Post-Katrina Retail Market & Downtown Redevelopment Framework Study
The Gulf Coast City of Gulfport, a regional center for financial and banking services, was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Approximately one-third of the downtown properties were destroyed, significantly damaged, or were vacant in the years that followed. Given the extensive damage to properties and the loss of a consumer base, RKG was retained to prepare both a retail market study and a development strategy for the downtown, stressing that new retail development was a component of change, and less a catalyst for change.
RKG met with a variety of key stakeholders in Gulfport, including City officials, property owners, developers, business and banking leaders, the hospitality sector and the broader public in order to understand the market dynamics that affected downtown development, both before and after Hurricane Katrina. In-field primary analysis, coupled with secondary data sources and use of the City GIS mapping and Assessor databases, allowed RKG to identify and quantify the “lost” retail development and the “lost” purchasing power as a result of displaced consumers. These displaced consumer segments included residents, office workers and tourists/visitors. From each of these consumer segments, RKG estimated the supportable new retail development that could occur in the downtown.
The City initiated several financial and development incentives to encourage private sector re-investment in its downtown core. Many significant projects were underway, or completed, prior to RKG’s study, including more than $300 million of investment in banking and casinos. The RKG study helped to lay the foundation for continued investment, including the critical residential component that would foster additional retail development.
Photo Source: New Horizons Realty, Inc.