Mallory rolls out a strategy to grow retail investment

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Mayor Mark Mallory is rolling out his promised effort to bring more retail to Cincinnati’s urban core and neighborhoods.

Called Shop 52, the effort will increase public awareness of the city's true population and buying power, and work with a team of commercial real estate brokers and the International Council of Shopping Centers to bring more stores and restaurants to town.

Under way now is a $115,000 study of all 52 Cincinnati neighborhoods, Newport and Covington, to perform an accurate population count by gauging the region's purchasing power. The study will be performed by Social Compact, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that uses transactional data such as water consumption, utility usage and credit bureau data to determine household populations and buying power.

The first step of the plan is expected by early May – a study by Social Compact, a Washington nonprofit research group that measures population and buying power with data such as utility use and credit bureau data.

Using such information can paint a truer picture.It better shows the number of residents and their ability to support retail than the U.S. Census can, said John Talmage, Social Compact's chief executive.

He, Mallory and the city's new economic development director, Holly Childs, met Thursday night with members of neighborhood community councils. The mayor wanted to know from those activists what kinds of stores they want as well as the kind of stores they think their neighbors would support.

The results of the Social Compact study will go with Mallory, Childs and other city staff members to Las Vegas in May for the International Council of Shopping Centers convention. There, they'll focus on downtown first, the mayor said, but will also do some recruiting for neighborhoods.

"This is us beginning to embark on a comprehensive retail strategy," said Childs, who's in her third week on the job.

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