HR&A Advisors, Inc. with Cooper, Robertson & Partners
During the research phase of Rebuild by Design, we engaged local business owners and stakeholders in communities representing barrier islands, mainland coastal communities, and dense urban districts – typologies that represent common problems and potential solutions. Many design strategies (such as elevation, flood gates and sandbags) for protecting commercial buildings and corridors hinder ground floor business operations. Many strategies are also challenging to finance and implement, especially for struggling small businesses.
Through our work in Stage 3, we will create an organizational framework for a financing mechanism to enable business owners to implement strategies for improving resiliency of their businesses, buildings, and corridors. Ideally, financing will be tied to a commitment to create a stronger, more resilient district, either through the sum of individual improvements or larger-scale improvements such as sidewalk berms, porous roadways, and other design and engineering strategies. Our team will begin with outreach to local business owners and business leader groups to gauge interest in participation; identify, and if necessary design, the appropriate interventions to enhance resiliency of businesses, buildings, and corridors; and estimate the funds required to make improvements to enhance resiliency. We will also reach out to funders who specialize in lending to small businesses and in disaster recovery to determine the appropriate mechanism for lending and understand the qualifications necessary to attract an administrator for implementation. Finally, the team will work to create conceptual materials to support program administration and technical assistance, should pilot programs move forward.