Date: May 20 – 25, 2012
Location: Tampa, FL
Sponsor: Hillsborough County, FL
Chair: Franklin (Frank) Martin
Subject Area: Economic Development, Regional Planning and Growth
In May 2012, a ULI panel was invited by Hillsborough County, Florida to make recommendations on land use and economic development. Franklin Martin, a longtime ULI member and panel program participant, led the team as they explored the various challenges and opportunities faced by the County given the economic climate and local governance structure. The panel was part of a process spearheaded by the County’s Stakeholder’s Commission on Economic Prosperity, a group that included elected officials, community and business leaders, land use experts, and real estate developers.
Specifically, the County asked ULI to assess the county’s existing approach to economic development and growth and to identify future challenges, opportunities, and directions for promoting effective economic development. The panel was asked to examine the ways in which the county can leverage its existing assets and overcome barriers to future job-creating commercial and residential real estate development. Although the assignment asked the panel to address the regulatory issues around land development through the lens of economic growth, while on site the panel also heard about several underlying issues that needed to be addressed to lay the groundwork for an effective economic development strategy.
The Panel met with over 90 stakeholders and toured the entire county. They were also provided with invaluable assistance from Susan Jezek, Executive Director of ULI Tampa Bay and James Moore, Chairman of ULI Tampa Bay. The panel made a series of strategic recommendations to the County that addressed institutional and structural issues as well as land use and transportation:
- Create an environment of predictability and fairness in the land development process
- Invest in quality-of-life assets that will retain and attract workers and businesses
- Activate and update the plan for open space assets
- Develop and invest in a multimodal connectivity strategy to link activity centers
- Focus investment on creating an anchor institution strategy that links key economic engines and builds an integration strategy to create a multiplier effect for longterm economic growth.
In addition to these priority recommendations, the panel suggested that the County administration develop a culture of trust with its citizens and with its professional staff to create a cohesive community moving towards continued economic prosperity.