A Local Development Journey


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A presentation summarizing the evolution and trends of development in the Elmhurst community, with a specific focus on Downtown Elmhurst. Slightly modified versions of this were presented to the communities of Overland, Missouri in November, 2007, and Woodson Terrace, Missouri in March, 2008.

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A Local Development Journey

  1. 1. Elmhurst, Illinois: A Development Journey November 2007
  2. 2. First, a few disclaimers.. <ul><li>These are not new ideas! Many communities do downtown redevelopment; ALL communities CAN do things to make BETTER PLACES. </li></ul><ul><li>Each community has its own set of circumstances and OPPORTUNITIES; this journey is UNIQUE to Elmhurst. </li></ul><ul><li>MANY people and institutions acting as a TEAM help make it successful. </li></ul><ul><li>Each place defines SUCCESS differently. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Presentation Summary <ul><li>--Downtown background </li></ul><ul><li>--Downtown slowdown </li></ul><ul><li>--Downtown turnaround </li></ul><ul><li>--An all-around Downtown </li></ul><ul><li>--TOOLS to USE </li></ul><ul><li>--Perspectives and Reflections </li></ul>
  4. 4. Downtown Background - Historical Perspectives <ul><li>Downtown developed around rail line (1 st major stop outside Chicago in DuPage County) </li></ul><ul><li>Institutions contributed to area growth (Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Hospital); </li></ul><ul><li>Traditional downtown development from early 20 th century onward (including some higher density residential development); </li></ul><ul><li>Traditionally, the commercial center of eastern DuPage County; </li></ul><ul><li>Retail center (including department stores) into the 60’s and 70’s. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Historical perspectives (1900, 1937, 1964, 1965)
  6. 6. A Downtown Slowdown.. <ul><li>Early 1970’s through early 1990’s </li></ul><ul><li>Malls arrive (Oakbrook and Yorktown); department stores close or relocate; </li></ul><ul><li>Lease exclusivity at malls (no same store locations within 5-mile radius); </li></ul><ul><li>Downtown auto dealers move to outlying locations (more land = more inventory) </li></ul><ul><li>Transition to service uses and a less-intensive retail business environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Resulting climate? More storefront vacancies and some marginal uses. </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1970’s through early 1990’s
  8. 8. A Downtown Turnaround begins (1990’s).. <ul><li>BACKGROUND </li></ul><ul><li>City commits to address Downtown area; Mayor/City Council create Special Commissions for Downtown; DuPage County Planning Dept. provides consultation and assistance. </li></ul><ul><li>BRIEF TIMELINE </li></ul><ul><li>1980’s: Central Business District Plan efforts </li></ul><ul><li>1986: Downtown Tax Increment Finance District created </li></ul><ul><li>1990-91: York Theatre (upgrades and expansions with City $ help) </li></ul><ul><li>1992: Special Service Area (Elmhurst City Centre) begins </li></ul><ul><li>Contributing Resources: </li></ul><ul><li>Commuter train line </li></ul><ul><li>Cultural and institutional facilities (Wilder Park, museums, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst Hospital) </li></ul><ul><li>Chamber of Commerce </li></ul>
  9. 9. A Downtown Transformed.. <ul><ul><li> Plaza area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>  1990 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> 1996  </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Police Stn./ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Schiller deck & </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>res. units </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> 1982 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> 1993  </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. An All-Around Downtown Emerges (1990’s-2000’s).. <ul><li>FACTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Public/Private PARTNERSHIPS: use of City property & City purchase and use of properties; Public/Private agreements for redevelopment (TIF $ assistance) </li></ul><ul><li>Parking decks and zoning change (downtown parking goes public) </li></ul><ul><li>City Centre Plaza (a SPACE is created) </li></ul><ul><li>Elmhurst City Centre promotions/marketing/events </li></ul><ul><li>Chamber of Commerce promotions/events </li></ul><ul><li>Creative use of dollars: </li></ul><ul><li>Metra (regional rail agency) $  parking decks </li></ul><ul><li>TIF $  streetscape, lighting, other improvements </li></ul><ul><li>TIF $  retail grant program, façade grant program </li></ul><ul><li>Business community…The INVESTORS!! </li></ul>
  11. 11. An All-Around Downtown Emerges (1990’s-2000’s).. <ul><li>MORE FACTORS </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial property improvement and redevelopment (private sector and public/private); </li></ul><ul><li>York Theatre upgrades and expansions (from 1 screen to 9 screens); </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on “entertainment”; restaurants (complement movie theatre), boutique bowling, movies, fun; </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial space upgrades – focus on independent and boutique retail - Retail Grant Program support; </li></ul><ul><li>Residential development – over 500 dwelling units added (condos and townhomes) (“retail follows rooftops”); </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence of a “Cultural Campus” (museums, Elmhurst Public Library, Elmhurst College), with connection to Central Business District; and </li></ul><ul><li>School District 205; excellent unified (K-12) local school district  “desirable” community  home ownership/investment  property values. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Some Key Downtown Components:
  13. 13. Recognition!!
  14. 14. A few TOOLS to consider.. <ul><li>Employ Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Special Service Areas (SSA’s), Business Improvement Districts (BID’s). Use financing to attract retailers (like Elmhurst’s retail grant and façade programs). </li></ul><ul><li>Community promotions:  real estate luncheons with guest speakers </li></ul><ul><li>(1) Commercial broker luncheons:  testimonial speakers: local business people. </li></ul><ul><li>(2) Residential broker luncheons: invite school superintendents to promote schools. </li></ul><ul><li>Join ICSC, APA and ULI. Network with real estate brokers, planners, developers. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Guerilla marketing”: pizza parties, strolling musicians, jazz festivals, battle of the bands, celebrate ANYTHING---even mistakes!! (a “Pardon our Dust” party during/after construction), Taste of Overland, street fests, farmers markets, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Celebrate identity!: Conestoga wagon sculptures around community, annual cardboard Conestoga wagon race on Woodson Road. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage entertainment uses—restaurants, theatres, bowling alley (or open one yourself) </li></ul><ul><li>Create great spaces such as downtown plaza (vacant site on sw corner of Woodson & Midland). Entry sign monument, fountain, landscaping, outdoor seating, café, amphitheatre. </li></ul><ul><li>Create “Overland dollars” gift certificates, dollars for scholars, or other such promotions. </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage condominium development and public parking through zoning; utilize public/private agreements. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop shuttle from downtown, employment centers, and Metrolink. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Some Perspectives and Reflections: <ul><li>PEOPLE with VISION, CREATIVITY and PASSION; the JOURNEY requires ADVOCATES for the LONG HAUL; </li></ul><ul><li>Encourage CREATIVITY of both local officials and the private side; </li></ul><ul><li>Reinforcing existing DRAWS (anchors) or develop NEW ones; </li></ul><ul><li>Thinking LONG TERM and remembering the BIG PICTURE; </li></ul><ul><li>Building/maintaining/enhancing local support (OBA and City);. </li></ul><ul><li>Pursuing a “well-rounded” approach; using ALL possible programs and LEVERAGING with non-financial incentives; </li></ul><ul><li>Addressing activists with FACTS and EDUCATION; </li></ul><ul><li>Use technical assistance – regional planning groups, area government agencies, universities, community colleges, tech. centers, workforce bureaus, etc.; </li></ul><ul><li>Downtowns do not function on foot traffic alone—need other reasons to go there (very FEW downtowns survive on foot traffic alone—only ones in USA? New York and Chicago);  </li></ul><ul><li>Continue to use recommendations from the Comprehensive Plan. </li></ul><ul><li>YOU CAN DO IT! </li></ul>
  16. 16. If You Dream It, You Can DO It!!
  17. 17. THANK YOU! <ul><li>John D. Said, AICP, Director </li></ul><ul><li>Department of Planning, Zoning and Economic Development </li></ul><ul><li>City of Elmhurst </li></ul><ul><li>209 N. York Street </li></ul><ul><li>Elmhurst, Illinois 60126 </li></ul><ul><li>630.530.6016; [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Visit www.elmhurst.org for retail and façade grant programs info., Downtown Plan, etc. Also visit: www.elmhurstcitycentre.com and www.elmhurstchamber.org for more information. </li></ul>