Tonight, the EDC will gather at City Hall to discuss one item that has been of great importance and/or concern for many residents. An item that has been brought up at multiple BOC and EDC meetings in the past. A year ago, the city of Lakeland hired Retail Strategies out of Birmingham, Alabama for their professional expertise in recruiting businesses to Lakeland. Tonight, there will be discussion and possible action on recommendations regarding an agreement with Retail Strategies.
Michael Walker, Lakeland City Manager, has put together a summary of their contracted services and efforts made during the first 10 months of the annual contract. The first year of services cost the city of Lakeland $25,000, with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce paying the other $25,000, for a total of $50,000 for the initial contract period. Services for the first year include:
1. Research – identifying the retail trade area, market and retail analysis, map retail locations with retail trends.
2. In-market real estate analysis – analyze retail corridor, reach out to local brokers and owners.
3. Retail recruitment – recruit for targeted zones, contact minimum 30 retailers, restaurants, brokers, or developers.
4. Updates “regularly” on efforts via email, phone, and software program Basecamp.
The following are some of the examples Retail Strategies looks to recruit and hopes to discuss at the EDC meeting tonight. A bar and grill, full-service restaurants, sites submitted for nationally known hotel chains, casual breakfast and brunch concepts, taco family golf entertainment ventures looking at feasibility. If agreed on, these efforts are part of a three-year contract that can be terminated before year two or three.