flyingember wrote:FangKC wrote:They really don't need to be adding much new retail space in that neighborhood anyway. There are plenty of older former retail buildings all around that block that just need to be remodeled.
Actually, more retail can be a good thing.
Bringing more space helps keep rent down and helps keep it from going up as demand in the area goes up with more customers.
It encourages landlords to renovate, they can't ignore the quality of space if they're in horrible shape next door to right new. ADA compliance at a new space when the old next door is grandfathered doesn't make the old place look good. If they're all that exists why would the owner bother? Sometimes places need to look bad to be encouraged to renovate.
It helps bring new amenities to the neighborhood. The required bike parking at a new infill project can be used for shops nearby too. A renovation may be grandfathered and not need to add bike parking.
It's the network effect working to improve the entire area.
I am not saying adding new retail is a bad thing. I am saying that it doesn't make a lot of sense to build more NEW structures with retail space in a neighborhood that has a lot of older, existing retail structures that aren't being used, or are underutilized. There are 30-35 structures within four blocks of 31st and Gillham that could be renovated or repurposed for retail.
It's a lot cheaper to create retail space by renovating existing former commercial buildings. It makes sense to use what we already have before building more expensive new space. Many of the buildings simply need to have the interiors updated, and perhaps a renovation of the facades. Use the existing buildings to see how much retail can florish BEFORE building more.
Yes, there are exceptions in the example of a CVS or Walgreen's drug store in that they have certain layout requirements. However, I don't see either of those chains opening a store near the intersection of 31st and Gillham anytime soon. There just isn't enough population density there now. Those chains would be more likely to wait and build in a new building around Crown Center. The population inside the Loop barely can support the CVS at 10th and Main, and there are a lot more people living within walking distance there. Just a few short years ago, the City had to practically beg CVS not to close.
The retail landscape is much different than in years past. Many of the types of businesses that used to fill larger retail spaces in commercial nodes have gone away: video rental stores, bookstores, music stores, computer and electronic stores, office supply stores. Long-term retail even struggles to stay open in well-established neighborhoods.
The focus should be on creating as much dense housing as possible. The new structures being planned and built need to prioritize residential, and it's perfectly okay to have buildings without any retail in them.