GREENE COUNTY NAVIGATION:
A key component to all of the previously outlined community enhancements are complementary efforts in nearby communities which brings forth regional connectivity. With a multitude of activities and attractions in the region, this will enhance opportunities for increased tourism.
During the tour of Scranton, it was clear two driving forces in the community are Scranton Manufacturing and Mayor Randy Winkelman.
We were taken on a guided tour of the underused community center, the downtown, area city parks, and a quick run around the New Way trucks at Scranton Manufacturing. We learned of the city’s desire to see the community center used more often, as the space features a full kitchen and rental event venue. A viable marketing plan is the missing piece to increased usage of the community center. Interviews throughout Jefferson revealed that no one knows the space is available for rent or that it features a full-service kitchen. A clear and actionable marketing plan will bring the space to life.
As it was pointed out, a critical element for the city is to transform Main Street into a viable business district as it was years ago. The major missing piece to Main Street is the former Old Lincoln Highway 30 Grille and Tavern. This space presents a turnkey opportunity for a restaurateur. There are two ways to attract an owner/operator:
Advertise the opportunity throughout Central Iowa as a turnkey restaurant with incentives:
- Convince the owner to offer the space at a low purchase price and/or lower than market rental rates
- The City of Scranton can incentivize the business to do the above by providing financial assistance.
- Conduct a survey of the nearly 300 employees at Scranton Manufacturing to see how many would come for lunch each week and how many would do breakfast or dinner; use this information to demonstrate the viability of the business .
- The other option is to work with the Jefferson restaurant group and use this space as potential future expansion.
Paton, a town of about 236 residents, is in dire need of housing. Bauer Manufacturing, the major employer in town, has a history of creating amenities for its workforce. The community needed a convenience store and gas station, so Bauer built one. A restaurant and bar was necessary to stimulate the local economy as well as provide a social outlet for employees. Bauer built 209 Main, an upscale/casual restaurant that often sees lines out the door on weekends. Now Bauer can take the next step to create new housing.
New apartments have not been built in Paton, or in most rural Iowa communities of less than 2,000 people, mostly due to the cost of building and the risk to the developer. To build 16 new units, one would have to charge close to $900/month for a 1-bedroom unit, and most people are unwilling to pay that much in a community of this size. However, Bauer not only has the unique ability to help subsidize this project, it also sees the need from a retention and recruitment standpoint. We are recommending that Bauer acts as the developer for the project, but also helps underwrite some of the direct costs.
BAUER-BUILT HOUSING PROGRAM
Bauer has always been an innovative company willing to take risks when an opportunity presents itself. Given some unique investment, Bauer can lead the way in how companies can help stimulate housing projects in rural communities.
Included in Appendix F is a full housing pro-forma based on creating 16 new units in Paton’s downtown, across the street from the Bauer built 209 Main. The units are designed as 4 separate buildings of 1 level units. Each building will include two 2-bedroom units on either side, and two 1-bedroom units in the center. The cost to build is about $132,000 per unit. At this price point a rent of between $850-$900 for a 1-bedroom and $1,200 for a 2-bedroom would need to be charged to make the project work. Bauer can create a program to drop these costs for their employees by doing 3 things: investing cash up-front, developing the building, and/or selling the property 10-years after it opens.
The up-front investment will need to be $23,125 per unit, or $370,000 total. This amount will be returned in three ways:
- By acting as the developer of the building, Bauer will collect the
$109,262 development fee
- The pro-forma already being completed and vetted, Bauer would potentially need to hire a tax-credit specialist to guide that process at a $10,000 one time fee.
Selling the Property:
- 10-years after it opens, the building can be sold which would have a net value of $175,226 in our plan
Retention and Recruitment:
- The initial investment of $370,000 minus the development fee, property sale and adding in the tax credit specialist fee equals a loss of $95,512
- That loss could be written off as a recruitment/retention cost and/or marketing cost for Bauer
The goal here is if you are willing to come work for Bauer and live in Paton, thereby helping local economic development, Bauer will put you in a brand new 1-bedroom unit that should cost $900/month but will be reduced to $705/month, or a 2-bedroom unit that should cost $1,200 and is reduced to $1,015.
WHAT: Launch Bauer-Built Housing Program
WHO: BM Senior Staff
WHEN: Q3 2018
HOW: Talk to current team members to determine how strong interest is for existing staff. Create marketing materials for recruitment and retention for current and future team members.
WHAT: Develop Property
WHO: Architects, Engineers, Contractors, & BM senior staff
WHEN: Q2-Q4 2018
HOW: Work with professional services to take the plan we created and price out all projects/concepts. Look at internal staff to see where skill sets align for development, and hire staff outside of team if there is a gap.
WHAT: Create Bauer-Build Housing Program
WHO: Bauer Manufacturing (BM) senior staff
WHEN: Q4 2017
HOW: Vet out 16-unit pro-forma and agree to put forward cash investment
ACTION 1: Create Capital Campaign Committee
ACTION 2: Determine overall plan/how many buildings
ACTION 3: Determine overall capital costs
ACTION 4: Decide on first building project(s)
ACTION 5: Identify potential artist tenant/buyers
ACTION 6: Create Marketing Materials
ACTION 7: Create fundraising map
ACTION 8: Launch Fundraising Campaign, Hold large event in Grand Junction
ACTION 9: Book 2 other events – Winter 2018 / Spring 2019
ACTION 10: Continue fundraising efforts until spring 2019
Get Community Buy-In
City Council and City Leaders – select a committee to oversee
Hold 2-3 visioning sessions with community, make sure at least 20
– 30 people are there for each session focused around an artistic community plan. A major component is to sell the idea for a revitalization of the downtown. It is unlikely any one building will improve due to the current condition of the other buildings downtown. A comprehensive plan to address all the buildings is the only feasible way to improve the buildings and the downtown. This is one of the only viable options for the community and will result in creating a unique community. MEC staff will be available for these sessions.
Finalize real costs for all buildings
Add artists to the CCC
CCC and Local Artists
Work with artist communities in Ames, Des Moines, and Omaha to get the word out. Contact reporters in all three markets to do a story on what the plan is. Have artists contact CCC, and break it down by discipline. Offer all disciplines and say that CCC will build to suit.
Determine subsidies and programs
CCC and Artists
Programs* need to acquire sponsorship from either public or private entities. Suggestion is to start a non-profit foundation that pools resources to purchase all buildings. Similar to Baltimore’s $1/building purchase, banks agree to finance repairs through a non-profit entity that acts as property owners. The artists who occupy spaces do so with generous lease terms for first 2-3 years in order to bring program to fruition. Zoning codes are relaxed so artists can live and work in spaces. Trade off includes program guidelines**
All disciplines can be represented, as created through visioning sessions with artists. Criteria should be created in order to determine what artists are selected for program. Programs can include visual art spaces, live theaters, music venues, educational spaces, etc. The goal is to have variety and artists who are dedicated to staying for at least 3 years. Equity in the buildings can be offered for each year they remain as incentive to stay. Additionally artists can pool together to obtain health care and other benefits.
Trade offs for agreeing to move to Grand Junction and participate in the program can include: (1) Remaining for X amount of years, (2) Obtaining insurance, (3) Agreeing to showing work on dedicated schedule, weekly, monthly, etc, (4) Overseeing and executing 3-4 annual events/festivals to showcase work and community