public-private partnerships, and it can be very difficult to do it right. A clear vision and strong leadership are key to establishing the environment that will attract the private sector.

Having negotiated 11 public-private real estate transactions that resulted in hundreds of millions in investment dollars in city centers and urban cores, I focused on several real life examples in the report.

 One of the projects highlighted is the reinvention of West Palm Beach’s downtown through the creation of one the largest public-private real estate deals in the country. I was the CRA Director of West Palm Beach following the opening of City Place and worked with legal counsel on multiple amendments to the development agreement.

Initially, this bold plan called for acquisition of more than 72 acres of land, and redevelopment of the area as a large-scale, mixed-use project. The development of the site also spanned three mayoral terms. West Palm Beach’s downtown transformed from what seemed to be permanent blight and hopelessness into a premiere destination featuring top businesses, retailers, restaurants and an acclaimed convention center.

Real life stories are invaluable for city leaders, and while no two projects are like, there are many lessons to be learned. Some of the most interesting feedback we have received from our book, “Reinventing Your City, 8 Steps to Turn Your City Around,” has been about the case studies. Insights gained from others’ experiences, both the positive interactions and the missteps, help develop a blueprint for success.

Creating positive change is the goal of all city leaders. Those who achieve it, spend time studying and learning from the lessons of others. That is why reading the reports created by the IDA are one of the best first steps in creating the community your city deserves.

Click here to read the press release.