Your town boomed in the 1970s, but now all those once-modern store buildings just look tired – and the vacancies and low-rent chain businesses they host aren’t helping anyone believe that this is a place worth investing in. Your residents are clamoring for the kinds of stores and restaurants other towns have, but they’re not appearing on their own.
Like many cities, Snellville’a city center primarily consisted of mid-20th century suburban-style commercial buildings. Despite recent public investments in public buildings and roads and sidewalks, the district faced a host of challenges, including building obsolescence, lack of place identity, very high traffic volumes, and intensive competition from newer suburban-style retail developments nearby.
By analyzing an extensive array of economic information and evaluating the current state of the real estate and capital markets, Della helped community leaders understand the development and financing challenges that had stymied conventional economic development, and put to rest a series of common mistaken assumptions about what
the community really needed.
Della then developed a strategy to help Downtown Snellville’s supporters create a community downtown space, even if conventional real estate funding was unavailable. The strategy included design of a new central park, an improved road networks, and organizational strategies for maintaining and expanding downtown area activities.
A central element of the recommendations revolved around an entirely new strategy for the region: repositioning the downtown area as a center for independent retail and restaurants and small office space — services largely left out of the contemporary regional retail environment and increasingly in demand among the trade area’s affluent and aging residents. Snellville today is building on this strategy — and finding renewed demand for what it offers.