Lydia Jackson, Logan Schroder, Keith Todaro, Stanley Varner
Liz Swaine, Executive Director
Janie Landry, Deputy Director
Mission Statement: To actively pursue, support, facilitate and welcome initiatives that aid and encourage private development. Promote and coordinate public development within the Downtown Development District of Shreveport, Louisiana. TABLE OF CONTENTS
Development Priorities 3-7
Summary: Goals and Objectives 7-8
2017 Activities - Basic Services 9
Development and Marketing 9-10
Image and Communications 10
Legislative Action/Leadership Support 11
Parking and Transportation 11
Quality of Life 12-13
Urban Design 13
Introduction The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was established by Act 554 of the State of Louisiana in 1978. The provisions of Act 554 provide that an annual plan of work be submitted to the Shreveport City Council for review and adoption within 30 days from the date of submission. The 2016 Program of Work reflects the activities to be undertaken during 2017.
Downtown is composed of numerous stakeholders, organizations, and businesses, each with different opinions, ideas and priorities to improve downtown. As each organization and business contributes to the improvement of downtown in accordance with its own strengths and abilities, this diverse environment requires a complex development strategy.
In an effort to facilitate effective communication between stakeholders, define issues, and set a positive direction for downtown activities and improvements, goals and objectives have been broadly defined. This program of work incorporates portions of the Downtown 2010 Redevelopment Strategy, previously approved by the City Council, and the basis for the twenty-five year DDA millage extension approved by citywide vote in November 2002. The document also includes goals from the 2010-2015 Strategic Framework.
DDA funding under the millage extension is provided through the year 2027.
Development Priorities The DDA strives to improve the economic vitality of the Central Business District by focusing its efforts on a wide range of activities aimed at strengthening the existing business base, attracting new businesses, and improving property values while also highlighting the district’s historic charm and urban appeal.
Residential - DDA has conducted studies to quantify the demand for increased downtown living options. DDA continues to be the lead agency in identifying residential opportunities and seeking out developers interested in funding those opportunities. Parking, zoning, building and life/safety codes, financing, appraisal and mortgage options must work in harmony with development incentives to move downtown toward the goal of residential units in substantial quantity. Quantity, particularly of market rate units, is important in attracting other amenities such as grocery stores, drug stores, and other preferred retail to downtown.
Restoration and residential conversions continue at numerous downtown properties including the Lofts@624 Texas (former Sears building) and the Southern Bell (former Bell South building) at 627-629 Crockett Street). Residential development, which added market rate apartments is complete at Solomon Arms located at 720 Edwards Street. Residential is also planned for the Petroleum Building on Edwards Street, the Johnson building on Milam Street, and the former United Mercantile at 509 Market. The 509 Market property, recently named “The Standard” will feature 86 luxury residential lofts on the upper floors along with amenities including a grocery market and deli, rooftop dog park, and adjacent covered parking. The development is slated to open in 2017.
Downtown Development Support- The DDA and the non-profit Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) worked with local stakeholders and legislators during the 2016 Regular Session of the Louisiana Legislature to ensure that the State Commercial Historic Tax Credit incentive program was maintained. The credit equals 25% of eligible costs and expenses incurred through December 31, 2017 but drops to 20% effective January 1, 2018, regardless of the year in which the property is placed in service. This tax credit remains significant to the continued revitalization of downtown Shreveport and is a very important incentive tool for developers of historic properties.
Downtown Performance Code - A first for the state of Louisiana, the DDA formed a liaison with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and City of Shreveport to facilitate timely and informative plan reviews to assist developers with renovation. At DDA’s request, the Fire Marshal’s Office participates in Rapid Response meetings to answer questions and provide personal assistance for developers and building owners downtown.
Homelessness – The DDA understands that the issue of homelessness is complex and continues to work with the HOPE Connection, elected officials, local non-profits, law enforcement and the business community on homeless issues affecting downtown.
West Edge –DDA continues its commitment to strengthening the West Edge (the area around the 600/700 blocks of Texas Street) as a center of arts and cultural activity. Successes include the development of artspace, Robinson Film Center, Emmett Hook Performance Center, the Louisiana Film Prize, Millennium Studios, Southern University Museum of Art, and Tipitina’s Music Co-op.
More recent successes include development of the Lofts@624 and two other buildings in the 600 block of Texas, and the wholesale redevelopment of the 700 block of Texas (Joseph Guin Salon, Kevin Bryan-Architect, FUMC building). In 2016 the DDA partnered with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) in the expansion and renovation of 708 Texas, a DDA-owned building, to convert the space to house Parish Taceaux, a lively restaurant and bar that features regional-style tacos and handcrafted margaritas and cocktails. Other construction activity in the two-block area includes a new upstairs event space at 4J’s Java and More at 605 Texas Street. 2017 will see continued construction as Southern University- Shreveport begins an adaptive reuse conversation of the vacant Allen Building at 600 Texas Street to their School of Nursing.
DDA will continue its efforts to strengthen the anchors and attractions already located in the West Edge and draw others to the district.
Shreveport Common - The DDA is a member of the Shreveport Common Board of Directors and works to support efforts to develop downtown’s newest Arts & Culture District.
Market Analysis Completion –DDA and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) previously partnered to hire TMG Consulting of New Orleans to create a Market Analysis for Shreveport Common. Key findings showed the importance of the creation of a greenspace/gathering area and the Return on Investment (ROI) possible with residential and retail options. The Market Analysis was the recipient of the APA-LA statewide award in 2015.
Caddo Common Greenspace –DDA and DSDC continue to be engaged in the process of creating a needed greenspace in the western portion of downtown.
Historic Inventory Rehabilitation- DDA and DSDC work with Shreveport Common, private owners, developers and other partners in efforts to return vacant, underutilized and/or blighted properties to use and usefulness.
Art as Creative Placemaking- DDA acknowledges the importance of art as economic development and community building in Shreveport Common and works to find ways to enhance this unique aspect of the Shreveport Common district.
Historic Preservation and Adaptive Reuse
The importance of preservation and adaptive reuse has become more prominent with opportunities afforded by the State (Commercial) Historic Tax Credit, renewed interest in history and the passage of Shreveport’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. DDA staff interacts daily with developers and other interested parties in providing market and traffic data, commercial rental rates, sales comps and other information in an effort to get vacant buildings into the hands of those who have the means to return them to active commerce.
Staff continues to support the work of the Norla Preservation Project and the Shreveport Historic Preservation Society in the groups’ efforts to preserve, restore, and reuse historic shotgun houses in the DDD.
DDA’s remains committed to efforts to preserve and maintain its inventory of unique historic properties. The Downtown Shreveport National Register District was completed and approved by the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and the National Parks Service in 2015 making more downtown properties eligible for state and federal tax credits and other incentives applicable to historic restoration projects.
DDA continues to participate in and support events hosted by Louisiana Main Street, Louisiana Office of Cultural Development, and the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation and will continue to promote the significance of redevelopment and adaptive reuse of downtown’s historic properties.
DDA will continue producing events that are aimed at promoting the City Center’s past such as the popular History on Tap event and Hidden History Tour.
DDA continues to serve on the boards of the Shreveport Water Works Museum (SWWM) and Spring Street Historical Museum. Funding for both facilities continues to be of concern because of the state’s financial condition. DDA will continue efforts to ensure the continuation and vitality of these downtown attractions. DDA also assists by helping the SWWM and Railroad Museum, located on the grounds of the SWWM, promote their organizations through Social Media.
Cross Bayou – Possibly the most underutilized urban waterfront in the country, this area of mostly City-owned real estate is ripe for development as a mixed-use complex featuring public access to the water’s edge and various recreational amenities. Staff continues to assist the City and Metropolitan Planning Commission in efforts regarding the Cross Bayou Corridor.
Red River District - DDA developed an action plan in 2008 to transform the former entertainment district into a place that would draw patronage from locals and visitors alike and has continued to assist the City in ongoing efforts to regenerate the district. DDA staff continues to serve on the Red River District Advisory Committee and in an advisory role regarding the revitalization of the area through initiatives such as the Downtown Pop UP Project. The DDA continues its support Cohab in its goal to act as an entrepreneurial training center. DDA also partners with the City and other organizations such as the Young Professionals Initiative (YPI) to help promote events in the District such as the concert series Alive After Five.
Downtown Programming- Though DDA operates with a small staff, we are aggressive in our desire to support events aimed at drawing people downtown to live work, and play. When those events do not exist, DDA plans and executes them. Events as diverse as live music events, history tours, zombie walks and a paranormal festival were conceived and presented by DDA, bringing thousands to downtown who might not normally have a reason to visit. For the 2014 Pop UP retail activation projects, which featured three series, the DDA and Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation (DSDC) partnered with Citizens National Bank, Lofts@624, and Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation to bring new retail to the DDD. The 2015 Pop UP event was held in conjunction with the Shreveport Regional Arts Council at artspace. In 2016, DDA turned downtown into #CoolDowntown, a project funded by the Deepwater Horizon Grant Fund. Through the grant, DDA was able to draw attention to the many events, venues and attractions that make downtown special and unique. In 2016, DDA launched a monthly artwalk to focus attention on the downtown community’s various districts, unique buildings and spaces and art offerings. The first artwalk in September 2016 brought hundreds downtown to explore spaces and interact with artists. These free- to-the-public events are held the first Wednesday of each month and will feature the works of different artists at various downtown locations.
Downtown Marketing & Promotion- DDA uses all opportunities to market and promote the Downtown experience through aggressive use of paid and free media. DDA believes that people who are given correct information about downtown and after experiencing what downtown has to offer, will strongly consider downtown as a place to invest, work or live. At any given time, DDA is engaged in marketing outreach from social media and blog posts and videos to billboards. DDA also writes and provides information for a number of columns and articles that run in local publications each month.
Grants to Promote Downtown – DDA will pursue various grant opportunities in 2017 to provide additional funding for programming and development in downtown. Previous projects funded by financial grants such as the #CoolDowntown/Downtown is Cool Because… Campaign highlighted various attractions and downtown anchors while other grants such as the Northwest Louisiana Master Gardeners grant that was awarded to DDA affiliate – DSDC2, Inc. – provided funds for beautification efforts to clean up an eyesore at one of the entrances to downtown.
Communications Partnerships For a Stronger Downtown- DDA staff works hard to strengthen downtown partnerships and believes a free-flow of communication is imperative. Communication with governmental entities, businesses, developers, non-profits, learning institutions, media and more are employed to increase the vitality of downtown as a whole. Communications outreach includes community speeches and talks, a wide range of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the downtownshreveport.com website, press releases and columns in Forum News, The Times and BIZ magazine, among others.
Summary: Goals and Objectives A. Basic Services
Ensure and, if appropriate, supplement the effective delivery and management of basic municipal services such as police services and litter removal on the public streets and spaces in downtown.
B. Development and Marketing
Actively pursue and support initiatives that promote quality public and private sector development in downtown. Promote the downtown experience and the city center as a place to “Live Work and Play.” Promote downtown residential, retail, office markets, and downtown events and programs.
C. Image and Communications
Actively promote a positive image of downtown and reinforce the downtown cool factor through a variety of unique celebrations, events and festivals. DDA will also continue to maintain effective communication between downtown property owners, businesses, advocates, elected officials, the public, and the media by informing them of downtown’s needs, opportunities, plans, and assets.
D. Legislation Action and Leadership Support
Provide necessary support services to various non-profit downtown improvement organizations and recruit key leaders to become involved in the downtown revitalization process. Encourage City, Parish, State, and Federal agencies to participate in the revitalization of downtown. Work with elected officials on the local, state and national level to advocate for downtown enhancements and continuation of historic tax credits and other downtown and/or historic incentives. Provide recommendations and input relative to continued improvements in the DDD.
E. Parking and Transportation
Improve accessibility to and within downtown. The DDA, through its parking contract with the City of Shreveport, manages the on-street metered parking program and analyzes parking demand, locations and funding. The DDA will continue to work with the City of Shreveport and others to accelerate the development of downtown parking facilities that encourage and preserve building density and the pedestrian environment. Electronic meters and the ParkCard program make downtown parking easier than ever. In 2012 the DDA funded a parking study to determine the need for public garages in the Central Business District and West Edge. DDA also funded a feasibility study to identify operational costs, the number of potential parkers and rates necessary to service the debt and operate the facility. Staff continues to work with the City of Shreveport, other stakeholders, and developers to pursue these projects.
DDA and ShrevePark continue to watch changes in parking technology and learn new methods of parking management to make downtown parking as easy and pleasant a process as possible. In 2016 a parking app was implemented to make payment and overtime stay at meter spaces much more convenient.
After DDA and ShrevePark discovered a change in fire lane regulations, we were able to engage COS Traffic Engineering to change red fire lanes along Texas Street to auto and motorcycle parking spaces, gaining a total of 27 spaces. We will continue to work with Traffic Engineering to create additional spaces throughout downtown.
F. Retail and Business Support
Work with downtown retail businesses to identify opportunities such as recently occurred with Pokemon Go, share Best Practices and Trends from around the country regarding all business practices, work to connect businesses to each other so that entities can work together to create more synergy, customers and sales. Help with outreach, both internally within the business community and externally to clients and customers. Encourage businesses to participate in initiatives such as Artwalk and 318Restaurants, work with businesses to develop the parameters for our Business Marketing Co-op dollars.
G. Downtown Office Building Support
In 2016, DSDC2, Inc. offered a Do Business Downtown grant to encourage new businesses to consider leasing space in a downtown office building. DDA worked closely with DSDC on this initiative, and is constantly engaged in conversations with downtown property owners and managers on how to best position their properties, property amenities and providing information, advice and assistance to tenants.
Implement the Strategic Framework 2010-2015 plan priorities as approved by the DDA Board of Directors and continue implementation of the 2010 Redevelopment Strategy. That strategy includes: serving as a resource to the City of Shreveport for downtown planning assistance and providing input and continuing to work with the City and Metropolitan Planning Commission on the Unified Development Code plan to upgrade the outdated B4 zoning in the Downtown Development District.
I. Quality of Life
Enhance the overall livability of downtown for workers and visitors by promoting and facilitating special events, encouraging historic preservation, pedestrian amenities, additional retail and entertainment, and insuring that downtown is safe and secure.
J. Urban Design
Encourage and support high quality urban design. Support the improvement of the aesthetic qualities and character of downtown through public space development and historic preservation efforts. Actively oppose the construction of metal buildings and demolition of meaningful historic buildings.
2017 ACTIVITIES Activities to be undertaken in 2016 include, but are not limited to, the following. Note that there may be administrative costs and/or direct project development and implementation costs in each area.
A. Basic Services
Ensure and, if appropriate, supplement the effective delivery and management of basic services such as police, sanitation, and general non-repair maintenance of the public streets and spaces in downtown.
Enhance and Improve Downtown Security
DDA continues its support of Downtown Police and the Downtown Mounted Patrol with a budgeted line item dedicated to their needs.
Improve the Maintenance of Downtown Public Spaces
Subject to City or other contract, participate in the maintenance of public spaces in downtown with plant replacement, watering, fertilizing, grass cutting and pruning. Also provide supplemental funding for special planting, maintenance, or other beautification projects within downtown.
B. Development and Marketing
Actively pursue development initiatives to promote quality public and private sector development initiatives in downtown.
Downtown is Cool Because…Campaign
In 2015 DDA was awarded a grant in the amount of $18,860 from the third round of Gulf Tourism and Seafood Promotional (Deepwater Horizon) funding. The grant funded the interactive #CoolDowntown/Downtown is Cool Because….Campaign designed to highlight downtown as a place to live, work and play. DDA will continue seeking grants to expand opportunities to market the City Center.
West Edge District and Shreveport Common Redevelopment
Initiate/support West Edge and Shreveport Common quality of life initiatives.
Texas Street including West Edge District
With the increase in the number of restaurants in the 600/700 blocks of Texas, DDA will work with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau and other partners on a downtown-wide campaign that will encourage visitors to come, stay, eat.
Encourage and support the City of Shreveport in efforts to further develop the Cross Bayou, Riverfront, Red River Entertainment District, and Convention Center areas.
Coordinate and implement programs to support business development in downtown as a good environment for retail and business services.
Work with property owners and managers to position their spaces for rent. Make suggestions and point out opportunities to overcome issues that may be negatively affecting their particular building, encourage attention to trends which will help position properties more positively.
Stimulate Individual Development Opportunities
Foster other development opportunities for downtown, especially those with a strong residential component.
Provide client services to existing downtown businesses or prospective businesses concerning market data, economic and historic tax incentives and space needs.
Administer, foster, develop and/or coordinate economic incentive measures to spur continued development of downtown.
C. Image and Communications
Promote a positive image of downtown and maintain effective communications between downtown property owners, businesses, advocates, elected officials and citizens of the City by informing them of the needs, opportunities, plans, and assets of downtown. Elevate the public’s awareness of downtown and its offerings and the DDA’s role in both. Continue publication of the weekly e-blast that highlights ongoing activities in downtown, as well as aggressive social and traditional media outreach.
Provide Information to Educate and Inform Downtown Businesses and Professionals Concerning Downtown Issues and Important City/Regional Issues Which Impact Downtown
Publish reports for DDA/DSDC as appropriate, and prepare and distribute marketing materials designed to share correct and updated information about downtown.
Educate and Inform the Community about the Importance of Downtown and Present An Image That Downtown Is A Desirable Place in which to Live, Work, and Play
Provide information relative to downtown attractions and update the parking guide and other materials that promote downtown.
Participate in select Shreveport initiatives that will enhance the national image of our city and promote increased civic pride
D. Legislative Action and Leadership Support
Provide necessary support services to various non-profit downtown improvement organizations and recruit key leaders to become involved in the downtown revitalization process. Participate in providing information to local, state and federal lawmakers on legislation that impacts downtown growth and development.
Support and Participate in State and National Associations Which Are Concerned With Revitalizing Downtowns
Participate in organizations dedicated to downtown revitalization and, as appropriate, attend downtown, Louisiana Cultural Connection and Main Street Conferences.
Provide contract DDA staff services to Downtown Shreveport Development Corporation
(DSDC) and DSDC2, Inc. to enable their programs of work.
E. Parking and Transportation
Improve the accessibility to and within downtown.
Improve and maintain effective and safe pedestrian and vehicular circulation in downtown. Monitor and make suggestions on updating the wayfinding signage installed in downtown as needed. Encourage the installation of amenities and signage that will enhance the pedestrian environment, and work with the City and others to promote the development of multi-story parking in downtown.
Promote the development of additional off-street parking facilities. Provide staff support via contract to DSDC to manage the First United Methodist Church parking lot. By contract, administer the City of Shreveport’s parking meter program, and advise the City on use of funds from the parking enterprise fund.
Develop and encourage the effective use of curbside parking. Continue to develop opportunities to create additional vehicle and motorcycle spaces in downtown.
SporTran Downtown Circulator
Work with SporTran to promote and position the downtown circulator bus that will run from the new Intermodal Facility throughout downtown. Encourage persons to park in outlying free lots and utilize the circulator to move easily through downtown.
Biking and Pedestrian Options
Continue to work with NLCOG, SPAR, LADOTD and others to encourage bike lanes, bike racks and other amenities downtown and encourage the city to consider pedestrian-friendly options as outlined in the 2010 Great Expectations Master Plan.
Plan for the growth, development, and occupancy of downtown by early identification of opportunities and potential problems. Provide comment to City Administration, City Council, MPC and Zoning regarding planning and development issues. Continue to support the City’s work regarding the Unified Development Code and other efforts regarding the Downtown Development District’s outdated B-4 zoning plan.
Maintain Downtown Maps and Develop Data that Communicates Pertinent Information Concerning Downtown Property and Its Use
Participate in the commercial office space research consortium and support the LSUS/Commercial Real Estate Brokers’ Forum. Update informational materials such as the retail and parking occupancy maps. Provide other information as requested to encourage residential, office, and retail development in downtown.
Maintain a Set of Goals, Strategies, and Objectives for Downtown
Annually review and update downtown goals and strategic objectives. Prepare and adopt for DDA and DSDC a work plan which reflects the strategic objectives that are to be annually addressed by the primary downtown economic development and advocacy organizations. Facilitate meetings as appropriate to update downtown stakeholders on downtown projects.
Represent Downtown’s Interest in Citywide Planning Issues for Adjacent Neighborhoods and Regional Planning Activities
Monitor and evaluate city-wide and regional planning efforts for impact on the downtown area such as the city’s Choice Neighborhoods plan. Participate in planning activities as appropriate.
G. Quality of Life
Enhance the overall character, environment and attraction of downtown Shreveport by supporting, promoting, and facilitating special events and cultural activities.
Assist in the development and production of special events. Provide support to organizations and entities that will enhance the downtown experience through the funding of mini-grants. Provide limited sponsorship or other support to organizations that produce projects and events that serve a public purpose or service and are designed to enhance the cultural, educational and leisure time activities of all citizens in downtown. Manage the street vendor permitting program and street performers program.
Art as Industry
Give downtown Shreveport a unique sense of place through public art and fostering the art industry as a place-making collaborative. Monitor progress and participate in the process of both temporary and permanent art components of the streetscape project. Work with SRAC, Robinson Film Center, Norsworthy Gallery, Agora Borealis, Nader’s Gallery, and other entities to create the ongoing presence of the arts in downtown as an industry. Increase public art installations in downtown through partnerships with local, regional & national artists, SRAC, City of Shreveport and other entities. Promote efforts to enhance downtown gateways. Promote ways to highlight the importance of art in a community such as the monthly Artwalk.
H. Urban Design
Improve the urban design, aesthetic quality and character of downtown.
Implementation of Desired Urban Design Concepts
Monitor minimum sidewalk standards in accordance with the design criteria of the downtown streetscape projects, participate in the design of downtown streetscape projects, and provide input to the City Administration and MPC as to the appropriateness of design of proposed projects. Provide suggestions to city regarding sidewalk activities such as design guidelines for sidewalk cafes.
Plan and Promote the Development of Public Places, such as Plazas, Fountains, and Green Space in Downtown
Continue support of projects/events that promote a positive image of downtown. Work with the City and others to identify opportunities for green space enhancement and other public developments such as the city’s first micro park created by SPAR at the DDA’s request. Continue support of SRAC’s efforts to develop the Common, a one-acre public green space in Shreveport Common.
Plan and Implement Improvements to Downtown Gateways
Monitor gateway concepts and make specific recommendations regarding planned improvements at key downtown gateways.
Identify and Encourage the Preservation and/or Renovation of Historic or Architecturally Significant Buildings in Downtown
The DDA staff continues to provide assistance and coordination between developers and the State Historic Preservation Office to qualify properties for participation in the state and federal tax credit programs. DDA will also continue efforts to encourage and assist historic preservation work of DSDC, encourage - financially and otherwise - adaptive re-use of historic buildings in downtown, promote redevelopment incentives, and work with the State Fire Marshal’s Office and other cities to determine “Best Practices” in historic building codes.