As communities grapple with the issues of business districts languishing half-vacant, of essential commercial spaces that are controlled by distant landlords or big retail chains with no regard for neighborhood needs, and of Wall Street’s approach to finance, some neighborhoods are coming up with their own solutions.
They’re joining together to invest in, develop, or own their local businesses themselves.
The benefits of community ownership of commercial spaces include new jobs nearby, strong incentives to shop locally, local sources for key goods, closer ties with neighbors, and in some cases, a return on investment.
There are four primary models of community ownership of commercial spaces. These are: investment cooperatives, commercial community land trusts, customer cooperatives, and community-owned stores. Though several of these models are small, they hold outsize potential.
For more information on each model, including policy recommendations to help them scale and spread, see the pages below.
- Our resource page, “Keeping Commercial Space Affordable for Local Business,” and our April 2016 report, “Affordable Space: How Rising Commercial Rents Are Threatening Independent Businesses, and What Cities Are Doing About It.”