BID Report Forms Basis For Retail Recruitment Effort

Attracting a broader range of quality goods and services to our downtown is a critical priority for New Rochelle. Although we have enjoyed some success in recent years, particularly with respect to dining and entertainment, downtown New Rochelle continues to fall short of its potential.

The downtown Business Improvement District (BID) recently teamed with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to complete a retail assessment study. The study combines qualitative input from merchants and downtown stakeholders with a rigorous economic and demographic analysis of our region. It suggests dozens of specific actions, with a special focus on expanding our home goods and food & entertainment niches, as well as addressing parking challenges.

Prior to LISC’s being engaged by the BID, the City Council had allocated but not yet expended $150,000 for downtown retail recruitment. With LISC’s work completed, these funds can be used most effectively to build on LISC’s conclusions and begin implementing and expanding their major recommendations.

One important note of caution: the weak national economic climate impacts private investment decisions in cities like New Rochelle. Especially in the current economy, it is not realistic to expect an immediate positive return on retail recruitment activities. What is required is a sensible and detailed plan, together with the will and determination to act on it over a sustained period of time.