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Old 09-03-2012, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Kennesaw, GA
167 posts, read 825,771 times
Reputation: 217

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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeenThereDunThat View Post
LoL: Sorry...I had to chuckle about your comment about "Selling you Jesus". Don't know how long you've lived here or what circles you're in but give it time.

As for living downtown: It's a great idea but here's the deal: There are income restrictions for persons who want to live in the bulk of what's available (i.e. Lee Hardware (artists) Apts and the soon-to-be complete Olgivie Hardware Bldg). Last time I read, the Olgivie Hardware Bldg (which has been touted by the DDA) is income-restricted in that a family of 2 can't earn more than $28,000 yr to be eligible to live in the space. By making these lower income restricted, the developer from Dallas got grants for the cost of rehabbing this property; in order to get the grant. . . the bldg has to be designated "Low Income Only".

It's a good-news/bad-news scenario: the building gets rehabbed but because of the income levels of the tenants, you're not going to inject the downtown population with higher-spending/2-income couples which is what's really needed to attract the kind of support businesses (24-hr grocery, cleaners, deli/coffee shops) that everyone envisions for a thriving cultural central biz / arts district. 2-earner households grossing $28K actually means about $22K +/- AGI, after you take out the rent, utilities, car, insurance, hhld exp, etc.; these folks don't have a lot to spend on trendy shops, cafe's and stores downtown. And you can bet that stores downtown will charge more than Super1 or Wal-Mart, so you can see how the biz-model for this is doomed from the beginning as far as incentivizing retail to locate downtown. They won't have customers 'cuz Wal-Mart's down the road.

Now there are some brave souls/biz types who are interested in rehabbing some of the older structures for such purposes but again, entrepreneurs are going after redevelopment grants and that comes with strings: (low-income housing project).
Otherwise the seed money will not be coming.

And another thing is safety or perceived safety. Have you walked around downtown after hours? While some say statistically that downtown is "safe", you have to ask how many crimes or incidents go unreported? Do a google on "Shreveport Fights" and you'll get a fair number of hits on YouTube or Google videos showing fights between bar patrons downtown. It may not be a lot "statistically" but the only statistic you need to be worried about is you. If you live downtown do you want to be around the potential for that? I don't go downtown after a certain hour because the out-of-town partiers and hell-raisers show up in the big city. Forget all the happy propaganda the DDA and DSU and SCVSB want you to focus on, there's a seedier side that no one wants or cares to talk about 'cuz it ain't a pretty sight.

No place is safe but I can tell you I've been to other cities like Shreveport where the downtowns have it together and they've done it without making things low-income. The city messed up on the Red River Entertainment District back in Mayor Hightower's day when they loaned millions to the fast-talking developer John Elkington who didn't deliver on his promises. About the only good thing was they re-habbed the former Shreve-Square but demolished a lot of the old historical bldgs. without a 2nd thought. Political cronies got lucrative contracts for construction and no body raised an eyebrow. Fast-forward and the millions spent won't ever be recovered because no one has tried to go after Elkington. The people who made the decisions are out-of-office, their friends got their money and no one cares about the lost money Elkington got. There were several major-major faux pas' that took place with the district because all of the sudden the place got inunndated with folks who weren't customers but just youngsters "hanging out", scaring away would-be customers just by their appearance. Add one or two random downtown shootings and you had a PR / Safety issue which wasn't handled properly and things went south fast.*

(*Same thing happened with South Park Mall in S. Shreveport back in the mid-1990's.)

I know 4 folks who lived downtown, some even bought 2 bldgs on Texas, had an art gallery on one side and lived in the other. They took the gamble and lost. Big reason they moved was due to the (lack of) quality of life. With bars open until 6am every day, they couldn't sleep with the traffic noise and on weekends it was worse.

I agree, downtown could be liveable but there are a lot of challenges to overcome; many of which have been "self-inflicted" through the years by city officials looking only in one direction and not taking in the whole picture. Making bldgs income-restricted isn't the answer. The United Jewelers & Lee Hardware bldgs were rehabbed over 10 years ago and were supposed to create incentives for local businesses to locate nearby. Where are they? They never came and nothing has happened. No one took the next step because the politicians who promoted all that are out-of-office, their friends got their money and no one cares. History will repeat itself, it has and continues to this day. Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. There's more than meets the eye to downtown and all the Kool-Aid drinking and rosy-propaganda won't change things. Incentives to rehab will bring developers but if all they're going to do is make lower-income housing, you'll get lower-income results. Do the math.
Wow, thanks for taking the time to type out all that! We currently live in the Atlanta suburbs, but we are both from Louisiana. My husband was born/raised in Shreveport and I was born/raised in the New Orleans metro. We lived in Ruston for a few years and then headed off for Atlanta when we couldn't find any "real" jobs. Our families still all reside in Louisiana, spread all over the state. But most of them live in the Shreveport area. We have looked on and off at job possibilities in S'Port, but none have been desirable enough to jump on. If or when it happens, we will most likely buy in North Highland and help better than community. We totally understand the block by block crime issues. We understand the school issues, yada yada...I think because we have been gone for 10ish years, we can come back with a pair of fresh eyes. Plus, we miss our families something fierce! Again, thanks for such a detailed description. I like being in the know.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:21 AM
 
Location: Denver
15,815 posts, read 23,848,749 times
Reputation: 11824
Shreveport doesn't offer grants based on the age of the building or it's location? That's what Baton Rouge has done and it has helped spur reinvestment that otherwise wouldn't have happened. The city has adopted a new plan to follow as well that takes all this into account.
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:30 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,061,506 times
Reputation: 797
There are historic tax credits / grants available based on historic criteria but they alone haven't been enough incentive to invest in rehabbing bldgs, especially considering the size of the bldgs and their construction needs. The real bread & butter incentives to redevelopers come in the form of "tax credits" as long as the new apartments, etc. are "income restricted for low-income workforce tenants". It's a way to allow for low-income service labor staff to find "affordable housing" closer to the downtown areas of their work. Since this type of housing income restriction will only lead to more of the same, a significant portion (possibly majority) of the downtown-living population will be low income.

Like mentioned before, there are already low-income apts downtown and they haven't spawned much in the way of support businesses like the retail shops, grocery stores, etc. that everyone would like to see locate there. This is probably because there just isn't a good business model to support the type of retail downtown yet. Most successful downtown retail is niche' oriented and caters to office workers during their lunch breaks (i.e. Hallmark store, foodservice, etc. )

If you're a developer, you're going to try and get as much grant money / tax credits as you can to hedge your bets. And affordable low-income workforce development designation is what has happened and will probably be the majority of what happens in the future because despite what folks like to think, low-income tax credits will be the carrot and not the throngs of yuppies looking for cool digs downtown. There's better options elsewhere than living downtown.
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Old 09-04-2012, 07:00 PM
 
Location: USA
3,044 posts, read 7,577,667 times
Reputation: 2424
Well now, I think it would be pretty cool to live downtown. Very convenient. No grass to mow, no real upkeep so to speak. I do know that there are some luxury condos in some of the old bank buildings.
You could just get up and go whenever you felt like. Always fancied that moreso than owning acreage and spending every weekend cutting grass and hay
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Old 09-06-2012, 09:21 AM
 
1 posts, read 2,445 times
Reputation: 15
I am very new to Shreveport - just relocated from California - and let me tell you I'm blown away. Everything is so different here. The only reason we came here was because a family member was ill - and we will not be staying too long. The transition was very difficult for me so I decided to create a blog to help others transition because I knew absolutely NADA about this place. Moderator cut: contact poster for link, posting it not allowed

I hope it helps!

Last edited by SouthernBelleInUtah; 09-06-2012 at 11:34 AM..
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:47 PM
 
53 posts, read 116,116 times
Reputation: 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by jashley12 View Post
I am very new to Shreveport - just relocated from California - and let me tell you I'm blown away. Everything is so different here. The only reason we came here was because a family member was ill - and we will not be staying too long. The transition was very difficult for me so I decided to create a blog to help others transition because I knew absolutely NADA about this place. Moderator cut: contact poster for link, posting it not allowed

I hope it helps!
It works both ways; it's called culture shock. When someone from Louisiana moves to California, it's not surprising to find them equally "blown away".
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Old 10-04-2012, 02:49 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,061,506 times
Reputation: 797
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
..... we are both from Louisiana. My husband was born/raised in Shreveport and I was born/raised in the New Orleans metro. We lived in Ruston for a few years and then headed off for Atlanta when we couldn't find any "real" jobs. .... We have looked on and off at job possibilities in S'Port, but none have been desirable enough to jump on. .
JUST A P.S. on JOBS:

There are "pockets of opportunity" job-wise. Oil & Gas jobs will still have a stronger-than-average presence here due to the Haynesville Shale. Right now, exploration for NG has slowed to a crawl as NG prices are below $4mcf. There will need to be a price-bump up to around $5+mcf for more drilling. But supply is high and the pipeline & processing is what keeps the O&G companies here for the time being.

The big employers here are (in no particular order) school system, medical and military. But the largest employment sectors are retail, automotive (dealers / suppliers & affiliated companies) and medical services. The "next big thing" was supposed to be the Cyber Defense Command which wound up going to Texas. We do have a Cyber Innovation Center which may show some promise but it appears to be a model along the lines of the Biomedical Research Center that was championed as the "next big thing" back in the late 1980's. To date it hasn't lived up to the promise and in fact has shifted its focus to IT / Digital Media (as in MoonBot Studios, Blade Studio & CircleR Media). The movie biz here has been touted as the "next big thing" and it has enjoyed some success. But it can be fickle with the question of tax credits being debated in Baton Rouge.

The U.S. Census has indicated that the median income levels for NW La. are either flat or decreased. As you know, median income levels are what companies use to gauge an area's feasibility either for market expansion and/or business development. People seem to think that population size alone is enough but without a stronger "middle-class" with more to spend, you'll get contraction and less development. That's why Baton Rouge area has a Central Market / Whole Foods and Shreveport-Bossier doesn't.

Jobs: this is the primary reason people leave the area. If you have a college degree and are looking at a "career-choice" as opposed to simply finding employment; you look at Houston, Dallas, Little Rock and in your case: Atlanta. Sure the cost-of-living and small-town feel is lost but it is more than made up for in the way of amenities, infrastructure, public services and advancement opportunities. In Shreveport, you have two hospital systems and I've heard doctors say they could screw up if they get on the wrong side of one hospital administrator. There are only two choices: Willis-Knighton and Christus Schumpert. Both are good but again, you have only two choices. A lot of people wind up traveling to other cities for healthcare because of that. I know several personally.

Family is a strong pull, that's why I came back but I have regretted it. I came back thinking that the area may have gotten better, some things yes...but many things still remain which I find less appealing. I have elderly parents and like a lot of folks here, they simply never planned for their declining years and so I am here to help them with that. But I can say that once they are gone, I will be leaving and for many of the reasons I've stated and more. There are people who say this is the best place in the world and for them I say: good for you! Enjoy your choice. One day I will get to make mine.

Just remember: if you're looking for jobs as a career choice, generally pay may not be as good as it is in areas closer to major metros. Median-income is the yardstick as is cost-of-living. But only you can ascertain what matters most.

Good luck to you!
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Old 10-05-2012, 04:31 PM
 
Location: USA
3,044 posts, read 7,577,667 times
Reputation: 2424
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeenThereDunThat View Post
JUST A P.S. on JOBS:

There are "pockets of opportunity" job-wise. Oil & Gas jobs will still have a stronger-than-average presence here due to the Haynesville Shale. Right now, exploration for NG has slowed to a crawl as NG prices are below $4mcf. There will need to be a price-bump up to around $5+mcf for more drilling. But supply is high and the pipeline & processing is what keeps the O&G companies here for the time being.

The big employers here are (in no particular order) school system, medical and military. But the largest employment sectors are retail, automotive (dealers / suppliers & affiliated companies) and medical services. The "next big thing" was supposed to be the Cyber Defense Command which wound up going to Texas. We do have a Cyber Innovation Center which may show some promise but it appears to be a model along the lines of the Biomedical Research Center that was championed as the "next big thing" back in the late 1980's. To date it hasn't lived up to the promise and in fact has shifted its focus to IT / Digital Media (as in MoonBot Studios, Blade Studio & CircleR Media). The movie biz here has been touted as the "next big thing" and it has enjoyed some success. But it can be fickle with the question of tax credits being debated in Baton Rouge.

The U.S. Census has indicated that the median income levels for NW La. are either flat or decreased. As you know, median income levels are what companies use to gauge an area's feasibility either for market expansion and/or business development. People seem to think that population size alone is enough but without a stronger "middle-class" with more to spend, you'll get contraction and less development. That's why Baton Rouge area has a Central Market / Whole Foods and Shreveport-Bossier doesn't.

Jobs: this is the primary reason people leave the area. If you have a college degree and are looking at a "career-choice" as opposed to simply finding employment; you look at Houston, Dallas, Little Rock and in your case: Atlanta. Sure the cost-of-living and small-town feel is lost but it is more than made up for in the way of amenities, infrastructure, public services and advancement opportunities. In Shreveport, you have two hospital systems and I've heard doctors say they could screw up if they get on the wrong side of one hospital administrator. There are only two choices: Willis-Knighton and Christus Schumpert. Both are good but again, you have only two choices. A lot of people wind up traveling to other cities for healthcare because of that. I know several personally.

Family is a strong pull, that's why I came back but I have regretted it. I came back thinking that the area may have gotten better, some things yes...but many things still remain which I find less appealing. I have elderly parents and like a lot of folks here, they simply never planned for their declining years and so I am here to help them with that. But I can say that once they are gone, I will be leaving and for many of the reasons I've stated and more. There are people who say this is the best place in the world and for them I say: good for you! Enjoy your choice. One day I will get to make mine.

Just remember: if you're looking for jobs as a career choice, generally pay may not be as good as it is in areas closer to major metros. Median-income is the yardstick as is cost-of-living. But only you can ascertain what matters most.

Good luck to you!

Little Rock? Really?
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:31 PM
 
53 posts, read 116,116 times
Reputation: 37
I really wish I had the money. I would take a dead section of downtown and build mixed-income housing, along with storefront space and I would market the hell out of it. Even if there was just a Walgreen's on a corner downtown near some of the apartment complexes, it would make a huge difference. Or even an urbanized Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:07 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,061,506 times
Reputation: 797
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdwell View Post
Little Rock? Really?
Yeah, really! Considering that Little Rock is the state capital, there's a number of
agencies and firms catering to the state gov. that attract degreed professionals.

Better airfares to be had out of LR airport than Shreveport, could be Southwest Airlines
has something to do with that. In Shreveport, we're held hostage to "business-class fares".

Major corporations call Little Rock home, Dillards, Windstream Communications, Acxiom to
name three. Other corporations have major presence there such as Raytheon Aircraft,
Dassault Falcon Jet and major financial information services. Couple other things to consider
is Arkansas Children's Hospital, which is a major regional medical facility and nationally known
for its work with pediatrics and a major burn center too. There's a lot of research going on
at that campus and it's not slowing down. Also have major universities there too like the
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, UALR, Smith College and Ark. Baptist.

Forbes mag. cited Little Rock as #22 among best cities to do business just because of what
I've mentioned and more. Keep in mind it's on a major river that they actually do commerce
on too. So yeah, Little Rock has a lot going for it. They just don't brag too much about
what they got not that anyone in Louisiana would pay much attention anyhow.
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