In the prior We Need New Revenues post, I laid out several sources of new revenues that would start rebuilding our ability to provide all city services in a sustainable, year to year fashion. One of those areas included the creation of new Retail and Service positions. I hope to create, over the next five years, 1,400 New Full Time Equivalent Retail/Service Jobs averaging $10/hr. That, in turn, would bring in an additional $509,600 per year in new income tax revenue, which, in turn puts us back on the road to paving our streets on an ongoing basis.
We’ve been fortunate to see some retail development come together on its own including the new Buffalo Wild Wings/Aspen Dental building at the Mall. We also contracted with Buxton, a retail developer, to help us identify retailers that are seeking new locations that match our demographics.
Buxton has completed their preliminary research and we have identified several retailers that would be a good match for the highway exit area of the city. The process of recruiting retailers, like any other business, takes a tremendous amount of time, work, and relationship building. Looking at what Buxton has done with other communities, once the initial introductions are made, it is usually 12-18 months before construction starts on a new retail location. As with other economic development efforts, not every retailer will end up locating in Middletown.
We are at the introduction stage now. Next week, Economic Development Director Jennifer Ekey and I will be traveling to Las Vegas to attend the national retailer convention. Buxton will be there and we will begin the introductions with area developers and retailers that might later be interested in completing work in Middletown. It is a chance for us to introduce retailers to Middletown and start the follow up process that might lead to new locations in Middletown in the next couple years.
We signed a three year contract with Buxton. In other communities, what has happened is that the first year is spent ramping up expertise and abilities. Years two through four are when you start closing those deals from earlier introductions and shovels start to turn here in Middletown.
Almost everything I have done to date has been focused on the long term, not short term benefit. I hope to bring national and area retailers back to Middletown between now and 2020. It helps our tax base, it helps our employment base, and it gives Middletown residents a place to shop and eat in their home town instead of driving up or down the highway to spend their dollars.
If this is a 10 step process, next week is step 1. Wish us luck!