Memphis E.D.G.E. (Economic Development Growth Engine) Announces Plan To Broaden The Regions Economy and Appeal
Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton, Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell joined co-chair Christine P. Richards, Executive Vice President at Fed-Ex. Corporation as they unveiled a plan to provide community leadership, continuity in purpose, vision and planning initiatives for creating a more vibrant Memphis economy. The plan was announced earlier this week and was detailed on a blog post at the E.D.G.E. website. By focusing on increased exports, technology advances and taking advantage of the opportunities already developed in Memphis, they plan to develop a multi-pronged approach to economic development.
The group is using a planning model developed by the Brookings Institute (a private non-profit devoted to independent research and innovative policy solutions) and RW Ventures (consulting firm focusing on market-based strategies for regional and community economic development). They are hoping that the planning model can help jump-start what will be a multi-year process to help local and regional businesses and business leaders grow, innovate and attract new companies and new talent for those companies.
No Cost Initiatives
The great thing for Memphis is that this is a no-cost initiative for the city. At least, the participation of the Brookings Institute is at no cost to Memphis as they selected Memphis and Shelby County to participate through the Metropolitan Policy Program. They are also getting the opportunity to work with RW Ventures which has experience implementing the Brookings Institute Metropolitan Policy Program model in other cities including Cleveland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Phoenix and Louisville. Similar partnerships are already underway in other communities including Chicago and Milwaukee.
Unlike past initiatives, this is not a one-time get together for pictures and planning and then retreat to a reception for cake and hand shaking. The Metropolitan Policy Program demands continuous effort and a cycle of analyzing, refining, changing and implementing what is working. It is supposed to be developed with local input based on real, on-the-ground factors and a sustainable growing economy is the objective. I for one love the approach and I love what Christine Richards had to say as well. It sounded a lot like our philosophy here at Memphis Invest. "At Fed ex, everything is about strategy, tactics and organization and this model uses similar philosophy for growing an economy".
Given that Memphis is a such a dynamic city and has so many wonderful characteristics and people, getting the additional help to focus and organize our cities' plans for future growth is huge! We do have a strong entrepreneurial spirit and with world-class institutions like St. Jude Children's Hospital and global leaders like Federal Express and international Paper only to name two, this is the type of initiative that can help propel a city into the forefront of other mid-sized cities around the country.
Real Estate Investing
How does this affect real estate investors? It should be fairly clear. Strong job growth, rising prosperity, declining neighborhood blight are all reasons for everyone to work together. An increasing tax base allows for a decrease in revenue needed from real estate taxes. An increasing population means quality options such as single-family rentals will increase in demand and for investors who are looking to sell properties, demand for ownership will go up as well.
Regardless of how we look at this, any initiatives that the city and county leadership are taking on that get the civic community involved as well are great. Including all of the civic leaders that they have and so many different community voices and volunteers essentially prevents the separate silo syndrome from occurring. That is when everyone is doing their own thing to help the city and the impact ends up being minimal. As long as everyone is working together, the impact can be huge!