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Marketing Highly Trafficked Waterfront Property

Q:I am president of a Civic League in Portsmouth Virginia known as the West Park View Community League. Our organization represents a community of nearly 1000 people in a downtown neighborhood made up of mostly owner-occupied historic homes. Every street dead-ends into Scotts Creek, a tributary to the Elizabeth River, a stone's throw from the Norfolk and Portsmouth downtowns, and the ZERO-mile marker of the intracoastal waterway. Downtown Portsmouth lies at the geographic and demographic center of the Hampton Roads (Norfolk/ Virginia Beach) area.

A:It's great to have the armchair marketing gurus brainstorm as to how it can be used, but is it inline with the goals of Vision 2005? Certainly a waterfront restaurant, hotel, etc. is a nice idea but is the waterfront property aimed at attracting members of the community or outside (bordering)? Further, is the objective tourism, economic, community entrancement? Has the civic league considered what use will generate the most revenue for the city? Create the most jobs? Able to increase existing local businesses? I get the impression that the civic league has concluded it wants (example used) a *retail store* but can't decide which is best; a butcher or baker. When in fact, the best ROI for all may not be a *retail store* You may want to consider *marketing* the waterfront area and your community as an alternative to staying in Norfolk, thus developing the property for this purpose (hotel, restaurants, etc.). You may want to *market* the waterfront area strictly for use by the community and bordering areas, thus developing a smaller *restaurant row*, entertainment zone, promenade You may find that the best solution (more city revenue, higher paying jobs, further local business development) may be to develop the property into a waterfront business park. You may find the best solution to be a waterfront amphitheater. So take a step back from the "armchair marketing gurus" and do a study as to what has the most potential to benefit; the city, members of the community, local business. If the civic league truly wants to develop the property with the community in mind, ask the members of the community for suggestions as to what they want and need. Once you're set on what the property will be used for, have the civic league's member developer put a plan together. Once you have a plan of the proposed development you can *shop it around* Further, included a summary of Vision 2005. It sounds like you want to do business to business marketing. You have a product, which you've identified as a 2.5 acre piece of waterfront property with a building in a certain state of repair (good or not I don't know). It seems that your process of identifying business that might be interested centered around what *you'd* like to see there. In order to *merchandise* your product, it seems you need to identify some of its benefits a little more clearly. Some kind of description of: - the surrounding area - what kind of customer base a new business could expect to draw from (include demographic and psychographic - lifestyle - information - the physical infrastructure - roads, utilities, etc. - analysis of other businesses/competition in the area - any tax breaks a new business can expect? These are just some initial thoughts. But it seems like you have to package your product, and create a package that plays up the benefits likely to be most appealing to the customer you expect to attract. Whether these are the benefits listed above or others is best answered by the customer him (her) self. There is no reason you can't call businesses in the industries you're looking to attract to find out what is most important to them. Or hire someone who knows how to do it.

Discuss It!

Siciliano`s said:

Developing a smaller *restaurant row* will definitely attracts new customers. I think waterfront restaurant will be a big attraction to both community members and as well as to the outsiders.

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