CDS Community Development Strategies
Despite having several unique gems, downtown Mesquite has a mix of sub‐standard uses, a lack of walkability, and multiple blighted buildings. But is has some great things going for it, including City Council support for new public investment, terrific vehicle access, several volunteers willing to work on redevelopment, and a gap in the market for a destination Downtown within the eastern sector of DFW.
A Champion — Identify a key individual with vision, passion and leadership qualities who is willing to serve as the catalyst to energize the different individual, business and civic players who need to come together.
An Organization — Form a special purpose organization, with a strong board of private sector leaders, and help find a way to adequately fund it.
Proper Ordinances — Restoration and preservation ordinances, architectural guidelines, building standards and permitting requirements and policies must be reviewed, revised, adopted and enforced.
Market Knowledge — A clear understanding of the market potential for retail, office, services and residential development is necessary to attract the right types of investment.
Broad Involvement — A high level of volunteer citizen involvement in non-profit organizations is necessary to oversee restoration and preservation and to organize festivals and celebrations to attract visitors.
Civic Facilities — Relocations or addition of branches of civic facilities such as city hall, county courthouse, community centers and performing arts facilities as well as utility, street, streetscape, sidewalk, lighting and park improvements are important stimulants.
Lead Tenants — Care must be taken to secure lead tenants that will bring visitors and create an inviting environment.
Adequate Parking — Assure that convenient parking is provided in a manner that does not detract from pedestrian mobility, shopping convenience or continuity of a historic district.
Residential Development — Preserve historic single family home residential areas and stimulate new residential development near the downtown commercial districts.
An Exciting Plan — Create a plan that inspires people and creates a buzz about the potential for the area. Use artist renderings of the revitalized area and locate them in a prominent high traffic area of the downtown area.
Marketing— Continue with new and creative efforts to actively market the Downtown area for new compatible development and for tenants in the existing buildings.
About the Author: Brenda G Crenshaw is Vice President of CDS Community Development Strategies. She specializes in office, retail, industrial, multi-family, condominium and student housing analysis.