Commercial Corridor Redevelopment Strategies

PAS Report 598

By Luis Nunez

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What do the commercial corridors in your community look like? Are they thriving or failing? Busy or abandoned? Do they have a diversity of land uses? Are they multimodal or car dominated?

Today’s economic, environmental, and sociodemographic changes are aligning to make the auto-oriented commercial strip a less viable development form. But the challenge of planning for the long-term health and sustainability of commercial corridors is daunting. What can planners do to change the trajectory of their communities’ corridors to ensure a more sustainable course?

This PAS Report offers a comprehensive catalog of strategies grounded in a market-based perspective to inform corridor redevelopment interventions. It presents an eight-step corridor redevelopment cycle to help planners evaluate corridors, collect data for analysis, engage stakeholders and partners, identify catalysts, update regulations, leverage public investment and other financial resources, evaluate outcomes, and plan for the long term. It will help planners rethink and improve the performance of corridors and corridor redevelopment practice.

The complexity of the world today is influenced by an increasing number of disruptive forces, which makes it all the more important for local governments to address the stability and resiliency of their commercial corridors. This report will help planners attract investments to commercial corridors and leverage public- and private-sector efforts to better achieve the environmental, social, and economic goals of their communities.


Executive Summary

About the Author

Luis Núñez is the director of economic development for HdL Companies in Houston. As a consultant his practice includes an emphasis on the facilitation and implementation of economic development strategic plans and comprehensive plans, land-use regulation approaches, redevelopment strategies for corridors and downtowns, and revenue optimization and tax diversification policies.  Núñez holds a bachelor of arts degree in government from the University of Notre Dame and a master’s degree in urban planning and public policy from the University of Illinois–Chicago.

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Product Details

Page Count
Date Published
Feb. 1, 2021
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Chapter 1: A Comprehensive Approach to Corridor Redevelopment
Terms and Concepts
A Holistic Approach to Corridor Redevelopment
The Corridor Redevelopment Intervention Cycle
About This Report

Chapter 2: Commercial Corridor Characteristics and Challenges
Historical Background and Planning Context
Commercial Corridor Characteristics
Commercial Corridor Challenges

Case Study: Fort Worth, Texas: All Commercial Corridors

Chapter 3: Understanding Market Context
The Real Estate Cycle
Lending Practice
Capitalization Rates
Pro Formas
Property Type Outlook by Sector

Case Study: Council Bluffs, Iowa: West Broadway Avenue

Chapter 4: Getting Started
Evaluating the Current Situation
Developing Objectives
Creating a Corridor Redevelopment Plan
Considering Consultants

Chapter 5: Data Collection and Background Analysis
Existing Plans and Studies
Existing Conditions Analysis
Market Analysis

Chapter 6: Stakeholder and Partner Engagement
Types of Stakeholders
Public Engagement Options
Recruiting Partners

Case Study: St. Petersburg, Florida: Central Avenue

Chapter 7: Catalysts
Catalyst Sites
The Importance of Mixed Use

Case Study: Michigan City, Indiana: U.S. 421/South Franklin Street

Chapter 8: Regulations That Support Redevelopment
Common Regulatory Barriers
Regulatory Alternatives
Updating Regulations to Create Character

Chapter 9: Local Government Actions
Property Assembly
Infrastructure Investments

Case Study: Auburn, Alabama: Opelika Road

Chapter 10: Financial Tools for Corridor Redevelopment
Tax Increment Financing
Special Assessment Districts
Brownfields and Sustainable Development Financing
Tax Credits
Opportunity Zones
The Private Sector: Innovation Finance
The Philanthropic Sector

Case Study: McComb, Mississippi: Delaware Avenue

Chapter 11: Evaluation and Maintenance
Reevaluating Barriers
Implementation and Evaluation
Operations and Maintenance

Chapter 12: Planning the Corridors of the Future
Trends and Future Considerations
21st Century Corridor Redevelopment Practice

Appendix A: Recommended Practices for Implementation

Appendix B: A Redevelopment Glossary for Planners

Appendix C: State Tax-Delinquent Properties Legislation