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City Brings On Longtime Redevelopment Expert

K. Michael Chen has decades of experience working with businesses and municipalities.

K. Michael Chen holds an official city title, will do work in New Port Richey City Hall and will be paid to spearhead the city’s economic development and redevelopment efforts.

But he won’t be a full-time, salaried staff person.

Chen, president of Urban Development and Mobility Solutions consulting firm in Tampa, was appointed by City Manager John Schneiger to be New Port Richey’s economic development manager this month. The newly created position is a part-time contract job that pays a lump sum of $5,000 a month.

Chen’s agreement with the city calls for him to work at least 20 hours a week. His appointment took effect March 21.

Chen’s duties include attracting businesses into the city, keeping them here, making progress on the city’s redevelopment projects, marketing the city, and pursuing neighborhood revitalization.

“The whole idea is to expand our tax base,” Schneiger said

Chen’s no stranger to business issues. He spent 11 years in the public sector alone working on development concerns for municipalities.

He handled economic development as director of urban development and development services manager for the City of Tampa. During his time with the city of Tampa, which lasted from August 2005 – June 2010, he spearheaded economic development initiatives, sought to provide economic incentives in the city Community Redevelopment Areas and management plans for those areas, pursued public/private partnerships and worked on numerous other issues.

Prior to that, he worked as development services manager for the village of Oak Park from November 1999 – July 2005. 

Chen founded Urban Development and Mobility Solutions in 2010.

He has also decades of experience working in the private sector. According to his application for the New Port Richey job, in more than 20 years of work in the private sector, he was “directly responsible for the development of over $500 million of real estate projects, including the World Trade Center of Miami, and the Scottsdale Princess Resort.”

The concept of bringing on someone to handle economic development in the city arose last summer as the city council was working on this year’s budget.

Chen’s contract with New Port Richey is for six months, and the city council would decide if they want to continue it into next budget year.  

Projects Chen will be working on at first including efforts to seek redevelopment of the city-owned First Baptist Church site, the Hacienda Hotel expansion and redevelopment, marketing of South River Road Church property and creation of  of an economic development and CRA web page and more.

Susan Washburn March 31, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I think it's fantastic that they have taken a serious move to increase the availability of employment and increase industrial development (hopefully) in New Port Richey. What is needed is more companies that can provide jobs making their home here rather than more retail provided to people who have little disposable income to spend on anything other than the necessities. Keep up the good work! A suggestion: A little contest could be held in which volunteers could make promotional videos about New Port Richey to increase both tourism and economic development. A suggestion for a prize could be a year's free membership to the town's recreational facilities (which are numerous).
Carla Gibson June 09, 2012 at 02:05 PM
In a way I hate to say it, but until the state of Florida decides to make casino gambling legal and take advantage of everything the economy building / job producing / tourist enhancing Las Vegas style casinos & resorts have to offer .. this state (especially west central Florida) will continue to go down the toilet. Horn Lake, MS is just one example .. BEFORE casino gambling became legal in Mississippi, that little southern "hick" town was one of the most destitute "falling apart" areas I've ever seen -- much like the way the West Pasco areas are crumbling apart now. But AFTER the big Las Vegas casinos were allowed to build in nearby Tunica, the Horn Lake area quickly "EXPLODED" with modern new shopping malls, mega-grocery stores, restaurants, big name hotels, brand new highways, nice brand new subdivisions .. construction jobs soared, tourists came, and the locals finally had good paying jobs. People were even driving the long distance from Memphis just to have good paying jobs in the Tunica casinos. Fixing up the old Hacienda and developing the city-owned First Baptist Church site are "fine & dandy" little projects .. but this will NOT boost things enough to attract big business / industry and tourists! West Pasco will NEVER be on anyone's "bucket list" until something HUGE happens and all of the empty buildings and shopping centers, "rat trap" redneck bars, XXX rated video shops, and the crumbling US 19 asphalt is a thing of the past ...

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