The City of Charlottesville has been increasingly confronting its history of racial inequality, spurred in part by the events during the Summer of Hate, especially on August 12, 2017. The city funded the creation of a Small Area Plan (SAP) for the Starr Hill neighborhood, which was once the location the city’s black business district before urban renewal work in the 1950s and 60s demolished much of the area. Through extensive community outreach and engagement and analysis of regional and neighborhood growth opportunities, this SAP emerged with strategies to guide Starr Hill’s trajectory and influence how it connects more fully to the broader Charlottesville economy. The work also extended its scope to all of Black Charlottesville, identifying opportunities for those populations in and around Starr Hill to participate in and drive the growth and prosperity that Charlottesville is generally experiencing, but which has yet to fully connect to and benefit all of the city’s residents and businesses. 

Food and beverage manufacturing and packaging is a major opportunity for inclusive cluster-based development in the Chicagoland region (see RW Ventures’ Chicagoland FOOD report). Cook County’s South Suburbs are home to many food processing companies, giving the area an opportunity to build on those firms’ activity and expand the current industry presence (see SSEGI Phase I Report). A leading concept has emerged to establish the Southland as a hub for innovative food processing and support the growth of high-growth small food companies and established mid-sized companies: the Food Processing Innovation Center. This concept paper summarizes the proposed facility, including the market opportunity it seizes to target support to particular food companies, its physical structure and the expected associated business services that will serve food companies across the Southland.

The South Suburban Economic Growth Initiative (SSEGI) brings together community, industry, and government to reestablish the South Suburbs as an economic powerhouse. It is a wide-reaching and ambitious convening of leading partners and resources whose goal is to achieve transformative economic development. The Phase I report provides the market analysis that led to the identification of SSEGI’s focus areas — from advanced manufacturing to entrepreneurship, workforce development, housing finance and more. See www.ssegi.com for more information.

The lead institution in managing SSEGI is the Southland Development Authority (SDA). Launched in November 2019, the SDA an innovative national development authority model charged with driving comprehensive, transformative and inclusive economic growth in the South Suburbs. See New Institutions for a New Economy for background on the design and formation of the development authority.

This document is the culmination of an innovative, two-year effort to develop an integrated and mutually reinforcing set of strategies and initiatives to drive growth in four contiguous Chicago neighborhoods: Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Avalon Park and Greater Grand Crossing. The plan reflects a new, replicable approach to neighborhood growth planning, embedded in the context of regional economic opportunities. Chapter I lays out the economic foundations of the plan, and is followed by a rigorous market analysis, articulation of the plan’s 16 strategies and an outline of the lead implementation initiatives and institutional infrastructure.

Chicago TREND (Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development) combines innovative predictive analytics, deal brokering and financial products to support “retail on the leading edge” of emerging neighborhood markets. The new initiative – including partnerships with ICSC, Nielsen, Econsult Solutions and leading retailers and developers – aims to enable retailers, developers, investors and neighborhoods to better target particular types of retail to specific changing neighborhoods offering retail opportunity that will help drive the neighborhood change. The initiative is led by Lyneir Richardson. To discuss potential retail development and partnership opportunities, please contact him at lrichardson@chicagotrend.com.

This report, written in partnership with the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), highlights the opportunities for driving inclusive regional growth through the collaborative development of the Chicagoland region’s food manufacturing and packaging cluster. The report is a product of the MacArthur Foundation-supported Linking Neighborhoods to Clusters project, connecting neighborhood-level economic development goals to regional, cluster-based development strategies.

agroindustria-6825 flickr photo by United Nations Industrial Development Organization shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

Chicago TREND (Transforming Retail Economics of Neighborhood Development) combines innovative predictive analytics, deal brokering and financial products to support “retail on the leading edge” of emerging neighborhood markets. The new initiative – including partnerships with ICSC, Nielsen, Econsult Solutions and leading retailers and developers – aims to enable retailers, developers, investors and neighborhoods to better target particular types of retail to specific changing neighborhoods, offering retail opportunity that will help drive the neighborhood change. The initiative is led by Lyneir Richardson. To discuss potential retail development and partnership opportunities, please contact him at lrichardson@chicagotrend.com.

This set of documents reflects recommendations for leveraging urban industrial corridors in Indianapolis, Indiana in ways that support high-growth-potential regional clusters. The project was undertaken by RW Ventures in partnership with Mass Economics, Bookman Associates, Capraro Consulting and Jones Lang LaSalle on behalf of Indianapolis LISC. The presentation describes the urban opportunities among targeted economic clusters, ultimately recommending a focus on (a) Food Manufacturing and Distribution and (b) Local Business-to-Business (B2B) Services. The report then provides a more in-depth description of those clusters and articulates a location profile for each that captures the location preferences, site characteristics and building requirements of firms in those clusters. Finally, the report offers recommendations for promoting growth of the Food Manufacturing and Distribution and Local B2B clusters in existing industrial areas in Indianapolis and proposed methodologies for the next round of cluster development and industrial land analysis.

This presentation, delivered to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s leadership team, provides a set of strategic redevelopment scenarios for a 31-acre site the foundation owns in the Pittsburgh neighborhood of Atlanta, GA. In the context of growing opportunities in the next economy for “economic place making” which aligns neighborhood and regional development, a cross-disciplinary team — including partners Mass Economics, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, TSW and Noell Consulting Group — undertook extensive regional and local market analysis and stakeholder engagement to identify a range of market-feasible development alternatives for the site that would maximize opportunities for community residents and businesses. The team explored development opportunities ranging from a food innovation park to a “blue-collar innovation district.” This presentation summarizes the team’s approach to the project, its market and site findings, recommended strategic development scenarios and a proposed strategy for taking the site to market for development. The team’s work is described in more detail in a set of non-public deliverables prepared for the foundation.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, accepting the recommendations of her Council of Economic Advisors, adopted Partnering for Prosperity: An Economic Growth Action Agenda for Cook County, a report developed with assistance from RW Ventures and Metropolis Strategies.  The Action Agenda provides a blueprint for more strategic, targeted and deeper County engagement in regional economic development, recommending nine key strategies based on Cook’s role and capacities in the regional economy.  RW Ventures and Metropolis Strategies will continue to work with Cook County, as it now adapts its programs and engages partners to create transformative initiatives to implement the strategies.