Fresh Thinking

Cerritos Economic Development Strategic Plan

The Client

The city of Cerritos has established a tremendous track record of success with its economic base and its retail sectors in particular. Cerritos maintains a large job base and a mix of global and local businesses. But while the local economy maintains many strong attributes, the community is in the middle of an internal and regional transition. The regional job base is transitioning away from the industries that have historically defined Cerritos, and the retail sector has had to continually evolve to meet the challenge of competing with regional retail centers in other communities. In addition, Cerritos has had a strong fiscal position by virtue of its high sales tax revenue and redevelopment project areas. As the redevelopment project areas begin to phase out, the city faces the challenge of maintaining its fiscal strength while continuing to provide a high level of services.

The Approach

The Cerritos economic development strategic plan presented a unique opportunity in that the city already had a very forward thinking approach to economic development that helped create a thriving business base and strong fiscal position. However, the pending expiration of the City's redevelopment districts and emerging competition from surrounding communities necessitated some new thinking and new approaches. The approach to the plan included a thorough examination of the city's commercial market, its business base, opportunity sites, and business climate. In addition, the situation with Cerritos's redevelopment districts called for a fiscally-driven approach in which the strategic recommendations considered the effects that specific actions would have on city revenues.

The Process

In close consultation with city staff and the newly formed economic development commission, ADE led a year-long process of public meetings that presented and discussed findings from a series of technical studies, site analyses, business surveys, and interviews. The discussions and directives that came out of these meetings formed the basis of the strategic recommendations and economic development goals.

The Outcomes

Thanks to expert analysis and some fresh thinking, the Cerritos economic development strategic plan enhanced the city's economic development in several respects. First, the City expanded and broadened the scope of its business retention and expansion program, strengthening communication between the city and its business community. Second, information from ADE's retail market analysis helped guide the City's business attraction efforts and provide guidance for transitioning and expanding upon Cerritos's retail base. Third, ADE helped identify industry sectors that tie in well with regional trends and are appropriate to Cerritos's land use plans. Part of that involves including mixed-use development into an overall strategy that makes Cerritos a more attractive place for young entrepreneurs to live and work. Finally, the plan identified outside funds and income sources that could combine to replace some of the redevelopment funds currently used for economic development activities as the City's redevelopment districts transition out.