City of Austin Performance Report 2015-16

Number of New Merchant Associations Formed From the Commercial Stabilization Program
Soul-y Austin 

Measure Description
This measures the number of new merchant associations and commercial districts engaged through the Soul-y Austin commercial revitalization program. The Soul-y Austin program is the lynchpin of an effort to create merchants’ associations citywide as catalysts for creating great places in Austin. Soul-y’s purpose is to stabilize commercial areas and provide resources towards the creation of merchants’ associations. The initiative promotes and supports businesses of all sizes and types within the city’s commercial areas and corridors.
Calculation Method
This measure is a count of the number of new commercial districts engaged and formed through commercial revitalization program for the reporting period.
FY 2015-16 Results
In FY 2015-16, two commercial districts were engaged and formed, less than the goal of four.
Assessment of Results
In alignment with Imagine Austin’s Growth Concept Map, the Economic Development Department’s (EDD) efforts are focused on the activity centers, corridors, regional centers, town centers, neighborhood centers, and small area plans where Austin is expected to grow in the next 30 years, and on areas that call for new approaches to regenerate communities. With an approach of self-help development, EDD developed and launched the Soul-y Austin Business District Incubator in FY 2014-15, but did not form any merchants associations. There were a total of 6 business districts served through the Soul-y program in FY 2015-16. Of those business districts served, a total of two merchants associations were created. Districts engaged in the Soul-y Austin program do not always materialize into associations due to the time commitment associated with such an endeavor. Soul-y activity occurred in Council Districts Nine (Red River, Manor) and One (E. 12th, Manor). There were a total of seven business districts served through the Soul-y program in FY 2015-16. More information can be found at https://austintexas.gov/soulyatx.
Next Steps
In FY 2016-17, a total of eight districts will receive assistance from the Soul-y Austin program. FY 2016-17 is projected to include activity in two additional council districts. EDD would like to have an active Soul-y District in each City Council District by FY 2019-20. Additionally, the Soul-y Austin program will provide technical assistance beyond the initial organizational year to strengthen the capacity of the two districts that formed a merchants association in FY 2015-16.
Contact Information
For more information contact Christine Maguire, Redevelopment Division Manager, at (512) 974-7131.