Is Your Community Development Ready? Find Out in Our Webinar Series, Open Now!

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development‘s (DHCD) Virginia Main Street (VMS) program will hold a Development Ready Webinar Series in October. Mark your calendars and join us on Wednesday, October 5, 12, and 19 2022 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m!

October 5 | Small-Scale Incremental Development

October 12 | Marketing & Promotion for Attracting Developers

October 19 | Supporting Small Business Development

What does it mean to be a “Development Ready Community” or “Open for Business”? Often there is a disconnect between messaging and reality. While a locality may say that they want to encourage new developments, their zoning code, incentives, and access to capital say differently. DHCD is partnering with experts in the field to guide local governments, elected officials, community development organizations, housing providers, developers, and entrepreneurs through the steps that they need to take to ensure that the community vision can become a reality.

Starting with a review of zoning code and policies, the Incremental Development Alliance will speak directly to localities and officials to analyze whether their ordinances meet their needs and intent. Place and Main Advisors will continue this conversation by showing localities how to find and market to experienced developers who will help the community meet their vision. Our partners at Virginia Community Capital will take these concepts to the next level through resources to help further build local economies with small businesses and entrepreneurship.

This webinar series is a must for any community struggling to meet housing demands, rehabilitate derelict structures, and fill vacant storefronts. Be Development Ready and Open for Business!

Guest Speakers include:

Elizabeth Williams holds a Bachelor’s degree in architecture and Master’s degrees in architecture and planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology. She spent several years working as an urban designer for a large-scale design firm where she focused on large-scale, international, and master plan projects.

Outside of Kronberg Urbanists + Architects and the Alliance, Elizabeth spends her time volunteering for the City of Atlanta. She is currently a member of the city’s tree commission, where she hears appeals related to tree-related decisions across Atlanta. She also volunteers on her neighborhood planning board and at Georgia Tech helping students with projects. Elizabeth says she is excited to be a part of the Alliance’s powerful movement and inspired by doing work that no one else is doing.

Neil Heller is a Portland, OR based planner and designer on aligning municipal regulations with the kinds of development outcomes a place wants to see. In his work as an urban designer, Neil worked closely with developers to implement walkable neighborhood and focuses his professional energy on fixing Portland’s zoning code. Neil says incremental development is a passion for him because he knows that nobody is coming to save the places he works in. He also prides himself on being a good landlord and flipping the script on what people think a “developer” is.

Currently, Neil focuses on technical assistance and development simulations for cities and non profits. He brings his real estate development pro-forma based approach that quantifies the effects of various policy decisions both physically and financially. He also helps to educate small developers in translating zoning code language into beautiful site layout plans.

Joe Borgstrom is an accomplished professional in the fields of Downtown Redevelopment, Community and Economic Development, Main Street and Placemaking. His 25-year career includes executive management, project financial structuring and evaluation, fund development, foreign direct investment recruitment, market research, program management, public speaking and consulting. He and his teams have used state and local incentives to leverage more than $2.2 billion in private investment into communities.

Borgstrom’s expertise is in the areas of real estate redevelopment, retail market analysis, real estate finance, business recruitment, strategic planning, incentives, and economic development strategy. Borgstrom is a Certified Economic Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council and a Certified Leader in Place Management by the International Downtown Association.

Borgstrom is a principal in the firm Place + Main Advisors, LLC. Place + Main Advisors are industry experts in place-driven economic development and destination storytelling. They have served clients in communities as small as 700 residents to regions of more than 400,000. They develop strategies and plans that move communities forward and help them tell their stories to potential businesses, residents, and visitors.

Cathy Lowe is the former Mayor of Abingdon and served on Governor’s advisory Board for Small Business and the Virginia Tobacco Commission. She is the current Executive Director of Virginia Highlands Small Business Incubator and currently serves as member of the Board of Trustees for Emory & Henry College. Cathy served the Abingdon Town Council for 12 years; during her tenure, the Town of Abingdon received the designation of becoming a Main Street community.

Cathy will present insight on how local government and the Main Street organization can work together to create a successful partnership in their mission in small business development initiatives.

Sandy Ratliff, VP of Community Innovation at Virginia Community Capital, is a seasoned economic developer with over 30 years of experience serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. She works with new and expanding businesses to offer startup consulting, entrepreneurial growth mentoring, support community revitalization, and assist businesses in identifying sources of capital to move their business plans forward.

Before joining VCC, she worked as the Business Services Manager for the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (SBSD) in the agency’s Abingdon office. Her experience, knowledge, and contacts offer a valuable resource for new and existing businesses, local and regional community leaders, and organizations.