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Approval of Family Entertainment Venue Initiative Sought at April 8th Council Meeting

CAROLINA BEACH - On April 8th, Bob Blocher, a local real estate broker and business consultant, will be going before the Town Council seeking approval to move forward on the Family Entertainment Venue Initiative he has recommended. He has submitted a (draft) consulting agreement under which he would be established as the Town’s exclusive economic development consultant, specific to this initiative.
The initiative has been formally introduced to Mayor Dan Wilcox and all Council Members, as well as, Town Manager Michael Cramer with follow-up documents that confirm objectives and task assignments. He wants this article to inform the public of the recommendations, and to encourage interest in attending the April 8th, Council meeting at 6:30PM at Town Hall in the Council meeting room.
Mr. Blocher’s contends that if Carolina Beach wants to become the preferred coastal Carolina vacation destination for families, it needs to offer more to families. A primary goal of the initiative is to determine if family entertainment venues can be established as the core foundation for Carolina Beach’s economic growth. He sees family entertainment venues as the optimum anchor “tenant” in the central business district; a “tenant” that will influence complementing commercial and residential development.
He has proposed a private funding strategy to finance the development of economic feasibility and economic impact studies to confirm that FEVs can be the dominant driver of Carolina Beach’s economy. His task assignment will be to secure grant funds from private individuals, corporations and the scores of private foundations in New Hanover County. The grant funds would not be taxpayer dollars. Mr. Blocher has identified a wealth of local, regional, county and state potential contributors that are regularly involved in philanthropic activities, including scores of private foundations in New Hanover County, as well as grantmaking and grant management service entities. Blocher says Philanthropic donations to municipalities are not a new concept and they are, in fact, well defined and authorized under IRS regulations.
He believes he can effectively position the worthiness of Carolina Beach for the required level of funding; particularly, if the Council and Town management present a unanimous, united and supportive stance.
Blocher says he has identified prime candidates for the fee-based professional services needed to develop the feasibility and impact studies from beginning market analysis through venue design and construction, operations, revenue promise and even attraction/ride construction and installation.
His recommendation is that entertainment venue planning be under the oversight of what he refers to as “executive” architectural and engineering companies. These companies will ensure that the venues meet Town development guidelines and infrastructure requirement. He says, “of equal importance, is the need for the venues to be planned in a manner that will allow optimum complementing commercial development adjacencies.”
Blocher says he believes the architecture and engineering services will also result in a “quasi” master plan of a pedestrian corridor of popular businesses, entertainment and accommodations fully incorporating the central business district and running past, and including, what is commonly known as the old Food Lion shopping center. He is in preliminary discussion with firms he believes will be topnotch contributors . . . and has established their preliminary interest.
Mr. Blocher said “It is critical that residents, business owners and property owners recognize that this will be a private sector endeavor. The Town’s investment will be limited to the retainer-based consulting agreement.”
Blocher says the results of the family entertainment economic feasibility and economic impact studies along with the visions and promise of complementing commercial development will create serious investor and developer interest. Mr. Blocher has impressive local, national and international databases of personal
contacts in financial entities, real estate investors and developers, as well as known sources in wealth management.
Blocher said many of these entities were approached by him in his past efforts to promote commercial investment in Carolina Beach. He believes that “coming to them now with promising economic feasibility studies that identify what can be the foundation for economic growth and development in Carolina Beach with a formal representation status with the Town will make a huge difference.”
He says that with Carolina Beach annually bringing out its Island of Lights presentation, he believes that becoming known as the year-round
Island of Entertainment and Family Fun would be a great added branding for the Town, and that this new branding will improve its recognition as an Island for Family Fun ‘n the Sun; enhancing its potential as a preferred coastal designation for tourists.