Windsor BIAs want say in retail development corporation
Members of Windsor's several business improvement associations want to be consulted as the city develops a retail development corporation.
Representatives of the BIAs will deliver that message to Mayor Eddie Francis and council at their meeting on Monday night.
That's when the proposal to establish a retail development corporation will be discussed.
Council is being asked to proceed with a required business case study.
Francis first proposed such a corporation during his 2012 state of the city address.
But a letter from the city's business improvement associations raises concern that it would be another layer of city hall bureaucracy.
Some BIA members have concerns about an overlap of the corporation and the BIA that already exist in Windsor.
"I'm afraid that a single entity would just put a band aid on things," said Kerry Ippolito, the executive director of the Ford City BIA. "The solutions can't be just one solution across the board."
Downtown Windsor BIA chairman Larry Horwitz said many BIA members agree that something needs to be done to attract new retail investment to the city, but they simply want to be consulted during the process.
"This plan involves all the BIAs so therefore the BIAs and the business community should be part of the consultation. We have to be there, at the table," Horwitz said. "At the beginning, the middle and end, we need to be at the table. You need people who understand business, case studies and plans."
According to Francis, the retail corporation would "market the region" and deal with real estate, parking and transportation.
The corporation would also identify what businesses are needed in an area, Francis said, and find investors and promote retailers.
Ayad Saddy, who owns BB Branded on Oullette Avenue, is choosing to be optimistic about a retail development corporation and what it can do for business. He wants more foot traffic downtown.
"We have barely any of that because of the lack of retail downtown. So obviously with more retail down here things would change for the better for everyone," he said.