About 20 people attended a presentation which detailed the strategies of building a vibrant downtown with the emphasis that dense development will create the most revenue for taxpayers, Thursday morning at Sheridan College Broadway Center.
Joseph Minicozzi's presentation was titled: The Value of Downtown – A profitable community investment. It detailed how downtowns have the potential to give back per a much smaller physical area than, for example, a Wal-Mart or buildings that consist of large commercial areas.
Though he is from Asheville, N.C., a city with a population of about 80,000, he said he believes that all towns are the same when it comes to this concept. Minicozzi says the key is focusing on that growth and recognizing where to look in a town and how to maximize its potential.
He presented studies of Bozeman, Billings and Glenwood Springs, Colo., among others. Communities in southwest Wyoming including Teton County have worked with the Sonoran Institute and this concept.
One comparison he made throughout each location was that of Wal-Mart to local downtown stores. In Billings, for example, the difference per-acre in tax return revenue was $200,000 to $600,000 per acre for large acreage stores verses $4 million to $13 million per acre for 3-4 story downtown buildings that sit on smaller areas.
Minicozzi's suggestions include building living spaces in upper-floors of downtown buildings. His research showed that in comparing respective properties as before, Sheridan's downtown buildings already produce more per acre than Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Safeway by a couple hundred thousand dollars.
John Heyneman of the Sonoran Institute, which hosted the talk along with several community development groups who co-hosted were in attendance. City engineers, other city officials were there as well.
Minicozzi holds a Masters Architecture and Urban Development from the University of Miami. He is the Executive Director for the Asheville Downtown Association. He works with Public Interest Projects, Inc. which is a private for-profit real estate development community focused on historic preservation, according to a release from the Sonoran Institute.
Minicozzi will give his presentation again from 4 pm to 6 pm Thursday at the Sheridan College Broadway Center.