In an effort to attract new and expanding businesses to Center City, the Philadelphia Retail Marketing Alliance (PRMA) led by Center City District (CCD) is launching a restaurant and retail attraction program and Web site, The Honorable Mayor Michael Nutter, mayor of Philadelphia, and Paul R. Levy, president and CEO of the CCD, introduced the PRMA’s proactive approach to attracting expanding businesses and encouraging new start-ups. At the International Council of Shopping Centers Inc. (ICSC) PA, NJ, DE Idea Exchange in September, Nutter and Levy underscored the important role of retail and hospitality in Philadelphia. In addition, a report on Center City retail and restaurant trends published by the CCD was also released.

As the core of PRMA’s program, highlights the strength of the city’s marketplace and is a comprehensive resource for those looking to start or finance a restaurant or retail business in Center City. The user-friendly site encourages potential new businesses to “Be In On It” and features success stories from prominent Philadelphia boutiques and restaurants such as Sophie Curson, KeVen Parker, Joan Shepp, Jose Garces, and Steven Lagos, as well as national retailers including Macy’s and Barneys. With a sleek and colorful design aesthetic and an editorial look and feel, brings Philadelphia’s bustling Center City restaurants and retail to life. Not only does the site provide key sources, it is as visually enticing as it is informative.

“The partners who make up the Alliance have spent over a year gathering data and interviewing retailers, restaurateurs, brokers, and developers to assemble the information for this Web site,” Levy says. “All of us strongly believe that as Philadelphia rebounds from the national recession, the city will benefit from this strategic and proactive effort to attract new retailers and national retail developers and investors to Center City.”

The PRMA’s Web site makes finding available sites easy and convenient for new and expanding businesses and connects them directly to the brokers who represent specific properties. In order to help new restaurants and retailers assess the best location from which to reach their desired customers, the Web site features overviews of each neighborhood, as well as reports on existing business by type to draw attention to opportunities in the local marketplace. As the retail trend report shows, restaurant and food-related business continue to grow and thrive with 92 new restaurants opening between August 2008 through August 2009. Businesses can search for available restaurant or retail space by specific neighborhoods or even by a particular street.

Additionally, provides significant demographic information such as population by age, level of education, and income by zip code and notes how new downtown housing developments have attracted a more youthful, diverse, affluent, and well-educated population. Pedestrian counts show a frequency of over 2,200 pedestrians per hour in more established retail neighborhoods and from 1,100 to 1,700 pedestrians per hour in emerging retail areas. Reports on also show a restaurant and retail demand of nearly $500 million dollars within the one-mile radius encompassing Center City.

“While we have made significant progress over the past decade, we believe that the Center City experience can be enhanced for workers, residents, and visitors through improved restaurant and retail offerings,” Levy says. “This Web site and marketing effort is the start of a collaborative effort that will pay significant dividends in the next several years.”