Preparation of an Economic Development Plan for Northbrook
Client: The Village of Northbrook, Illinois
Concerned about preserving its status as a desirable business location, The Village of Northbrook and the Northbrook Economic Development Committee commissioned Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) to conduct market and economic research and analysis to assess conditions and trends affecting Northbrook and to identify implementable economic development strategies for Northbrook. GG+A's research and analysis was directed toward providing an information base and strategic framework for the formation and implementation of an ongoing economic development program. A primary objective of the study accomplished by GG+A included the identification of opportunities and constraints for attracting and retaining desirable businesses and the identification of the comparative advantages these target industries from a Northbrook location. GG+A also identified the policies, programs and action that could be feasibly taken to enhance the ability of the local economy to respond to the needs of the target businesses and to encourage beneficial development and redevelopment.
GG+ A performed the following principal tasks:
- Analyzed relevant demographic, housing and labor force characteristics;
- Compared employment change and shifts in the share of employment by economic sector over time and between areas within the local and regional economy to: (i) derive a profile of Northbrook's economic base and its relative position in the regional economy; (ii) prepare preliminary projections of employment growth by employment sector; and (iii) identify potential growth industries for Northbrook;
- A survey of industrial and non-industrial firms and analysis of its results to: (i) identify the assets and liabilities of Northbrook from the perspective of firms currently or formerly located in Northbrook; (ii) ascertain the factors attracting and inhibiting economic development; and (iii) obtain insights on the types of industries likely to be attracted to and expand in Northbrook;
- A reconnaissance of retailing conditions in Northbrook, including the preparation of an estimate of the demand for retail space and comparison to existing and expected supply;
- Based on the results of the survey and interviews with members of the real estate community, GG+A refined the projection of employment by economic sector and estimated the amount of building space and land required to accommodate forecast employment growth. The supply of office and industrial buildings and vacant land was identified and the relationship between forecast demand and supply conditions assessed; and
- Synthesized the results of the research and analysis into a strategic action economic development plan that included policy recommendations as well as suggested implementation procedures and strategy.