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Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown

Tue, Apr 17, 2012

Free forum for business and property owners provides inside track on successful downtowns.

Looking to increase the return on your commercial property or increase sales in your business? Have you wondered what types of business might be successful in a small downtown? Do you want to know why some downtowns are more successful than others?

If you’re a business or property owner interested in the answers to those questions, then you’ll want to mark your calendar for a May 16 evening forum in Astoria.

Presented by the Astoria Downtown Historic District Association and Pacific Power, “Building Blocks for a Successful Downtown,” features keynote speaker Michele Reeves of Civilis Consultants. She is an urban strategist with an extensive background in commercial real estate, commercial development consulting, and retail leasing.

Reeves has been making regional news for her ability to help business and property owners in other northwest “working” towns to help stakeholders find ways to increase profitability of their business or property. Hillsboro, Gresham, Tigard and even small Portland neighborhoods have benefited from her attention.

“She (Michele Reeves) has a very collaborative approach to working with property owners, tenants, cities and downtown organizations to identify opportunities in downtown cores for physical improvements, and programmatic improvements that will help to stimulate economic activity,” said Jane Blackstone, Lake Oswego’s economic development manager. (Lake Oswego Review, Nov. 10, 2011.)

Dulcye Taylor, ADHDA president, said the impetus for bringing Reeves to Astoria came as a result of an increase in the number of downtown storefront vacancies, of concern to downtown business and property owners, as well as other citizens.

“The ADHDA’s Business Development Committee wanted to address the commercial vacancy issue, because every closed storefront affects those around it. We found out about Reeves and her productive work with other communities, and with the support of event sponsors and the committee’s volunteer efforts, were able to bring Reeves to Astoria to help our business district,” Taylor said.

At the May 16 event, Reeves promises to “break down the fundamentals found in successful downtown and Main Street environments, including elements such as business mix, grid and circulation, tenanting for value, infrastructure improve¬ments, parking, marketing, and retail execution.”

While much of the information Reeves will provide at the forum will be useful to any business or property owner, her emphasis will be on improved economic performance for downtown Astoria.

“All of the building blocks required for a higher function¬ing commercial corridor exist in downtown Astoria, but the district needs to execute on some key fundamentals found in successful mixed-use districts if it wants to increase sales per square foot and begin establish¬ing stronger ties to members of the community, and to visitors,” said Reeves.

After Reeve’s presentation, a panel of Astoria business and property owners will answer questions related to what’s worked for them in their successful enterprises.

In addition to financial support from presenting sponsors ADHDA and Pacific Power, other sponsors for the event include Astoria-Warrenton Chamber of Commerce & Ambassadors, The Banker’s Suite & Ballroom, City of Astoria, Coast River Business Journal, Craft 3, Ohana Media Group and U.S. Bank.

The May 16 forum will be held at the Banker’s Ballroom in the ground floor of the Banker’s Suite building at 1215 Duane St. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.; the forum is from 5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Refreshments will be available.

An R.S.V.P from business owners or property owners who would like to attend the free event is requested by May 9 to insure adequate seating & refreshments. Call (503) 791-7940 or email

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