EDA of Bay
The Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of Bay County is an organization dedicated to enhancing the Bay County economy. The EDA meets this goal by creating a competitive environment for businesses to thrive, supporting infrastructure for global competitiveness and providing key support services to assist companies in expanding or locating to Bay County. The EDA also works closely with the regional partner, Florida’s Great Northwest, which represents 16 counties in northwest Florida, as well as the state’s primary economic development organization, Enterprise Florida.
The Economic Development Alliance (EDA) of Bay County is an organization dedicated to enhancing the Bay County economy. The EDA meets this goal by creating a competitive environment for businesses to thrive, supporting infrastructure for global competitiveness and providing key support services to assist companies in expanding or locating to Bay County. The EDA also works closely with the regional partner, Florida’s Great Northwest, which represents 16 counties in northwest Florida, as well as the state’s primary economic development organization, Enterprise Florida
- Confidential Project Management
- Site Selection Assistance
- Customized Research
- Demographic and Labor Market Analysis
- State and Local Incentives Assistance
- Workforce Development
- Introductions to Corporate and Community Leadership
The EDA focuses on growing jobs that diversify the economy and pay higher than average wages with benefits. This goal is accomplished through focusing new business attraction efforts on select target industries. Bay County’s list of target industries includes:
- Aviation, Aerospace, Defense and National Security
- Renewable Energy and Environment
- Health Sciences
- Transportation and Logistics
- Information Technology
- Research and Engineering Services
- Corporate Headquarters
The EDA operates as a public/private partnership made up of the county, cities, private businesses and community partners who share the same mission and are committed to working together for economic prosperity. For more information, please visit the EDA’s website, www.bayeda.com, or call 850.215.9965.
As Bay County Leaders look to the future for growth and redevelopment opportunities in the area, a major topic of concern is retail or lack thereof for local residents and visitors. Officials have heard and seen numerous concerns in terms of things to do and places to shop in Bay County. Business leaders are noticing consumers leaving Bay County to go to larger shopping destinations such as Destin, Pensacola and Tallahassee. However, a new partnership between Gulf Power, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce and various Bay County Municipalities could be a game changer, placing Bay County back on the map as a shopping destination and further promoting tourism growth in the region.
In 2017, an agreement was signed between Gulf Power and NextSite, a commercial consulting firm, to market the area and bring new commercial retail opportunities to Northwest Florida. In late 2017, the Bay County Chamber of Commerce recognized the effort and asked how the organization could assist in bringing those opportunities to Bay County. As a result, a portion of the Chamber’s Share the Future Funds—funds earmarked for developmental opportunities for the County—are being utilized to market Bay County to commercial developers, tenant reps and retailers. This partnership was formed to reduce the economic burden on each municipality with the Chamber paying 50% of the total cost for the municipality the first year, 30% the second year and 10% the third year.
NextSite’s mission is to provide focused research, market analysis and mapping support, assist in the identification of real estate opportunities for retail development and redevelopment before finally connecting the opportunities to the appropriate retail real estate decision makers. Their customized and unique-to-market research focuses on identifying critical data that will most likely influence the site location decisions of retailers and restaurants. Through their extensive market analysis, demographic profiling, consumer profile matching and retailer site selection experience, they identify new retail and restaurant opportunities for the market. Once the analysis is completed, NextSite proactively markets and positions retail and restaurant opportunities within the community to their national network of developer and tenant rep relationships. What does that mean for Bay County? It could mean new retail, new restaurants, new jobs and increased tax revenue.
The NextSite Team
NextSite’s team will become an extension of the Bay County Chamber’s community development efforts, elected officials and other stakeholders with a focus on the identification of target opportunities to recruit retail concepts that expand and improve the retail tenant mix and retail tax base in the community. The company leverages the talents of its team and strategic partners to provide the most robust research, market analytics, commercial development analysis and retail recruitment services to affect positive change in the communities they serve.
Chuck Branch, Managing Partner of NextSite, has worked with over 1,000 cities, economic development, workforce development and chamber organizations across the United States since 2001; assisting their efforts to proactively recruit commercial development across a broad spectrum of projects. He has also assisted numerous retailers, restaurants, tenant reps, commercial developers and retail brokers over the past 18 years with industry leading market analysis, decision critical research, site selection services and incentives consulting.
Doug Neil is a Member of Nextsite and VP of Business Development with Redmont Consulting Group, a Nextsite strategic partner, focused on business development, marketing and community relations. His professional experience includes strategic consulting and incentive negotiation, economic and community development, international banking and corporate finance. Doug’s commercial development experience includes mixed-use, retail, multi-family, senior housing and incentives consulting.
NextSite’s Retail Development and Tenant Rep relationships have completed hundreds of single and multi-tenant developments across the United States. These relationships allow the company to leverage the real-world development experience of commercial real estate executives who have been directly involved in successful projects in communities of all sizes.
How does the process work?
The first step in the process is for NextSite to better understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to Bay County’s retail growth. Using the knowledge and marketing materials generated by the NextSite, their team will then market the opportunities in the community to their network of developers, tenant reps and retailers through social media, email marketing, partner solutions and ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) Conferences across the United States.
NextSite’s research solutions are customized versus the industry standard pre-formatted radius or drive-time areas. Factors such as natural boundary areas, current retail tenant mix, competition, travel times, radius areas and existing sites/buildings are researched to thoroughly understand Bay County and its retail environment. The research currently being conducted will focus on identifying the critical data that most likely influences the site location decisions by retailers. This data demographics, business location data, consumer spending, retail potential, segmentation profiles, consumer behavior and attitudes, as well as mobile data analysis.
Once the data points are determined, thematic maps, aerial photos, asset maps and custom research reports by the retail sector are provided in a marketing package and used in marketing Bay County to potential prospects. These packages are distributed at conferences and private meetings. Nextsite will market partnering municipalities and unincorporated Bay County and promote properties at the regional and national ICSC Conferences throughout the year. The efforts will include one-on-one and portfolio review meetings with retailers, developers and tenant reps. Nextsite proactively recruits developers and tenant reps to leverage the identified target retailers and restaurants. This ensures Bay County will be marketed to as many prospects as possible.
The Next Step
Currently, the City of Panama City and unincorporated Bay County have agreed to partner with Nextsite. Negotiations are underway with the balance of the municipalities. Once an agreement is reached, the research process begins and developer and tenant representatives are notified of the client engagement. By day 15, the mobile mapping analysis is expected to be completed along with the peer analysis and retail leakage reports. Aerial and map work will begin at this time. By day 30, focus property information, radius, travel time and regional trade area research should be completed with the analysis being provided to the Chamber and municipality. By day 45, all maps and aerial outputs are expected to be completed in addition to retailer target lists and marketing material. By day 60, proactive marketing and conference representation will begin. Developer and tenant representatives will be provided market analysis, target lists and aerial overviews of existing retail. At that point, once prospects are identified and negotiations between the prospect and municipality are finalized, development and/or redevelopment will take place. The total contract term is three years with annual renewal options being offered starting in 2021.