Our recent work includes citywide strategies, targeted district plans and neighborhood economic development initiatives:
South Portland Economic Development Plan
Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services formulated an updated Economic Development Plan for South Portland, Maine, a small but thriving coastal city of 25,000. Tasks included economic, demographic, and real estate market analysis, SWOT analysis, development of plan options, and preparation of the final plan. Conducted community engagement with stakeholder interviews, resident surveys, community meetings, and two city council meetings. Plans included strategy to strengthen South Portland’s brand and identity in the region, entrepreneurial development initiatives, workforce development programs and local economic development capacity building. Plan was adopted by the City Council with commitment to hire a full-time staff person to support plan implementation.
Seafood Industry White Paper
In partnership with Karp Strategies, Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services prepared a white paper for Massport that documented strategy and actions to retain and grow the seafood industry in Boston’s seaport district, the impact of these initiatives and the current state and composition of the industry in Boston. Detailed recommendations on continued actions to retain, strengthen and grow Boston’s seafood industry cluster were provided.
Envision Concord Comprehensive Plan
Working with Civic Moxie, the lead consultant, Karl Seidman completed an economic and demographic analysis, led stakeholder engagement with the business and development communities, and prepared the plan’s economic development component. This plan element focused on strengthening Concord’s village centers, creating a supportive infrastructure for business and social entrepreneurs and building government and civic economic development capacity.
City of Bridgeport Waterfront Plan
As part of a multidisciplinary planning team led by Civic Moxie, our firm completed an analysis of commercial, retail, and residential real estate market potential and specialized market opportunities among institutional users and emerging environmental and energy businesses to support development and use proposals for a citywide waterfront plan.
Portland Oregon Community Economic Development Roadmap
Advised the Portland Development Commission on its strategy and tools to support community-based economic development.
As MIT Senior Lecturer, Karl Seidman also supervised over a dozen economic development plans prepared by his graduate economic development planning practicum, including this 2018 plan for Nashua New Hampshire.
For over twenty years, Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services has provided market analysis and planning expertise to support the improvement and revitalization of commercial districts in urban downtowns and neighborhoods, rural communities and suburban centers. Our approach recognizes that commercial district success depends on a multi-faceted strategy based on a shared vision and alignment among government, businesses, property owners and development, and non-profit and community-based organizations. Our approach engages all these stakeholders in assessing existing conditions, uncovering assets and opportunities and crafting an action-oriented implementation plan.
New Orleans Commercial Corridor Strategy
Working with Broad Community Connections and an Advisory Committee of city and community stakeholders, our firm reviewed the experience, organization, and funding of existing corridor revitalization organizations in New Orleans, created an ecosystem framework for supporting corridors and assessed existing resources and gaps within the city’s ecosystem, researched citywide programs in eleven other cities, formulated the strategy, and prepared the final strategy report. This work resulted in a new commercial corridor program administered by the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority and partially funded with a Chase Foundation grant.
Worcester Theater District
Working with the partners in this Transformative Development District, Civic Moxie and Urban Focus LLC, we assessed development opportunities, analyzed retail and restaurant spending to support business recruitment for the downtown theater district, and prepared tool kits for place-making and business recruitment initiatives.
Downtown Salem Retail Plan
Our firm prepared two downtown retail plans for Salem, Massachusetts. In 2007, we completed a comprehensive market analysis, business inventory and vacancy analysis to assess market and development opportunities and used the results to prepare a retail development and marketing plan for downtown Salem with a detailed implementation action plan. The plan provided a blue print for retail recruitment, an expanded event calendar, marketing, and additional revitalization work. During the first year, the action plan’s implementation resulted in recruiting 20 new businesses, a major marketing and publicity campaign, 3 new festivals and a year round events program. Salem successfully navigated the great recession with limited vacancies and received the 2012 award from the Retailers Association of Massachusetts for “Best Shopping District” in the state. An update to the 2007 plan was completed in December 2017 with a focus on retail recruitment, new local marketing initiatives and expanded efforts to retain existing retailers and enhance their business skills and capacity.
Karl Seidman is also a founding board member of the Boston Main Streets Foundation and author of Revitalizing Commerce for American Cities: A Guide to Urban Main Street Practice.
As MIT Senior Lecturer, Karl Seidman supervised plans for thirteen commercial districts in Boston and New Orleans, including three winners of the American Planning Association national Student Planning Award, including this 2017 plan for Boston’s Bowdoin Geneva Main Streets.
Our firm has over 20 years experience in evaluating economic development programs and complex multi-site community and economic development initiatives for diverse clients that include city and state governments, foundations, and cross sector partnerships. We have designed and undertaken evaluations as the lead evaluator, in partnership with other firms and as part of large national multi-site teams.
Boston Main Streets Program Outcome and Best Practices Study
Karl Seidman designed the methodology and completed data collection and analysis to document the outcomes and best practices for Boston’s Main Streets Program as part of the Pew Partnership’s national initiative, Wanted: Solutions for America.
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation Small Business Technical Assistance Program Evaluation
In collaboration with Mt. Auburn Associates, Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services was the project manager for an evaluation of this program that awards grants to non-profit technical assistance providers throughout Massachusetts.
Living Cities: The Integration Initiative
Served on the national evaluation team with Mt. Auburn Associates and Mathematica for this financial institution and foundation funded initiative in five cities. Our firm’s work included designing and completing the evaluation to assess direct impacts from projects and firms financed by the initiative, impacts on intermediary Community Development Financial Institutions, and changes to the local development finance system. Additional roles included preparing a small business development report and tracking outcomes for the Detroit Woodward Corridor initiative.
Minnesota Angel Investment Tax Credit Evaluation
Technical director for an evaluation led by Economic Development Research Group to assess the fiscal and economic impacts for the first three years of this state angel investment tax credit program. Designed survey instruments and parts of the evaluation methodology, assessed disparities in tax credit use, and drafted report sections.
Our firm offers strong expertise in business and real estate finance, policy and program design for financing economic and community development, and the use of economic development finance tools. Karl Seidman is a recognized expert having written legislation to establish several development finance agencies, served as CFO and COO of MassDevelopment’s predecessor agency, and the author of the field’s leading text book. Recent examples of development finance projects are profiled here.
New Bedford District Improvement Financing Feasibility Analysis
Working with Karp Strategies, Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services prepared a financial feasibility study on the potential for this Massachusetts tax-increment financing tool to help fund and advance the city’s downtown development priorities. The study included identifying the pipeline of potential development projects, their status, timing and likelihood of construction and their impact on future city property tax revenues. Tax increment revenue projections under multiple scenarios were completed and final recommendations on the feasibility for the DIF district were included.
Boston Development Finance Mapping Project
Completed a detailed analysis and profile of the greater Boston community development system including the different sectors, participants and their roles, funding tools, levels and capital flows, typical deal structures and case studies.
China Development Bank Professional Education
Karl Seidman prepared and delivered a half day education session on the United States neighborhood development finance tools, policies and system for visiting practitioners from the China Development Bank as part of a two-week long MIT professional education program. This highly rated session was offered from 2015 through 2018.
Karl Seidman is the author of Economic Development Finance, the first comprehensive textbook for the field that is used in many economic development finance courses.
As MIT Senior Lecturer, Karl Seidman supervised over 100 technical assistance projects undertaken by student teams in his Financing Economic Development course to address development finance issues for governments, Community Development Financial Institutions, non-profit organizations and private businesses.
Our firm has over twenty years experience completing market analysis to support real estate development projects, downtowns, waterfronts and other specialized districts and economic development plans. Recent projects include:
Sankofa Community Development Corporation Market Project
To support plans for a new fresh food market and healthy food hub in the Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, we worked with Sankofa CDC to analyze consumer market support and develop revenue projections for the market’s food sales and prepared a development budget and operating proforma that was used to secure a loan and other financing for the project.
Massachusetts State Pier Study
Lead consultant to MassDevelopment and the Seaport Economic Council for an assessment of the business operations, financial performance, capital investment needs and future uses for four state-owned piers in Fall River, Gloucester, New Bedford and Plymouth. The Study report included detailed individual pier profiles, a comparative analysis of the four piers, a review of three comparative public piers in other New England states, and recommendations for improvements to governance, leasing, and asset and financial management. Urban Focus LLC and Karp Strategies were sub-contractors.
City of Bridgeport Waterfront Plan
Completed an analysis of the commercial, retail, and residential real estate market potential and specialized market opportunities among institutional users and emerging environmental and energy businesses to support development and use proposals for a citywide waterfront plan.
A growing number of cities have established linkage fees whereby large development projects make payments to address the impact of their projects on the need for affordable housing and job training.
Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services has special expertise in conducting Nexus Studies to meet the legal standards to demonstrate a rational nexus between development and linkage fees and to establish fees that are proportionate to the impacts.
Karl F. Seidman Consulting Services, in partnership with ConsultEcon, Inc., has completed Linkage Nexus Studies for four Massachusetts cities: Boston, Cambridge, Everett and Somerville. These studies have been used to adjust fee levels, update city policies, and establish new jobs linkage fees. As part of this work, our firm has advanced the methodology used to establish the nexus and appropriate fee levels.
You can find our most recent report completed for the City of Somerville here.