gmhTODAY 25 gmhTODAY April May 2019 - Page 13

L and use is one of the most complex issues faced by cities today. Being the precious asset that it is, our development and stewardship of land is fraught with political, economic and environmental regulations as well as socio-cultural considerations. Gilroyans are working hard to be smart developers and good stewards of their land for the benefit of current and future generations. This effort brings together Gilroy City staff and Councilmembers, the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation, the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, the Gilroy Downtown Business Association and others, to bring forward solutions. In 2018, the City of Gilroy and the Gilroy Economic Development Corporation (GEDC) retained Economic Planning Systems, Inc. (EPS) to assess past economic development and current general plan analysis, and bring their perspective to the City’s approach to improving its competitiveness in terms of growth and development. The City’s goal is to improve economic growth and diversity while establishing a sustainable short- and long-term revenue base. EPS study findings, captured in the Gilroy Place-Based Economic Development Strategy, were presented at the January 14 th Special Meeting of the Gilroy City Council. The EPS study provides concepts and ideas to spark discussion and exploration of Gilroy economic development opportunities from a fresh perspective. And what is a place-based economic development strategy? EPS defines it as an approach to economic development that focuses on the strengths of local industries, workforce, and market dynamics to attract new investment and strengthen existing businesses. For example, the latest “innovation parks,” like San Ramon’s Bishop Ranch, emphasize quality of place, sometimes including residential spaces as part of a mixed-use development that includes offices and retail. Exploring Best-Use Development The Gilroy Place-Based Economic Development Strategy looks at local and regional economic conditions, identifying ways to better leverage economic develop- ment opportunities, and giving guidance to the City in reviewing its General Plan Update. The study’s purpose: “to evaluate available land parcels suitable for development, specifically to prepare the sites to be shovel ready.” EPS analyzed prevailing market, property, and legislative conditions, providing a useful summary of trending data and making recommendations vis- à-vis policy and technical actions to support sustainable development for the City of Gilroy through 2029. Of course, further evaluation and feasibility testing will be required before recommended actions can be considered. To help Gilroy stakeholders gain a quick high-level perspective on the real GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN april/may 2019 estate market, EPS graphed a multi- year trend analysis of industrial/R&D, office, and retail space. The analysis included leasable square feet (as of Q1 2018); average annual vacancy and lease rates (2013-2018); and average annual square feet constructed (2008- 2018). The analysis compared data for the Gilroy, Gilroy/Morgan Hill, San Jose, and Salinas markets. 13