As the local economy shows signs of picking up, Pacific officials are looking for partnerships to make the city more attractive as a location for new stores or shopping malls.
At one time, officials focused almost entirely on industrial growth, but that is changing, according to Mayor Herb Adams.
“Factories were the thing to go for because of the high salaried jobs they brought,” Adams said. “But what we’re seeing happen now is developers are looking for retail locations and they are building new shopping sites.”
Pacific wants to attract its share of retail growth and Adams said its location at the entrance to Franklin County is a great selling point.
If and when retail developers come knocking at the door, Adams said he wants the county’s help in making Pacific an attractive location.
Adams, along with City Administrator Harold Selby and Walter Arnette, president of the board of aldermen, presented their case for the county and city to work together to improve retail growth at an Aug. 29 luncheon meeting with Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer and First District Commissioner Tim Brinker at Café Palermo in Pacific.
Adams said it is in both the county and the city’s interest to boost retail development at the county’s eastern edge.
“We have some very exciting things coming our way,” he said. “They will benefit not only us, but will produce sales tax for the county as well.”
Adams said the city might need some assistance from the county in landing retail developers and he wants to explore county assistance in retail development, similar to the assistance offered the Phoenix Project in Washington.
Griesheimer expressed caution, but said he was open to discuss retail growth. He said in the absence of Second District Commissioner Mike Schatz, he and Brinker were there to listen.
“We’ll take it under advisement,” Griesheimer said.
Brinker said the county does want to assist the city in any way it has the capacity to help.
“We certainly want to help where we can,” Brinker said.
Adams stressed that retail development in Pacific would produce sales tax revenue for the city and the county.
“We look at the developments in St. Louis County that draw sales tax from the city and from our county and we foresee a future where retail development in Pacific could reverse that trend,” Adams said. “We could draw retail tax revenue from the east into Franklin County.”
Brinker said Pacific is well positioned to attract shoppers from the east.
“Pacific is the entrance to the county, the front porch, so to speak,” he said. “When developers come knocking this is the obvious place to capture their attention.”
Adams said several retail developers are talking with the city and are poised to build new stores, which has city officials scrambling to attract every available type of assistance.
“In the past, cities focused on industrial development and the high paying jobs that brought in but the present and the future look different,” Adams said. “It appears that the kind of development we can expect is retail development, which offers jobs with a lower hourly wage than the traditional industrial jobs.”