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.