Larisa Ortiz Associates developed a citywide retail strategic plan for the City of Cambridge. The goal of the Retail Strategic Plan was to develop a strategy of best practice policies and programs that will support and enhance the ground level active use and retail environment in Cambridge.
The first phase of the work included an assessment of the City’s current retail landscape and trends, a city-wide and district-level analysis of demographics, psychographics, as well as extensive outreach to industry experts, institutional partners and local business community leaders.
While the full impact of changing consumer shopping habits remains unknown, retail real estate is increasingly feeling the reverberations of online shopping and its corollary – a strengthening market for products and services that cannot be purchased online. The City of Cambridge is especially vulnerable to these trends with high rates of residents having access to internet and making personal purchases online. As a result, local businesses’ success in the new retail marketplace will require innovation and ingenuity from the businesses, the business associations that serve them, and from the City.
Following a public presentation of the initial findings, a set of guiding principles were developed as a framework to ensure that Cambridge remains a viable location for businesses small and large to locate and thrive. Recommendations presented to the client identified the appropriate retail mix for each of the commercial districts, zoning and regulatory barriers to encourage new retail formats, and key actions the City might consider to enhance its marketability and visibility to retailers and other ground floor businesses.
The final recommendations were then presented to the Economic Development and University Relations Committee.