Andre McEwing- Berry Street Project
I got a chance to sit in on a presentation at University of Arlington
Mr. McEwing attended Tarrant County Junior College and Morehouse
College receiving a BA degree with a concentration in Banking and
Finance and minor in accounting.
Mr. McEwing has extensive mid-level management, sales, finance,
accounting and budgetary experience having worked at Lockheed-Martin
Aeronautical Company, Pepsi Cola Company, Nabisco, and Waste Management.
He is a current member of the Greater Fort Worth Economic Development Council, Leadership
Fort Worth Board and Class of 2007, Metropolitan Black Chamber Board Member, Fort Worth
Chamber Board- Ex Officio. He has served on the Mayor’s Citizen’s Committee for Fort Worth Future
and The 2006 Tarrant County Transportation Bond Committee. He is currently serving on the City of
Fort Worth Modern Streetcar Task Force and the Mayor’s Blue Ribbon Committee on Infrastructure
- Tiff incentives allowed them to bring in a Walmart
- This Walmart was very community specific, It doesn’t feature a MacDonald, A Smart Styles, Nail Salon, or Auto Center.
- Market analysis determined this particular community was over saturated with fast food restaurants, Auto Shops, and Hair and Nail Salons.
- Once the Walmart was established, major franchise companies moved in and it lead to a serious boom in financial investments and incline in cash revenue.
- They restored an eyesore of an unused gas station into new Exon with an attached Churches Chicken, and shopping center that currently houses a Metorpcs
- They are expecting retail business like a Ross Clothing Store and the addition of restaurants
- Most of this area is a TIFF District
- 5 TIFF Taxing Initiates
- These Business will give back a percentage of their profits to re-invest in Riverside
- TIFF Funding helped pay for:
- A new Laundromat
- Transit systems
- Apparel Stores
- and was used as an insensitive for builders to come in and build multi-family homes
My Concerns or Misunderstanding:
Now keep in mind I’m a baby in this industry, so it was hard for me to understand how the boom in development lead to improvements amongst the residents. As the presentation went on it started to feel like the only people who benefited from this revitalization project were the investors, it seemed to just keep money in the pockets of the people who already had money.
When I remember Berry Riverside Area, I picture Jacksonville Mississippi, just block to block low income and abandoned homes, with high crime and lots of open unused land. So I guess when you look at it this way,any development was better than what the community had. I understand that if these investments had not happened this is an area that would have continued to be under-deprived, regardless of who’s pocket the money is going into.
My other concern was how sustainable were these businesses to the area. Again I understand any development any cash flowing through this community is better than what they had. Yet, it’s just been in my experience that certain business will move into a community especially one that’s being revitalized or got a lot of hype and press, then 10 years later your back to square one.
Yes, Yes I also know that you will have families and tourist come from miles away to shop at this new Walmart and eat at these new local restaurants, but it’s just a matter of time before another developer or decided to build another Walmart, which will lead the the Wal-Mart Affect.
Yet in 10 years or so your back to square one meaning their leases are coming up the hype has died down and their leases are running out so you have these abandoned shopping center, or shopping centers and structures being re-leased to irrelevant business.
I also think its pretty poor to hear several people in this presentation saying ” Well we can’t control what or how the residents and leaders of the community will maintain the neighborhood.” No one can control the future but these developers or consultants to developers have the power to guide what happens to the future of a community.
I bet Mr. McEwing just didn’t have the time to realy break down the revitalization efforts going on in this community and I’m pretty sure if he had the time he would have wrapped his presentaion up with more information on how these improvements were going to help improve the lives of the residents of this community, and how this will bring more families into Riverside. I want to say I am going to continue to follow the develpment in this area, but ……
End of my soap box