Authored by: Quint Studer, Studer Family of Companies
The Cambridge Dictionary defines economic development as, “the process in which an economy grows or changes and becomes more advanced, especially when both economic and social conditions are improved.” This is what Quint Studer, Florida Chamber Board of Governors member and founder of the Studer Community Institute, is doing in Pensacola.
Prior to its recent revitalization, entrepreneur, investor and author Quint Studer described Pensacola’s state as a “death spiral.” Today, everything has changed.
Mr. Studer and community leaders engaged residents and business owners to help create a vibrant community. With the help of the Studer Community Institute, progress on important economic and social goals was tracked via the Dashboard. The community began a series of civic conversations, called “CivicCon,” which the Studer Community Institute also helped host.
The business community was instrumental in Pensacola’s success. They galvanized as a group and focused on economic development. They participated in leadership training, monthly round tables and mentored new entrepreneurs. They came together to learn (and teach) the skills businesses needed to thrive long term.
The result? Downtown Pensacola is thriving and new businesses are popping up everywhere. There is more downtown construction taking place in Pensacola than at any time in modern history. Many new stores, restaurants, and other businesses have opened up downtown. There’s a new baseball stadium on the waterfront, and since 2012 the Double-A team the Blue Wahoos (partially owned by Quint Studer) have drawn more than 300,000 fans per year to Pensacola.
Also, property values are soaring: In the past five years, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) went from an assessed property value of $675 million to $850 million, which equates to 25.9 percent growth. Finally, there are projects worth $100 million being built right now that don’t count toward this total.
Outsiders have taken notice, too. Pensacola was named the 2017 Great Places of Florida People’s Choice Winner, following a poll administered by the American Planning Association of Florida. And this year National Geographic Traveler magazine named Pensacola in a story celebrating urban renewal, great main streets, and smart development policies.
Quint Studer wants other communities to experience the success that has happened in Pensacola. That’s why he is sharing the story in his latest book: Building a Vibrant Community, which is set for an April 2018 release. Thanks to visionary leaders like Quint Studer, Pensacola’s future is bright.
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