Promoting Downtown as the Center of Commerce in our Community and Providing Support to Businesses
Commercial establishments play an immeasurable role in shaping the economic, social, and physical character and health of downtown, including creating a sense of uniqueness and place. Downtown Ann Arbor has seen commercial growth since the inception of the 1982 DDA Plan. Despite this growth, the downtown business environment continually requires attention and encouragement if it is to remain healthy, vibrant, and competitive.
Many of the businesses that add character to downtown Ann Arbor are small, independent stores that offer unique, one-of-a-kind goods and services. Their ongoing success is closely linked with the cultural and social identity of downtown, as well as its perceived strength as a commercial district.
Retail tastes and trends are always changing - not only what people shop for, but also why they shop and how they shop. The role of retail in downtowns across America has changed tremendously over the last two decades and will no doubt continue to evolve in the future. Understanding important trends will enable downtown Ann Arbor to be in the best position to compete locally, regionally, and nationally for quality businesses and customer dollars.
- Undertake capital improvements that are geared towards increasing downtown commercial viability.
- Encourage appropriate public and private infill projects to increase commercial activity.
- Support strategies to retain and strengthen local retail businesses.
- Encourage the activities and intercooperation of the four downtown Area Associations. Support local and regional promotional efforts by the Associations.
- Participate in efforts to attract new retail, businesses, and services to downtown that support residential needs.
- Encourage an appropriate mix of local retailers and regional/national retailers, as it strengthens downtown Ann Arbor's ability to draw retail shoppers. Collect and disseminate information about the downtown environment and commercial opportunities to support property owner efforts to attract a diversity of attractive businesses.
- Work with the City of Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, and Spark to encourage the retention of existing businesses and the attraction of new businesses to downtown.
- Identify downtown areas that are undergoing significant change or distress, and work with area stakeholders and property owners to develop strategies aimed at maintaining and strengthening commercial environments.
- Promote Ann Arbor's unique identity as a compelling business asset. Preserve, develop, and market those things that make Ann Arbor a special place as this is crucial to retaining current businesses and attracting new businesses to downtown.