Friday, January 27, 2012

Downtown Market Study Release

During the Manchester 2020 planning process many participants expressed how vital Downtown Manchester is to the community and the importance of strengthening the district moving forward. While the 2020 planning process has been going on, a project analyzing market conditions has been occurring on a parallel track. On Thursday, January 26, nearly 100 people packed into the Elks' Club to hear about the findings of this Downtown Manchester market study. The study was broken down into three components: A customer household telephone survey to gauge people's attitudes and opinions of Downtown; a market analysis that looked at the types of businesses and uses for which there is a market Downtown; and a physical assessment that looked at the condition of Downtown as a whole and certain key buildings. Some of the report's major findings are listed below. The entire report can be viewed HERE.

Consumer Household Survey
  • Over 90% of respondents were very or somewhat familiar with Downtown.
  • Over 75% of respondents have a very or somewhat favorable opinion of Downtown.
  • There are no real or perceived barriers keeping residents of Manchester and surrounding towns from visiting Downtown.
  • The great majority of respondents said they would frequent Downtown more often if there was more to do.
Market Analysis
  • While Downtown was once a regional retail center, it now functions more as a service hub.
  • Downtown has ample parking and high traffic counts.
  • While there is less retail than there used to be, niche, locally-owned retail is still critical to Downtown's success.
  • The Downtown office market is stable and well-established.
  • Downtown has seen recent growth in the restaurant sector and there is a market for more.
  • There are opportunities to improve the existing housing stock through focusing on younger workers, artists and the creative class.
  • There is potential for making a destination out of arts, culture and entertainment-related attractions.

Physical Assessment

  • Downtown's unique and diverse architecture is a major asset.
  • The great majority of Downtown buildings are in excellent or very good condition.
  • Historic buildings are a great asset but often difficult and expensive to maintain.
  • Work is required to many buildings to make them accessible and compliant.

As part of the project, the consultant team is preparing marketing brochures that will be used to recruit the specific types of businesses called for in the report. The Town and the Special Services District will now create an action plan in order to implement the report's recommendations. This will include meeting with current owners, representatives from financial institutions and the real estate community, to relay relevant findings and begin actively recruiting potential Downtown businesses.

To read more about the report and the presentation, please follow these press links:

No comments:

Post a Comment