Visiting Assistant Professor
Landscape Architecture and
Regional & Community Planning
3001 Seaton Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
Gary Stith has over 38 years in public and private planning practice. He led the successful redevelopment of downtown Manhattan, Kansas through a public private partnership. He managed the assembly of nine square blocks of land for the site of a 400,000 square foot shopping mall that was anchored by three department stores. This development was adjacent to the historic downtown which was tied to the mall through the creation of the first Business Improvement District in Kansas. Stith developed the public financing for this redevelopment project which included a $9 million Federal UDAG grant, special assessment districts, and Tax Increment Financing.
In the Mid-Atlantic region, Stith managed the design and construction for a home improvement retail company. He also managed the development of several retail centers including the design, construction, and leasing of these centers. This private sector experience was crucial for later successful public-private efforts.
In Montgomery County, Maryland Stith managed the redevelopment of downtown Silver Spring for the County through a public private partnership. This mixed-use development included retail, entertainment, hotel, office, and residential. The County funded the renovation of the historic Silver Theatre which is operated by the American Film Institute. The County was responsible for acquisition, environmental clean-up, historic preservation, public parking, public space and facilities, public art, and streetscaping. The private sector managed the construction, financing, leasing, and operation of the commercial and residential uses in the project. This $400 million project has resulted in over $1.2 billion of new investment in downtown Silver Spring.
Stith has participated in 13 public-private projects ranging from the relocation of an historic diner to a million square foot mixed-use development. He has managed four of these projects from concept to completion. He has both public and private experience which helps him act as a bridge between these two sectors to create successful commercial and residential projects using the strength and resources of both sectors.
His emphasis in teaching is in the implementation of plans which create a sense of community and place. This requires an understanding of real estate markets, the development process, public and private financing, private investment decision making, and public-private partnerships.