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Economic Development Update - Retailers in Trouble, Downtown Revitalization Progress

Cudahy, Development

Information provided by City of Cudahy Director of Economic Development/ Inspections and Zoning Brian F. Biernat


Dear Policy Makers and Municipal Government Colleagues:


The Retail Market, nationally and regionally, remains in a state of flux with the overall trend in 2014-15 to include an increased number of reorganizations and bankruptcies.  In Cudahy, our primary focus during this period will be to secure sustainable, locally-regionally grown retail and retail service businesses as complements to planned mixed-use, in-fill opportunities of predominantly multi-family residential character in our downtown district.  We are in the process of “setting the table” that will optimize our chances of achieving success with this strategy.  The increased number of rooftops in market rate housing in the downtown district currently proposed, under consideration or under development is the catalyst driving additional development interest specializing in mixed use development traditionally associated with downtown revitalization activity.  While market reality dictates a smaller retail footprint in Cudahy, the new retail uses being pursued as partners in mixed-use redevelopment are being vetted for sustainability and growth potential. 


The Community Development Authority, by maintaining a passive policy open to unsolicited offers from various downtown property owners or their agents to sell their properties, allows itself the ability to evaluate and respond to such offers positively if they meet the criteria established by the adopted plans of the City of Cudahy.  By judicious review and acceptance of such offers to sell, the CDA is facilitating implementation of the City’s adopted 2020 Comprehensive Plan, as well as ancillary plans for downtown revitalization that are supplementary to and directed by the Comprehensive Plan.  The 2020 Comprehensive Plan was produced primarily through City of Cudahy resident and taxpayer input via a lengthy and totally transparent process of public notification, information dissemination, multiple public meetings and a formal public approval process by elected officials as dictated by state law.  Since 2012, in every case of an approval of such an offer to sell to date, acquisition of the subject properties furthered the documented objectives of Cudahy residents and taxpayers, via:


1)      The ability to continue aggregation of land supporting downtown redevelopment plans and opportunities.


2)      The elimination of blighted, derelict and unsafe buildings and uses in such buildings that directly undermine the city’s objectives or disproportionately command the attention of costly city resources.


3)      The elimination of functionally obsolete commercial space that cannot approximate desired market rents without substantial owner investment which in most cases has been absent for a considerable period of time.


I am gratified by the degree of success already achieved in a relatively short amount of time.  I look forward to continuing my public service in collaboration with the City Plan Commission, Community Development Authority, Design Review Board, and Common Council, implementing these critical elements of the Comprehensive Plan that will provide significant added value to our tax base to the benefit of all city taxpayers.  As always, my office remains open to all who have an interest in furthering the economic goals and objectives of the city.  I encourage all policy makers, business owners and residents who have any questions regarding our implementation of the comprehensive plan to contact me at their convenience. 




Thanks very much,


“Cudahy – KK starts here.”


Brian F. Biernat


Director of Economic Development/


Inspections and Zoning


City of Cudahy


414-769-2215 Office


414-769-2257 Fax

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