Preparing for Public/Private Partnerships
Using public/private partnerships for urban economic development is a growing trend in the United States. In many cases, partnering with the private sector is required for cities to pay the cost of building public infrastructure, especially when that infrastructure is essential to a retail deal. If your community is looking to set-up a public/private partnership to fund new growth, there are a few key steps to take before you even start talking with potential investors.
Start involving your community and resolve conflicts within local government before making contact with developers and investors. Having a comprehensive plan for development that everyone can agree on makes a public/private partnership easier to create and maintain.
If you know what your community wants to get out of the partnership and what you can offer, it saves time in negotiation and lets private investors know you’re serious about investing effort into the partnership. Retail Attractions can help with this type of strategic planning by reviewing your work and conducting visioning workshops with the city.
Ready For Development
Have the land ready and legislation in place for retail development before seeking private partners. Investors don’t want to start negotiations with your community only to find that they don’t yet have access to the land you intend to develop. Developers are more likely to invest in a community that makes things as easy as possible for them. With that in mind, try to streamline building codes and regulations as much as possible before investors arrive.
Identify Goals and Resources
Investors will want to see your community’s vision for the partnership presented clearly in verbal, written and graphic form so they can see what you have in mind and how prepared you are to get the project underway. Share your goals with potential investors and let them know what resources are at their disposal.
You’ll also need to consider what kind of incentives you can offer potential investors. Most retail growth happening in a local setting involves some type of incentive so it’s not something you can afford to overlook.
As a community, you need to know where the funds are going to come from to hold up the public half of a public/private partnership. Public/private partnerships should result in revenue that your community can’t create on its own, but in the initial stages imagination and forward-thinking will have to come into play as you try to come up with needed funds. Explore both public and nonprofit sector funding sources such as development grants, transportation funds, local revolving loans, and tax increment financing tools.
It’s easiest to work with potential investors if your city creates, or already has, an entity to handle the partnership, such as a redevelopment authority or quasi-governmental agency. What’s most important is that the public party contacting investors has the skills and experience necessary to handle the negotiation.
This is a key area where Retail Attractions can help in the initial planning. While your community might not have much experience negotiating public/private partnerships, we can fill that void. Retail Attractions has extensive experience working with communities to create public/private partnerships that benefit both the public and private sides of the partnership. Contact us today to get started.
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