Brandon Downtown Development Corporation drops Renaissance Brandon moniker to reflect its core function

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Brandon Downtown Development Corporation has dropped the Renaissance Brandon moniker as it looks to refresh and rebrand the 10-year-old organization.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/01/2018 (1774 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brandon Downtown Development Corporation has dropped the Renaissance Brandon moniker as it looks to refresh and rebrand the 10-year-old organization.

Executive director Elisabeth Saftiuk said BDDC has been the group’s legal name since its inception in 2008, and the board decided it was time to revert back to it to adequately reflect the organization’s core function and mandate.

As part of the refresh, a new logo was created, which includes a portion of Brandon’s downtown skyline. The buildings represented are properties that BDDC has helped to redevelop in some way, such as funding through its redevelopment grant program, or rent assistance through the rent abatement program.

Tim Smith/The Brandon Sun) Brandon Downtown Development Corporation executive director Elizabeth Saftiuk is leading the rebranding of the organization.

“We are a downtown development corporation and now both our name and logo properly reflect that,” Saftiuk said.

While Renaissance Brandon was a relatively well-known name, there continued to be some confusion over the years. Saftiuk said she would get phone calls about condo fees for Renaissance Station, or inquiries about mental health services due to the Downtown Hub logo.

“There was just a lot of confusion. We were called the Hub, we were called Renaissance Brandon, we were called Ren Brandon, we were called RB,” she said. “And so now this kind of just takes us back to our core function, what we truly are.”

To complete the rebranding, there will be a new website launched in February, as well as a larger focus on social media.

“I think it’s critically important to … promote ourselves in that way,” Saftiuk said.

As BDDC marks 10 years, the organization is forced to adjust to a new funding reality. The province terminated the multi-year funding agreement, which had provided $250,000 annually to the organization and matched by the City of Brandon.

Saftiuk said they remain hopeful there are other provincial funding streams they can tap into.

“I believe that our development corporation makes a very strong business case,” she said. “We are able to leverage significant private-sector investment in our downtown and both the city and the province see direct benefits from that, in terms of increased property assessment values and in turn, increased property tax revenue.”

It would be ideal if a multi-year funding agreement could be put in place again, as it not only reduced red tape but provided sustainability to the BDDC funding model.

Coun. Jan Chaboyer (Green Acres) is calling on Brandon’s MLAs to help address this issue “sooner than later” so the province “understands the importance of supporting the City of Brandon, and the downtown initiatives.”

Chaboyer said she hopes the province will reconsider the multi-year funding agreement.

As for the rebranding of the organization, Chaboyer said now is the time to do it, as there is a lot of potential in Brandon’s downtown.

“Sometimes you gotta press the restart button,” she said. “It’s also important for the customers to kind of see that we’ve got a fresh outlook on what’s happening downtown.”

Submitted Brandon Downtown Development Corporation has unveiled a new logo, featuring a portion of the Rosser Avenue skyline.

Coun. Lonnie Patterson (South Centre) said she too is disappointed that the province has terminated the funding agreement and hopes it will look at programming opportunities to help BDDC achieve its goals.

“This isn’t the only file that’s received a provincial funding reduction and it’s going to have an impact on our budget deliberations this weekend,” Patterson said, noting transit is another example.

“As a council, we really have to make a decision about how much we want to backfill what was a commitment from the provincial government, and that’s going to be difficult because quite honestly, the municipality can’t take on every single spending reduction that the province makes in our city.”

Despite the funding challenges, Saftiuk said the BDDC is optimistic about the year ahead. It will continue to focus on leveraging private sector investment through the redevelopment grant program, and focus on attracting new businesses downtown with the rent abatement program.

“There will be an emphasis on retail businesses, dining services, entertainment, personal service businesses, because typically you see these types of businesses being open evenings and weekends,” she said. “And of course this is a really big priority for our board.”

Also in 2018, the organization plans to investigate tax credit programs, work with the city as it reviews its downtown secondary plan, start drafting BDDC’s new strategic plan and work with Brandon University as its downtown campus plan moves ahead.

An exciting project to watch this year is the completion of 29 10th St., which will be the new home of Chez Angela Bakery, Muse Bridal Studio, Charleston and Harlow Candle Co., Rheanon Neale Photography, Studio 78 and Mint Magazine. They are also anticipating the development of the second and third storeys of 1031 Rosser Ave. into a full-service day spa, as part of Skin Clinics.

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