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Featured Project

NEW RESEARCH ON MAIN STREET

PlaceEconomics recently completed economic impact studies for the state Main Street programs in New Mexico and North Carolina. Both states established Main Street programs in the early to mid-1980s, and both have a long history of rehabilitating historic buildings, attracting businesses, and creating jobs. Those who work with the statewide programs and local Main Street districts know firsthand that they are extraordinarily effective economic development efforts. This new research provides hard numbers to back that up.

Highlights from the reports:

  • Main Street attracts and supports new businesses: 3,200 in New Mexico over 28 years and 4,700 in North Carolina over 33 years.
  • Those businesses create jobs: 11,400 in New Mexico and 18,000 in North Carolina.
  • Main Street spurs investment: More than $1 billion in New Mexico and $2 billion in North Carolina.
  • Main Street leverages private-sector dollars: For every $1 the New Mexico MainStreet program spent, the private sector spent $44.50. In North Carolina, that number rises to $127 of private-sector investment for every $1 from the state Main Street program.
  • Main Street pays for itself: In New Mexico, private-sector investment in MainStreet buildings adds $5.1 million in local tax revenues each year. In North Carolina, each year’s state sales tax revenue from just that year’s net new businesses in Main Street districts provides the state treasury five times the revenue of what the entire Main Street program costs.

But even these numbers don’t tell the entire story of Main Street’s success. Main Street also leads to increased community pride, greater commitment to historic preservation, and greater support for locally owned businesses.

Download the reports to learn more:

In the News

Straight talk on preservation and rightsizing cities: Preservation Provocateur Cara Bertron
(March 1, 2014)
“Delivering straight talk about rightsizing cities, GRAY AREA’s Preservation Provocateur Cara Bertron uses phrases not often heard in preservation circles: ‘strategic demolition,’ ‘land banks,’ ‘pragmatism,’ ‘preservation bubble.’ …The rightsizing movement – reshaping a city’s physical fabric to meet current and anticipated population – is both ‘politically fraught’ and in its formative stages, Bertron says, so the time is now for activists to make sure preservation is at the table… Her brand of pragmatism extends to accepting that not every older building is a candidate for preservation. ‘We have to acknowledge that strategic demolition is okay,’ she says. ‘We also have to ask hard questions about market demand … it does not always make sense to rehabilitate a building.’”
Gray Area

Pro-demolition preservationists? Cara Bertron explores rightsizing and preservation
(February 14, 2014)
“‘Our job as preservationists is to argue for rightsizing,’ Cara Bertron contended before a crowd of preservationists at University of the Arts Wednesday evening. That means getting behind targeted demolition in some areas, helping build on the best resources of older neighborhoods, and forging some unconventional partnerships… Preservationists like to think they’re expert at ‘managing change.’ Bertron argues it’s time to put those tools to work in new ways, engaging in community conversations and working with public agencies to help make critical decisions about the fate of historic neighborhoods. In turn, Bertron believes, preservationists may be better able to save aging but valuable assets in legacy cities.”
PlanPhilly

Report: New Mexico Main Street Program Works
(February 5, 2014)
“There are 27 MainStreet programs throughout New Mexico and since its inception, $1 billion has been invested in the commercial districts for restoration and development. But often missed from the effort is the economic activity that happens after the construction is completed… Now the program has tried to document that with an economic impact report released last week by Donovan D. Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics… Rypkema was able to conclude that the program is partly responsible for expanding the jobs base in many of the small communities. ‘There’s significantly greater job creation in restoration than new construction… And these are not jobs that can be shipped to Indonesia next month, they have to stay in New Mexico.’”
Santa Fe New Mexican

Historical District Too Big To Tackle All at Once, in Expert’s Opinion
(January 25, 2014)
“Rypkema believes historic preservation is, in and of itself, sustainable development. He pointed to numerous studies and examples from several U.S. cities he says back up his claim. He said rehabilitating historic buildings creates more jobs and income than new construction and many types of manufacturing and it often raises property values.”
The Montana Standard

NM Above National Average for Main Street Program Growth
(December 12, 2013)
“The New Mexico Main Street program, over 28 years, has leveraged millions of dollars in private investments and created several thousand jobs in the state, according to the report released Thursday morning at the Albuquerque Hispano Chamber of Commerce… The study was done by Donovan Rypkema of PlaceEconomics of Washington, D.C… The more telling numbers that show the success of the program, Rypkema said, are those that show the number of businesses opening in Main Street zones is more than double the national average and for every dollar put into the program, the state sees a $44.50 return on its investment.”
Albuquerque Business First

Read more news at In the News.