Mon Valley Initiative, a coalition of community development corporations in the Monongahela Valley, received a $25,000 grant in May from the Enterprise Zone Corp. of Braddock, to contract with Mark Harvey Smith, a real estate broker and community consultant, to develop a commercial real estate marketing plan and tools based upon the desire of property owners and the community in Braddock.
This marketing phase builds on a community plan developed earlier this year by MVI and the Braddock Economic Development Corp. (BEDCO), a member of MVI, and adopted by Braddock Council in October. The plan included a comprehensive market restoration initiative as well as property survey to gain an understanding of the current physical and market conditions and develop a long-term vision for the Braddock Avenue business district.
Distressed markets, and especially commercial districts, can be difficult to promote, according to MVI. Property owners may not be informed as to current values; improvements to buildings can be costly and possibly exceed the value of the property; traditional financing may not be attainable; and occasionally buyers attracted to a distressed or emerging market may not have the necessary information to perform complex redevelopment efforts themselves.
The marketing plan developed by Smith addresses these issues and is similar to an effort he and MVI have successfully implemented in the Charleroi and West Newton commercial districts.
“This is a valuable resource for Braddock,” said Tina Doose, president of Braddock Borough Council and a BEDCO board member. “Having a 'go-to' commercial real estate contact specific to our community is a tremendous asset as we move forward with the revitalization of our business district and beyond.”
The primary marketing strategy, which builds on a comprehensive building inventory and outreach to property owners, is a community specific website with detailed information and resources specific to property available for lease or purchase in Braddock. Smith also offers familiarity with market analysis, business plan assistance, knowledge of business insurance needs and local zoning ordinances in order to provide direction to prospective new owners.
Most importantly, this grant provides a single, accountable point person with established credentials in commercial real estate, community development and emerging communities, to serve as a primary contact and conduit for interest in property on Braddock Avenue. Smith can be contacted at 412-585-2227.
William Pfoff, EZCB President said, “We‟re pleased to partner with BEDCO and MVI on this initiative. Our group is working with Braddock, North Braddock, Rankin, Swissvale and Braddock and the local business community to assist business development and job creation. We anticipate this targeted approach for Braddock Avenue will enhance the development activities already taking place."
The Enterprise Zone Corp. has incentives available to building and business owners that can be found at www.ezcb.org.