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March 25, 2010
 

Master Plan: Office/Headquarters Committee Assessment

The  Clarksville Strategic Master Plan Office/Headquarters Committee has submitted the following assessment to the city for review and debate. Clarksville is currently accumulating data and input from individuals, business representatives and civic leaders prior to creating a new development plan for the city.

Master Plan – Office/Headquarters Committee

The report states:

Final recommendations for short range, mid range and long range plans are still in the discussion and mapping stage.  Following one more committee meeting, this portion of the committee’s work will be presented.  It is important to note that Housing in Clarksville (past, current and future) is a topic that would carry its own stand alone Masterplan status.

Master Plan – Office/Headquarters Committee Members:

  • Suzanne Langford, Sr. Vice President, Planters Bank
  • James Chavez, President/CEO, Economic Development Council
  • Jerry Clark, AIA, Clark Associates, Architects
  • Randy Clouser, Exec. Vice President, First Federal Savings Bank
  • Jack  Turner, President, Jack B. Turner & Associates
  • Justin Patel, President, Integrity Investment Group
  • Lane Lyle, AIA, Lyle Cook Martin, Architects
  • Richard Swift, CCIM, Principal, NAI Clarksville

With assistance from sub-committee chairs Christy Batts, CDE Lightband; Gary Norris; David Riggins and Audrea Harris with the Regional Planning Commission, and Michelle Dickerson, Planters Bank.

Overview: Our committee studied office/headquarters development and recruitment opportunities within the Clarksville market.

SWOT Analysis

Strengths:

  • Clarksville serves as a regional economic and educational hub, attracting a young and vibrant work force from a 10-county area.
  • The presence of Austin Peay State University, with a growing enrollment that surpasses 10,000 students.
  • The presence of Fort Campbell, home to some 30,000 technically-skilled, active-duty soldiers, 48,000 family members, 25,000 retirees, and 5,000 civilian workers.
  • One of the lowest costs of living in the nation.
  • Excellent in-fill development opportunities.

Weaknesses:

  • Although we’ve experienced positive growth in the last few years, per capita and household income measures are still comparatively low.
  • No metropolitan (consolidated) government.
  • Sparsely developed community spread over 100 square miles of land.
  • Outlaw Field (today)

Opportunities:

  • Retaining Austin Peay graduates.
  • Capitalizing on the skills of young Fort Campbell retirees
  • A metropolitan government structure (at the appropriate time) that avoids duplication of services and streamlines processes.
  • A large redevelopment district.
  • Outlaw Field  (of tomorrow)

Threats:

  • Traffic
  • Utilities
  • Property taxes
  • Continued sprawl
  • Increasing costs of land

Existing Zoning, Land Use Patterns, and Incompatible Uses:

1-3 Years (Categories of Study, as applicable)

  1. Transportation and Traffic Considerations – a growing problem. An east/west corridor is needed and several major intersection obstacles need to be corrected (recent changes at Providence Blvd. and Peachers Mill are very positive.)
  2. Infrastructure Issues – electric service likely undersized for development of the redevelopment district.
  3. Economic Development Opportunities – the community must market itself to leverage every opportunity from the HSC selection of Clarksville-Montgomery County.
  4. Public safety, emergency response, disaster contingencies.
  5. Environmental and ecological considerations and potential impacts.
  6. Energy considerations and strategies – see # 2 above
  7. Quality of life consideration.

4-10 years

  1. Transportation and Traffic Considerations – a growing problem. An east/west corridor is needed and several major intersection obstacles need to be corrected (recent changes at Providence Blvd. and Peachers Mill are very positive.)
  2. Infrastructure Issues – electric service likely undersized for development of the redevelopment district.
  3. Economic Development Opportunities – the community must market itself to leverage every opportunity from the HSC selection of Clarksville-Montgomery County.
  4. Public safety, emergency response, disaster contingencies.
  5. Environmental and ecological considerations and potential impacts.
  6. Energy considerations and strategies – see # 2 above
  7. Quality of life consideration.

10 – 20 Years

  1. Transportation and Traffic Considerations – a growing problem. An east/west corridor is needed and several major intersection obstacles need to be corrected (recent changes at Providence Blvd. and Peachers Mill are very positive.)
  2. Infrastructure Issues – electric service likely undersized for development of the redevelopment district.
  3. Economic Development Opportunities – the community must market itself to leverage every opportunity from the HSC selection of Clarksville-Montgomery County.
  4. Public safety, emergency response, disaster contingencies.
  5. Environmental and ecological considerations and potential impacts.
  6. Energy considerations and strategies – see # 2 above
  7. Quality of life consideration.

Creating more office space and/or a headquarters location is perceived as a luxury, as opposed to a necessity, in the economic development realm. Yet, it is certainly one of the top requirements for moving Clarksville to the next tier.  The community needs improved roads, upgraded utilities to handle growth, zoning changes and restructured development practices…all managed proactively…to support office and “white collar” opportunities.  The community must resist the “not in my backyard” mentality if we’re going to make retail and services more readily accessible, keep urban sprawl from continuing,  and better manage traffic.

Clarksville is a blue-collar market and, thus, the demand for (non-government) office space has largely been for medical office requirements, CPAs, law firms (mostly downtown locations) insurance agencies, and real estate related companies.  Office space is largely price driven;  the best example currently is the area surrounding the new hospital. So far, the costs of new space near the hospital is holding back some physicians or physician groups because the cost of new office space is considerably  higher than their current facilities near the former Gateway Hospital.

Development in Clarksville, whether residential, office, retail, and to a limited degree, industrial, has been privately driven.  However, the Industrial Development Board, City and County, have certainly had success in the industrial arena in recent years because the community either owned or controlled the land needed to secure new industry.  Clarksville-Montgomery County should consider a similar type of action to control and create the changes the community would aspire to have, specifically in regards to a headquarters location and/or new office development.

To create these opportunities, we have must:

  • Develop relationships with office consultants, building on the success this market has had with call centers.  Look for credit card processing opportunities,  customer service call centers, back office opportunities (accounting, collections), regional office opportunities;
  • Push forward with energizing the Redevelopment Board as a mechanism for opening up the current redevelopment district for possible office building development sites and downtown housing opportunities (especially for APSU);
  • Consider a new redevelopment district near the Marina for potential new retail, restaurant, office, and residential developments (specifically Riverside Drive between Crossland Avenue and Hwy. 48/13);
  • Develop incentives for potential office building development – payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) programs, Tax Increment Financing (TIF), grants, etc.;
  • Identify other potential office development areas – at or near Exits 1, 4, 8;
  • Advertise and generate positive and relevant articles in specialized business trade magazines;
  • Establish a business-friendly, pro-Clarksville mentality and culture among front-line government positions, and streamlined processes for approvals, plan reviews, building permits, and business licenses.

We expect office development to continue to be privately driven.  If we do, however, make attracting large office users to this market a goal, the questions becomes “Who?”.  Who would proceed with the dedicated mission of securing new office opportunities, as well as helping create the business environment necessary to attract and recruit these companies?

Our conclusion is that somewhere under the EDC organizational structure is the proper place to have carry out this objective, and house the people and resources necessary to pursue new business. Within this structure, the Industrial Development Board has paved the way and has learned how communities are attracting new business to their respective communities – and successful efforts haven’t been limited to the industrial sector, as our call centers here have proven.  We have a talented work force here, and we can provide the human resources if we are successful in creating the right incentives to attract new companies to our community.



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