Commercial Corridors: Strategic Assessment of Philadelphia Commercial Corridors and Retail Centers

Econsult Corporation was hired by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), with assistance from the William Penn Foundation and the City of Philadelphia, to examine commercial corridors in Philadelphia. The study was designed to help funders, the City, and other interested parties better understand the effectiveness of interventions for commercial corridor success. It combined extensive data gathering with thorough econometric analysis to investigate the drivers of commercial success for all 265 retail corridors in Philadelphia.

Econsult collected extensive data on each commercial corridor, including their characteristics and those of the surrounding neighborhood, such as access and anchor institutions, the major stores in the corridors, and the interventions that have been made in or near the corridor. To determine the influence of these factors, Econsult measured retail sales from city tax data, shopper behavior through a survey, and real estate values through transaction data.

Econsult’s analyses identified the influence of major factors on corridor performance. The analyses indicated that corridor size, the number of stores, parking, store mix, and the number of pharmacies were some of the major factors associated with corridor success. In addition, examination of interventions indicated that Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), and cleaning and maintaining neighboring lots and buildings were also effective.

Based on the shopper survey, Econsult also developed a simulation tool to model and predict the impact of future interventions on corridors. With this, one can evaluate how a proposal to put a grocery store in one corridor would affect shopping behavior in other corridors.

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