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Business Improvement Districts

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A practical alternative is Business Improvement Districts: Financing Downtown Growth.

This brief executive report is a useful primer for anyone considering, or reconsidering, a Business Improvement District. The report provides a clear definition of the Business Improvement District, examples of the services most-frequently provided by BIDs, a review of research on the benefits of BIDs, as well as an eight step process for district formation.

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Since the early ’70s, downtowns across North America have been using Business Improvement Districts as a mechanism for revitalization.

This powerful tool allows for an assessment on property within a defined area. Revenues from this assessment are then directed back to the area to finance a wide range of services, including security, maintenance, marketing, economic development, parking, and special events.

With the publication of the second edition of Business Improvement Districts, downtown leaders have a valuable new resource for establishing and operating a successful BID.

A practical working manual, Business Improvement Districts covers best practices for planning, organizing, and financing BIDs, the services they provide, and how they are operated and managed.

It includes samples of enabling legislation, examples of different types of assessments and assessment rates, sample budgets, and real-world data from over 100 BIDs.

Whether you’re considering setting up a new BID or grappling with the challenges and opportunities that arise as BIDs mature, Business Improvement Districts will be an invaluable resource.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    • Definition of BIDs
    • Why BIDs are created
    • What BIDs do
    • Where BIDs are heading
  2. Legal Foundations
    • The evolution of state law
    • Louisiana’s Act 498
    • The elements of state law
    • Reform of Pennsylvania’s BID law
    • New Jersey court upholds assessments
    • Lessons learned
  3. Planning and Organizing a BID
    • Sponsoring organization
    • Outreach
    • Planning
    • Budgeting
    • Consultants and contracted services
    • Staffing
    • Service areas
    • Bylaws and boards
    • IRS status
    • Assessment method
    • Municipal service agreements
    • Previously existing organizations
    • West Chester Business Improvement District
    • Two districts in Yonkers
    • Downtown Seattle
    • Starting a district in Toronto
    • Lessons learned
  4. Managing a BID for Success
    • Measures of success
    • Cleaning and maintenance
    • Security
    • Marketing
    • Planning and design
    • Transportation and parking
    • Advocacy
    • Housing
    • Taking stock
    • Lessons learned
  5. Small BIDS
    • Commercial area BIDs
    • Industrial-strength BIDs
    • Lessons learned
  6. Outlook, Issues, and Trends
    • Issues
    • Trends
    • Expansion of BIDs beyond North America
    • What is at stake?
  7. Case Studies
    • 34th Street Partnership, New York, NY
    • Center City District, Philadelphia, PA
    • Coliseum Central BID, Hampton, VA
    • Downtown DC BID, Washington, DC
    • Downtown Denver BID, Denver, CO
    • LA Fashion District BID, Los Angeles, CA
    • Takapuna Beach Business Association, Auckland Region, New Zealand

Your Guarantee of Satisfaction

Business Improvement Districts is guaranteed. If you are not 100% satisfied, you may return it within 30 days for a full refund.

About the Author

Lawrence O. Houstoun, Jr. is a principal with the Atlantic Group, an urban development consulting firm. He has worked on economic development, design, security, and marketing issues in more than 70 commercial areas, helped draft New Jersey and Pennsylvania’s business improvement district laws, and participated in the management of four BIDs.

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