Review of BIA Conference, Victoria, April 2014

Report for:  Sechelt Downtown  Business Association
Monday May 5, 2014
Prepared by: Cindy Buis
BIA Conference – Victoria – April 2014
Regional, Provincial, National and International BIAs

“Urban Design for the New Economy”
Keynote Speaker: Chris Beynon

Rapidly evolving markets, demographics and technology are impacting cities faster than ever before.  Transformations are happening at a rapid pace within fierce global competition. Average is over – We need to offer Extraordinary. New workers are demanding robust, creative and interesting, fun & funky places to live and work. There is a growing “sharing economy” using bikes rather than suburbia and cars. They want flexible user-friendly streets and “Let it change to suit the current needs” green spaces and alleyways.  

The demographic wave is coming – the younger generation “Millenials” – most of them tech savvy – are not afraid of diversity and many are choosing “homegrown” vs “globalization”. Later Chris spoke about re:Streets – From Pavement to Parks:  claiming back nature from the concrete jungle, to create social gathering places and public plazas with safe places for children to play. Places are developing holistic events and Ppograms with a variety of flexible activities in am and pm.  
“Arts & Culture in our Downtowns”
Lisa Dixon and Karen True from Pioneer Sq in Seattle

There is a need to establish cultural hubs as a focus to attract and retain the “creative vein”. An Arts District is a hub for arts and cultural activities, arts retail, arts walks, live/work studios, public art, music, performance etc.  Start by taking an inventory – then do the matchmaking to connect landowners with the right tenants. Established businesses and the arts community work together for capacity building and great return on investment.  Start with good restaurants and great chefs – Food as Art – to draw people together for activities.   

The Arts Club Theatre in Vancouver is now celebrating 50 years. Howard Jang did an impact study to see the positive effect the theatre had on the surrounding community. Retailers stayed open til 8pm nights when the theatre drew people in. Retails sales increased, building permits were up and crime decreased. Also a high percentage of the local neighborhood frequented the theatre as well as attending open houses and sharing community stories. It became a real gathering place – giving people a sense of place.

Best of the West Awards Lunch
Three Awards to Calgary – Kennington and Stevens Ave  
(I Love …)
(Communications during the Flood Crisis)
Vancouver West End, Partnered with Robson Square (Free Trolley Bus over 5 weekends)
Collingwood (Jr BIA) Vancouver (Pilot Project: Public Space Programming – Bistro Style/ Music)
Victoria (31 pieces of “pop up art” in prominent vacant windows – could be replicated here)

“Identifying and Attracting the Right Retailers and Developers”
Cynthia Stewart
2 Parts

Learn how work collaboratively with property owners and brokers to improve the tetail mix and amenities that make the community more attractive: access, parking, lighting, safety etc. Look at underserved markets & non-traditional anchors (post office, court house, banks, theatres)
Retail Leasing
Phase One: diagnose and interpret / observe and investigate, evaluate consumer demand, identify opportunity and sites, complimentary retailers, categories etc…
Phase Two: mobilize partners (DBA / Developers / Property Owners / Prospects)
Phase Three: celebrate and evaluate – recognize success

Let’s work together to make our community vibrant welcoming.

Cindy Buis
Sechelt BIA


1. Identifying and Attracting the Right Retailers and Developers: An International Council of Shopping Centers’ Workshop

Part 1: Understanding the Landscape
What does it take to get your community on a retailer’s radar? What do retailers, both big and small, want to see before making investment decisions? This first of a two-part session presents valuable information on how to assess the needs and desires of retailers and how to approach them; what consumer demographics should be highlighted; and what incentives and subsidies are likely to sweeten the deal.
Presenters: Cynthia Stewart, Director, Community Relations, International Council of Shopping Centers; Larisa Ortiz, Principal, Larisa Ortiz Associates, New York, NY

Part 2: The Unique Value-Add Role of BIAs/BRZs/BIDs
Building on Part I, learn how to work collaboratively with your property owners and brokerage community to improve retail mix; what amenities help make your community more attractive to retailers, such as access, parking, lighting, safety and retail competition; and practical tools and tips for getting the most out of retail trade shows and identifying regional or independent retailers that might be hard to find.
Presenters: Cynthia Stewart, Director, Community Relations, International Council of Shopping Centers; Larisa Ortiz

2. Arts & Culture in our Downtowns: More Than Just a Night at the Theatre

Attracting and retaining the ‘creative class’ in our districts is a growing focus for our cities. This includes establishing cultural hubs, incubating start-up industries and nurturing young entrepreneurs. It also means connecting established businesses with the arts community and highlighting the return on investment to both of working together. Where are BIAs/BRZs/BIDs? Are we leading or following the discussions? Hear from colleagues involved at various points in the conversation.
Presenters: Lisa Dixon, Director of Marketing & Communications & Karen True, Community & Business Development Specialist, The Alliance for Pioneer Square, Seattle, WA; Howard Jang, Executive Director, The Arts Club, Vancouver, BC

3. re:Streets: A Holistic Approach to Re-imagining our Streets

re:Streets is a new way of thinking about our streets. It’s a multi-disciplinary collaboration focused on the planning, design and construction of roadways as a method for improving our built environment, bolstering our economy, and creating healthier communities. It pushes beyond the current standards to explore the future of streets and what North America’s roadways would be like if they were designed for living, instead of just driving. BIAs/BRZs/BIDs don’t own the streets, but downtown association leaders play an important advocacy role to get all stakeholders re-focused on streets for everyone.
Presenter: Christopher Beynon, Principal, MIG, Inc., IDA Board of Berkley