Kathleen Norris, Principal of Urban Fast Forward, says she’s on her third or fourth career, depending how you count. After a long career running performing arts companies in the United States and abroad, she was offered the opportunity to help conceive what is now the Gateway Quarter retail district in Over the Rhine.
After helping to make that area a success, Norris went on to recruit more than 20 restaurateurs and retailers and launched what is now one of the most popular dining and shopping destinations in Cincinnati. It was this project that pulled her into real estate, which was her family’s business going back several generations. “Apparently what goes around, really does come back around,” says Norris.
Today, Urban Fast Forward is a consulting and real estate firm with a niche specialty of helping create and recreate urban downtowns and neighborhoods. “For us, that can mean a range of projects such as working with developers on projects that combine both housing and commercial opportunities – working with cities like Cincinnati and Blue Ash to help create dynamic districts or advertising non-profits on a whole range of real estate needs,” says Norris. “We also have the opportunity to work with great retailers and restaurateurs on finding just the right locations from which to grow their business.”
|Kathleen Norris, Principal of Urban Fast Forward|
At Urban Fast Forward, every day is a new adventure, Norris says. They work in many areas and are beginning a regional expansion. As their chance to learn continues, the more they are able to help their clients achieve their objectives. “We have been very lucky to have some of the best clients in the world and they have helped us grow,” says Norris.
“As a team, we are able to not only tackle real estate issues, but also strategic and urban planning, small business expansion, marketing, retail recruitment, asset acquisition and disposition,” says Norris. “We think every single day about what makes great cities tick and how to help them move forward.”
“We’re willing to tackle projects that may take a long time and require a great investment of energy and expertise if we see that the outcome will be positive,” Norris continues. “We never ever give up if we believe we’re on the trail of something terrific.”
Cincinnati is poised to reap the benefits of the trend to re-urbanism, says Norris. “We have a great environment, strong neighborhoods and a density of desirable assets,” she adds. “We also have something that is about to become a major determinant of growth: we have water. Increasingly it will be the cities and regions that have strong access to fresh water that will move forward most dynamically. That combination – a great urban environment and plenty of fresh water – is pretty rare, but Cincinnati has nailed it.”
However, when it comes to the future, Norris doesn’t release any secrets. “We have a plan for world domination but, as the saying goes, if we tell you, we’ll have to kill you.”
To learn more about Urban Fast Forward, visit their Facebook page or call (513) 888-0320.
“We’re always looking for new opportunities and we’d like to enlist all Cincy Chic readers as scouts,” says Norris. “Let us know about that great little shop you’ve discovered or that terrific restaurant you’ve found. Those clever, independent entrepreneurs are the ones we love to help succeed.”