#Lakeland , the CRA Has a Tough Decision You Should Know About
You NEED to check out this amazing project from #BroadwayRealEstateServices. Matt Clark, Jack Strollo, and the entire team are doing awesome things for our downtown. And, if you haven’t done so yet, you desperately need to get the word out about their proposal to the City of Lakeland to bring in a powerful “live and learn” space to the empty acreage.
The Lakeland Ledger ran an article by Ryan Little about it, but I still think more people need to hear about why it is a win.
Why is it a Win?
1.) Financial Stability
With rent incomes supported by several major colleges, this will never be subject the same market forces that has left many of the downtown storefronts empty for so many years. This project will have full income day 01.
This will guarantee the proposed tax revenues. The other project proposed will not be up and running for 8 years [ed. in its first proposal.] One in the hand is better than two in the bush.
2.) Immediate Demand
Several of the colleges are requesting extra space for students, and the demand for more units is growing each semester. There is not necessarily immediate demand for more office [ed.and retail] space, as the other projects propose. There IS immediate demand for more residential space.
3.) Reliable Supply
Matt Clark’s Broadway team has proven time and again that they are a reliable source for major developments. It is their wheelhouse. They know the dynamics, have the network to ensure success, have solid understandings of the Lakeland Downtown dynamics. They have overseen many projects such as this one.
I do not believe the other parties can boast the same history and familiarity with the development industry. [ed. The architect firm and contractor firms are sound, trusted local companies. The principles themselves seems to lack the experience.]
4.) Increase in Money Spent Downtown
With the additional residential space proposed both by “NoBay” and the Live and Learn development project, there will be an increase in more people living downtown. That means that they will spend more money on local restaurants, services, and the farmer’s market.
If, as the other proposal suggests, there are
only more offices and retail than residential, the impact to downtown purchases would be moderate at best. [ed. After reviewing their proposal in more detail, I would note that there is proposals for condominiums. However I do not believe that the market is in place, nor will be in a while, for condominium purchases. That, in the meantime, creates a hot rental market.]
Current shoppers barely keep the current retail and offices full. What we need for growth is more residences downtown. Broadway offers this.
5.) The Intelligent Contribution to Lakeland’s Future
Lakeland has been terrific at smart growth. Whether master-planned or the result of sheer dumb luck, we have managed to grow at a stable pace without alienating any of the great demographics that support us. We have taken care of the elderly population and nurtured the young adults equally.
This has led to an environment in Lakeland of both progressive innovation (Florida Polytech, Catapult Lakeland from the Lakeland Economic Development Council) as well a passion for our local city (Chrissanne Long and #LakelandBusinessLeaders, the downtown farmer’s market, Mitchell’s Coffee House, Jim Malless’s work with the LDDA and the Polk Museum of Art.)
A project that cultivates students in the downtown sends a message. It communicates that Lakeland is passionate about our future and ensuring that the coming generation is integral to our continued healthy growth.
This is all possible with the vision that Matt Clark, Jack Strollo, and the Broadway team have. The other proposal does not ring of true passion for an integrated future of Lakeland; mere office and
medical retail spaces are the same ol’ thing. [ed. This, of course, excludes the architecture firm and contractors who have a long history of loving Lakeland.]
6.) Positions Lakeland as an Education and Technological Leader in Central Florida
It also positions us as an academic and technological leader throughout central Florida. With the leadership of powerful educators like Joe Childs of SEU involved with the conceptualization of the project, along with leaders from Florida Polytechnic University, and Polk State College.
This creates a draw for each of these schools to tout to potential students. It will also generate major ideation through student collaboration across disciplines and across campuses.
7. Helps Eliminate “Brain Drain”
When young people are brought up close to the heart of a city and involved in the daily inner workings of a city, as the Broadway proposal offers, they tend to have more buy-in to being an on-going citizen to that area. When they shop from the local farmer’s market, pass Mayor Howard Wiggs on the way to a local coffee shop like Christopher McArthur’s Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro, they tend to fall in love with the place.
Instead of feeling that feeling we hear (“I gotta get out of here”), we will begin to hear how much they love to be here.
8. Increase in Job Opportunities
With all this young energy, with all the buzz, with all the increase downtown revenues, with all the increase in tax revenues, and with all the new ideation; there becomes a lively environment for new enterprises. These new enterprises create jobs. The stronger the job market is for locals and by locals, the more resilience our community will have in the future when we experience difficult markets.
These points are made possible by the Broadway proposal. I am not convinced that the other proposal takes these things into account. I am also not convinced that the team cares as much about the effects.
If the Lakeland CRA team led by Patricia Hendler considered these issues, I believe it would be an easy conclusion that Matt Clark and the Broadway team are the best group to partner with us to cultivate our downtown even further.
Feel free to comment below.