Charleroi Arts and Entertainment Economic Development
And Repositioning Strategy
April 1, 2013
The commercial vacancy rate in downtown Charleroi is approximately twenty five percent between 2nd and 7th streets along McKean and Fallowfield Avenues. Many of the buildings are in need of comprehensive rehabilitation efforts to make them viable units. In many cases, the upper floor apartments have not been rented in years and may present code issues that will need to be resolved before the units can be occupied.
The Coyle Theater closed in 1999 and has not played a significant role in the revitalization. The Theater is owned by the Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust.
To implement an arts occupancy based real estate strategy to promote additional occupancy and vibrancy. The Coyle Theater could act as an anchor for the downtown when the project is completed. The theater is capable of generating nighttime foot traffic on the street both before and after shows. The Mid Mon Valley Cultural Trust plans to follow the recommendations for the 1988 study and concentrate primarily on films with occasional concerts.
Regular foot traffic will increase during the week with peak attendance on Friday and Saturday night. The increase in foot traffic in the twilight and night-time hours will supplement the strong daytime lunch foot traffic to make the make retail and restaurant rentals in the town more appealing.
Prior to the theater opening there will need to be an increase in evening foot traffic to enable the to make the theater more appealing by creating a regular pattern usage of the downtown. A regular series of promotions in the evening hours to establish a “standard event” will enable the theater, when it opens to be the anchor of the strategy and not a solitary entity.
The downtown is in an enterprise zone. There will be twenty five percent (25%) tax credits available for investment in commercial portions of buildings. Additional tax credits on a state and federal level for the historic restoration of the buildings in the national register district could result in as much as sixty five percent (65%) in tax credits on some portions of the buildings.
The real estate in the downtown is undervalued and has a high commercial vacancy rate, which will make it attractive to artists. A plan for development of an arts district would hasten the activity. In conjunction with a concerted effort to establish more foot traffic in the evening, arts retail and hospitality industries could grow.
Implementing a program of Technical assistance in securing the funding, tax credits and other incentives could increase real estate activity creating more of a demand. Coordination with property owners, organizations providing incentives and perspective tenants will enable the strategy to be implemented in a framework that is geared toward everyone having access to the same information and understanding.