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As the core of FXM’s practice, our work in economic development requires an objective assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of local and regional economies. We conduct personal interviews, surveys, and other research to identify and understand the business types, market position, labor force, infrastructure, educational, financial, institutional, and other attributes particular to a local area economy. At the same time, knowledge of broader regional and national industry trends and cycles is brought to bear in creating blueprints for action specific to a local area’s unique economic development potential. FXM Associates’ public and private clients can attest to our record of success in helping them achieve goals of economic growth, stabilization, or restructuring.

Route 28 Corridor Study
Town of Yarmouth, MA/Cape Cod Commission

For the Town of Yarmouth, MA and the Cape Cod Commission, FXM conducted a regional and local market analysis to identify short and longer term prospects for expanding and consolidating commercial development along the heavily traveled and congested Route 28 corridor. Working with The Cecil Group, architects and planners, FXM is assisting development of a comprehensive strategic implementation plan that will involve local zoning and site plan review initiatives as well as refinements to the Priority Development Area policies of the Cape Cod Commission.

Spencer Town Center Revitalization Plan
Town of Spencer, MA

For the Town of Spencer, FXM is assessing market-driven potential to expand the commercial base of the Town Center Area. The Town Center Area of Spencer is exceptionally well-used by residents of this rural community west of Worcester but has seen little new investment in buildings or land development in many years. FXM's analysis uncovered substantial retail gap opportunities to expand restaurants and selected retail goods shops, and potential niche markets for small residential and office projects. Working with The Cecil Group, senior FXM professionals have participated in public visioning workshops and are helping the consultant team and client craft public and private implementation and funding strategies to realize existing and projected economic development opportunities.

Regency Tower Market Study
Trinity Financial

For Trinity Financial, FXM prepared a market study and projected rental rates and absorption for their proposed renovation of the 138-unit Regency Tower residential building in New Bedford. As part of this analysis, FXM applied its proprietary Housing Demand Model that uses projections of mobility rates by age and household type, propensity to own or rent by age and income of household head, net new growth, and projections of households by age and income to estimate regional and local demand for housing products by type and price or rent.

Development Potential for Town-owned Property
Town of Gill, MA

For the Town of Gill, MA, FXM is conducting a regional and local market evaluation to identify most promising prospects for development of a key industrial/commercial site owned by the Town. Working with Tighe & Bond, engineers, and using extensive interviews as well as secondary source data analyses FXM has uncovered several industrial development opportunities that would expand the local tax base and provide jobs for local and regional residents.

Bristol Industrial Park Planning Study
Town of Bristol, Rhode Island

The Bristol Industrial Park (BIP) is a privately owned 15-acre site of predominantly single story, 19th century historic industrial buildings comprising the former Kaiser Aluminum plant in downtown Bristol. Current tenants are small boat building and other manufacturing and distribution industries, artisans, and other small businesses. Most of the people who work at BIP also live in Bristol.

The property went into receivership and the town became concerned that the 200 jobs, $20 million in business sales, and $5 million in payroll represented at the park might be lost if the property were converted to other uses by a new owner. FXM was retained to develop a strategy for retaining and expanding the current uses and led a team that included Earth Tech, Inc. (environmental engineers), Urban Design Group (urban designers), as well as legal and financial specialists.

The study assessed market conditions and prospects, building conditions, environmental remediation requirements, zoning and other regulatory mechanisms, brownfield and other potential funding to protect the existing uses and assure goals and objectives of the town for employment and increased taxes. The study also considered the feasibility of proposed construction of affordable housing on a portion of the BIP site.

FXM's report recommended enhancing existing zoning, streetscape and landscape treatments to buffer surrounding residential uses, and a cooperative venture with potential new private or non-profit owners to secure tax credits and remediation funds to fix deteriorated buildings, clean up and market the site, and maintain low rents for current and prospective small business tenants.

Strathmore Paper Mill Redevelopment Study
Village of Turners Falls, in the town of Montague, Massachusetts

FXM Associates prepared a market and economic assessment for reuses of 245,000 square feet of under-utilized space in the former Strathmore Mill. Located on an industrial island in the Connecticut River, the 11 multi-story brick buildings are within the downtown historic district via a footbridge across the hydroelectric power canal.

This study informed town officials about issues affecting property acquisition and proposed reuse, and the feasibility of undertaking a public-private redevelopment effort. The market analysis included more than 40 interviews with mill owners/developers, real estate brokers, recent tenants, business owners and associations, public officials; review of reports, studies, and data pertaining to the Montague-Greenfield, Franklin County and Northern Tier economies, and information for 17 mill conversion projects.

The market investigations included examination of the micro-manufacturing and creative arts economies, and "Hidden Tech" (home-based businesses, self-employed workers) sectors. From this research, FXM created a market-driven redevelopment program that defined potential uses, space needs, and price points, and from which supportable debt for rehabilitation cost was derived. FXM assisted Feingold Alexander + Associates (architects) Tighe & Bond (engineers), and Ajax Partners International (development adviser) to formulate a phased redevelopment plan, determine infrastructure requirements, consider current and near-term demand, supply and absorption rates in local and regional markets, and evaluate prospects for private investment in future Strathmore Mill redevelopment.

Hicks-Logan Area Redevelopment Plan
City of New Bedford, New Bedford Economic Development Council

FXM Associates is working with Goody Clancy Associates and city officials to prepare a comprehensive plan for long-term revitalization of the Hicks-Logan urban renewal area, a strategic site next to Interstate 195 and along the New Bedford waterfront that currently contains a mix of strong manufacturing and distributive industries, but also underutilized and vacant mills, vacant lots, and substandard multi-family housing.

The challenge of the plan is to create consensus on short- and longer-term use potential of the mills and underutilized land (for industrial, residential, office, retail, and entertainment uses) and to develop a strategy for renewal that will enable funding of street, landscaping, and infrastructure improvements via new tax ratables and public finding, such as brownfields remediation and economic development assistance.

Direct, Indirect, and Induced Effects of Chain Stores on the Cape Cod Regional Economy
Smart Planning & Growth Coalition
View Report Link

FXM assessed the effect that big box and other chain retailers could have on the overall economy of Cape Cod if growth in retail demand were largely captured by the chains by 2014. The study involved an analysis of secondary source data and case studies done in other communities; an independent baseline econometric forecast of population, employment, and income growth in the regional economy; and application of the R/Econ input output model to measure total direct, indirect, and induced effects on output, jobs, earned income, profits and other unearned income, and local, state, and federal taxes.

The study concluded that if chain stores captured 50 percent of forecast growth in retail demand that by 2014 the Cape Cod region would lose over 9,000 jobs, $600 million per year in business output, over $200 million per year in household income, and over $10 million per year in local taxes.

North River Canal Neighborhood Redevelopment
City of Salem, Massachusetts

Working with Goody-Clancy Associates, FXM conducted a preliminary economic assessment of the potential for redevelopment of the historic industrial/commercial and residential neighborhood around the North River Canal and park in Salem, Massachusetts.

FXM’s analysis included an overview of the market potential for expanding an adjacent neighborhood of historic homes, a summary of local demographics and expected market demand for retail and service uses to be developed at a key road intersection, and suggestions for reuse of three former industrial properties.

Economic Development Strategy for Downtown New Bedford
City of New Bedford and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
View Report Link

FXM Associates was retained to prepare a full downtown economic development strategy for historic New Bedford.

An analysis of market demand entailed estimating a trade or market area for downtown New Bedford. FXM utilized existing information compiled by city and other agencies to date, and conducted a building inventory and visual survey along with other information for the downtown focus area. The final report identified downtown’s office, service, retail, and housing markets and opportunities; a demographic and market analysis of existing/future demand and "leakage;" current barriers to downtown economic growth; targeting of specific retail business and office use categories for enhancement, expansion, and recruitment; and potential incentives, changes to zoning and regulation, and new marketing efforts to enhance business retention and recruitment.

Development financial proformas and strategies were prepared for rehabilitation of 11 historic buildings, based upon current market driven revenue and use potential. Within six months of FXM’s report, eight of the targeted buildings were under development agreements for re-uses similar to those proposed.

Comprehensive Plan for Nantucket, Massachusetts
Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission

FXM Associates conducted economic and fiscal analyses, including an assessment of long-term changes in the local economy, as part of the Comprehensive Plan for the Island of Nantucket.

The study involved ways to control development; concentrate growth in areas for which it is desirable, and to discourage it in areas where it is undesirable; a strategy for long-term economic diversification and mechanisms to achieve a sustainable economy (with limited new building construction); and public and private sector strategies for land acquisition, education, and financing of infrastructure and new business ventures.

Erie Canal/Erie and Niagara Counties Economic Development Strategy
Erie County (New York) Planning Department

FXM Associates, in association with Trowbridge & Wolf, Landscape Architects, prepared an economic development strategy and corridor recreation plan associated with the Erie Canal in Erie and Niagara Counties in western New York State.

FXM Associates assisted in concept development, and prepared market and financial feasibility analyses for expanded tour boat operations, visitor attractions, and specific development sites in the Tonowandas, Lockport, and other canal communities in the region. This study won the American Planning Association (APA) Upstate New York Outstanding Project Award for 1996.

Plymouth County Hospital Reuse Study, Phases I & II
Town of Hanson, Massachusetts

FXM Associates performed analyses of market and financial conditions for two reuse options selected by the Town of Hanson for the former Plymouth County Hospital site in Hanson, including a commercial sports facility and senior housing.

The primary focus of this evaluation was to assess whether the market and site could support tax-generating reuse options for a portion of the 45-acre site, with the vast majority of the site kept for passive recreational uses. FXM conducted a schematic market analysis of developing one-third of the site into assisted living and independent housing for seniors by combining use of the historical hospital building with new construction.

FXM also examined the costs related to building a skating rink or senior housing, and gathered data on the income level that could be achieved to arrive at a level of financial feasibility. With both the market data and the dollar figures relating to either facility, a judgment was made to recommend reusing the hospital and part of the site for senior housing, but not to recommend an ice rink (or any other sports facility) for the Plymouth County Hospital site.

A unit mix and estimates of income and sales figures were provided for the senior housing. A general sense of the fiscal impact on the town of having part of the site developed for senior housing (versus single family subdivision) and town-supported recreational use was provided.

Onset Bay Village Market Analysis and Strategic Plan
Onset Bay Association

In the early 1900s, Onset Bay Village was the premier tourist destination in southeastern Massachusetts. This position eroded with the development of Cape Cod and the Islands, and with it historical retail, restaurant, and entertainment offerings. But a spectacular natural harbor, large sandy beach, crested view planes to the Bay, ample public open spaces, diverse lodging opportunities, frequent summer concerts, and an active recreational waterfront continue to distinguish the Village area.

Opportunities for enriching and enhancing commercial sales and employment opportunities were investigated by FXM Associates as part of a consultant team that included Planners Collaborative and Booth Associates. A diversity of ethnic and income groups within Onset warranted special community outreach efforts in the planning process, and sensitivity to the effects of potential new development on residential property values.

New Bedford, MA Master Plan – Phase I
City of New Bedford

As part of a three-phase Master Plan study for the city of New Bedford, FXM Associates’ Phase I work effort included preliminary analyses of pertinent secondary source data on the city and regional economy, including employment and wages by sector. The goal of these analyses was to determine from recent historical trends those sectors and industries that were performing relatively well or poorly compared to regional, state, and national norms.

FXM conducted interviews with a cross section of business leaders in varied important industries as well as representatives of local service and retail sectors, such as the heads of neighborhood business associations. These interviews were tailored to specific industries or companies and were designed to elicit objective information and perceptions on opportunities for growth in jobs in New Bedford, as well as obstacles that may need to be overcome by coordinated private and public sector initiatives.

Jones Block Marketing Plan, Adams, Massachusetts
MassDevelopment

MassDevelopment contracted with FXM Associates to prepare a marketing strategy for the Jones Block, an historic commercial building on Park Street in downtown Adams, Massachusetts. FXM was to identify and create a strategy to capture a portion of certain niche markets, especially environmental enterprises and technology businesses. FXM identified the primary market for the Jones Block as individuals and small companies that were operating out of home offices and secondary space in Berkshire County.

FXM also recommended changing the project name from "Center for Environmental Excellence" to "Center for Creative Excellence" to better appeal to the technological and artistic sectors that appeared to be the primary markets for this space. FXM found that the renovated building was likely to support about 50 jobs, most of which would be professional level, and that building tenants would be expected to spend approximately $200,000 per year in support of existing businesses in Adams.

Main Street Revitalization Strategy, Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, Phase I
Cubellis & Associates, Town of Bourne

FXM Associates was retained by a private developer, with support from the Town of Bourne and the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber of Commerce, to independently assess the financial implications of selected property acquisitions and rehabilitation under current and reasonably foreseeable market conditions, and to make suggestions for strategic initiatives to advance the broader community objectives for revitalization of Main Street, Buzzards Bay.

Main Street is the historical strip commercial center of the town of Bourne. It has experienced gradual and systematic disinvestment following the development of regional shopping malls in adjacent communities. FXM conducted research on local and regional market trends, evaluated the product mix and lease rates at competitive shopping centers, investigated business centers in comparable communities, interviewed property owners and business managers along Main Street, and conducted additional interviews with over 40 local public and private sector officials to determine their goals and viewpoints on issues affecting the revitalization of this historical community center.

FXM’s assessment, which included detailed financial pro forma for the rehabilitation of selected properties, concluded that residential apartment units on upper floors would be needed to subsidize the costs of ground floor commercial revitalization, in order to achieve competitive space at rents appropriate to the market. The target retail market would likely be small specialty stores that had established successful operations in other local communities, or new entrepreneurs with ties to the community.

Devens Business Service Center
Massachusetts Development Finance Agency

As part of the reuse plan and strategy for the former Fort Devens military base, FXM Associates conducted a detailed examination of commercial uses that could be developed to support the major industrial companies, institutions, hospitality, and residential uses forecast for phased development of this large site, without competing with existing and prospective small businesses in the small downtown areas of Shirley, Ayer, and Harvard.

FXM utilized detailed consumer expenditure survey data, information on existing sales by product and service category of local area businesses, and tested alternative hypotheses for residential and employment growth, to determine appropriate supportable retail sales levels, and store types and sizes for the Devens Business Center. Food and non-food retail spending potentials were differentiated by category of expenditure and market segments, and square footage development potential was projected over 5- and 10-year periods.

Master Development Plan for the Port of Galilee, Rhode Island
Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation

FXM Associates prepared the market and trends assessments, economic impact, and financial feasibility and funding evaluations as part of a master plan for the Port of Galilee/Pt. Judith, Rhode Island.

FXM’s work included analyses of market conditions, trends, and local industry performance in seafood processing and commercial fisheries (currently employing over 600 persons landside and on vessels); the tourist- and resident-serving charter boat fleet and related suppliers; regional and local lodging establishments; and tourist and resident serving restaurants, food and gift retailers, commercial, and cultural/recreational attractions throughout the trade area.

This work led to a projection of supportable industrial and commercial development at the port for commercial fishing, other maritime industries, and lodging/restaurant/retail uses. FXM also evaluated the expenditure and employment effects attributable to existing and prospective new industries at the Port, and prepared detailed financial and development pro forma analyzing existing and potential ground lease, pier and bulkhead, berthing, parking, property tax, use levies, and other income from port users; expenses attributable to operations and maintenance of the port; and capital costs and sources of funds for new infrastructure and facilities development.

Thornton House, New Bedford, Massachusetts
New Bedford Historical Society

FXM provided development services to the New Bedford Historical Society as its staff prepared to respond to the City of New Bedford’s RFP on this historic building across the street from the Society’s headquarters. This was one of seven abandoned buildings in the downtown area that had been taken by the city, which is now seeking qualified developers to buy and rebuild Thornton House.

FXM Associates assessed the feasibility of different market uses - commercial, institutional, and residential – including costs to renovate, income potential of each use, and assessment of the long-term market value of the property. Financing options were suggested, banks approached, contractors interviewed, and support provided to help prepare the response to the RFP. The Historical Society was ultimately selected to develop the building.