The city agreed to a contract with Retail Services, who will show developments like Marktplatz Mall to retailers across America. City Manager Chris Dalton said the group is established and has good relationships with retail site selectors.
NEW ULM — Development projects across New Ulm are due for a boost.
City Council agreed to a contract on Tuesday with Retail Strategies, a retail recruitment service who works to bring opportunities to development projects in over 150 communities across the United States.
“They do retail recruitment nationally,” City Manager Chris Dalton explained. “They go to a lot of trade shows where site selectors for retail, national tenants are. When we have vacant spots, they market that to potential retailers that may want to go into a space.”
Dalton said city officials had connected with Retail Strategies in the past, but it had not been the right time. But now, with a four lane open into New Ulm, he said it was the perfect time to work with them.
“We’ll be connecting them with our mixed use developers,” he said. “They’ll represent us in Chicago and Las Vegas at International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) events. They’ll be out there with our sites and and getting New Ulm in front of site selectors, and they’ll do a lot of data collection for us.”
Dalton said the city had initially budgeted $50,000 for this expense. While talking to Retail Strategies representatives in Austin at the International City Managers Association event, he was able to drop it down to $45,000 the first year and $40,000 for years two and three.
Councilman Les Schultz asked Dalton if this was the same group they had worked with to find a use for the old Target building. Dalton said it was.
Schultz said he had good experiences with Retail Strategies in the past.
“I was pretty impressed with that group,” he said. “I remember meeting them at the National Conference and I was really impressed with the professionalism, what they were willing to do.”
Schultz asked why the city had terminated their agreement with Retail Strategies on the Target property. Dalton said it had boiled down to bad timing and splitting the cost between three groups.
“We did a three way split with NUBRIC and the chamber,” Schultz said. “At the time, the chamber board and NUBRIC board didn’t understand what it was they were trying to do and wanted to not continue that contract.”
Schultz commented on the contract length of three years Retail Strategies had put forward. Dalton said the city would be able to pull out of the contract at any time, with notification ahead of time.
Dalton said a big benefit of this agreement comes from the experience and position Retail Strategies has. He said city officials have done retail recruitment work in the past, but they’re usually unknown and have to put themselves out there. With Retail Strategies, the opposite is true.
“They’ve been in the industry for a long time so they have good relationships with the site selectors that are out there for these different retail companies,” Dalton said. “It’s easier for them to know ‘This site right here is available, it matches this criteria’. They’re able to foster those meetings and get those meetings where we would be starting at ground zero.”
Councilman Eric Warmka made the motion to approve the contract with Retail Strategies and Dave Christian seconded. The first major event New Ulm developments will be shopped around is ICSC Las Vegas from May 19-21.