Centerstone, in partnership with the Central Area Collaborative, is helping to guide commercial development within the Central Area district. Our goal is to retain the spirit and culture of the Central District by gathering community input on commercial revitalization efforts. The Central Area Collaborative is a group of 8 organizations working to align neighborhood development with community priorities. The project was recently funded by the City of Seattle and includes strategies to help establish and grow small businesses in the area as well as increase job training and social services for special populations in the Central Area.
Central Area Commercial Revitalization Plan – Overview
GOAL I: Align ongoing commercial development in the Central Area with community input.
Strategy 1: Increase community awareness of opportunities to engage and influence development and land use projects.
- Create or highlight online tools that help people understand projects happening in the neighborhood.
- Identify new ways in which people can participate in the land use and design review process.
- Create Urban Design Framework focused on the business nodes within the Central Area.
Strategy 2: Make commercial development accountable to community priorities.
- Convene community residents and stakeholders to identify shared values on economic development.
- Coordinate with the City to communicate community priorities to City departments (i.e. DPD, DON, OED, etc.).
- Facilitate a clear path of for small, large, local and national developers to engage with community organizations.
- Provide incentives for developers to include community priorities in development plans.
Strategy 3: Identify collaborative leaders willing to serve as liaisons to commercial developers
- Support dynamic solutions designed to meet the complex and diverse needs of collaborative members.
- Engage leaders from across diverse interests and expertise to represent the collaborative.
- Build strong and transparent relationships with commercial developers invested in the Central Area.
GOAL II: Establish, retain and grow independent, micro, and small businesses in the Central Area.
Strategy 1: Develop a coordinated marketing strategy for small businesses in the Central Area.
- Create a comprehensive Central Area brand/identity.
- Identify replicable, neighborhood collaborative marketing models.
- Provide marketing support to 10 arts and culturally focused businesses each month.
- Implement 2-3 unique marketing initiatives within the next two years.
Strategy 2: Offer technical and professional development support to Central Area business owners.
- Develop a micro business development strategy.
- Develop a technical support series for new small business owners.
- Develop a technical support series for established, small business owners.
- Increase professional development support for new and established business owners.
Strategy 3: Provide the financial and technical support needed to make Black business ownership more affordable and accessible in the Central Area.
- Create and/or adopt a theory of change or logic model focused on creating an equitable and level economic playing field.
- Secure funds to support a community-based, grant-making program for entrepreneurs.
- Facilitate strategic relationships with local banks to increase small business loan options.
- Work with City to develop incentive plans that support entrepreneurs and micro and small businesses.
GOAL III: Increase job training and social services for special populations living and working in the Central Area.
Strategy 1: Partner with schools, education institutions, and city departments to identify job training and program needs for special populations.
- Identify special populations and the social services needed to support job-training effort (e.g. childcare, transportation, low-income housing).
- Convene service organizations to review current programming and identify gaps in support services.
- Gather data from the City of Seattle, King County and Seattle Public Schools on special populations living in the Central Area.
- Create a community-based foundation focused jobs, education, and financial literacy.
Strategy 2: Identify and partner with local organizations, businesses and financial institutions to support programs and align job training with available and emerging employment opportunities.
- Engage institutions with established training programs and internship opportunities.
- Identify opportunities to build better connections to existing programs.
- Increase businesses owners’ awareness of the pool of trained community members.
GOAL IV: Develop a thriving, high quality, and educational food ecosystem reflective of the African diaspora.
Strategy 1: Create the right food production and retail mix for the community.
- Establish a Central Area Farmer’s Market.
- Negotiate with the City to secure long-term use of spaces and properties supportive of the community’s food interests (e.g., planting strips, right-of-ways, schools, firehouses, etc.).
Strategy 2: Practice group economics and investment for spaces and marketing.
- Create an entity that allows restaurant owners to work as a community in support of one another.
- Identify a collective economic model supportive of pooling money, securing resources, sharing ideas, and strategic purchasing power.
- Develop pipeline for small business creation through a centralized innovation HUB.
- Secure resources to support business creation programs (e.g. Fare Start, SUI).
GOAL V: Establish the Central Area as an African American arts and cultural center.
Strategy 1: Partner with the Office of Arts & Culture to establish the Central Area as a cultural arts district.
- Establish an accessible and inviting “hub” of art facilities within the Central Area.
- Promote the participation and financial support of artists, arts venues, and cultural events.
Strategy 2: Develop an ecosystem to support arts and culture based businesses.
- Identify and prioritize the desired elements of an arts and culture ecosystem.
- Review zoning codes related to arts and cultural facility development.
- Provide affordable spaces to support the creation and presentation all forms of arts and culture.