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Tim3167

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To paraphrase Bill Maher in his most recent HBO stand-up routine in regards to the Bush administration but here applied to downtown boosterism, "repeating the propaganda line again and again is almost as good as wishing it were so" :thumbsup:

We all may wish that Downtown Orlando could support a first-run multiplex but the theater professionals don't seem to agree. I wonder who knows more about that industry - a bunch of Internet fan bois or AMC's research and development department.

Look, Kuhn and the city may be able to eventually cajole some theater chain into coming to downtown. I mean, throw enough money, perks, or incentives at a problem and short term solutions tend to appear but I would still wager that the company that does try their luck downtown will be some third-rate outfit no one has ever heard of and there won't be much variety in the types of films they show. The fact remains, downtown Orlando is, by even mid-sized city standards, on life support - not dead certainly but not doing well either.

For god's sake, it has been known in the urban planning world for decades that one-way streets kill downtowns but what does Orlando do this week? Change another downtown street to one way - freaking unbelievable.

There are zero shopping or recreation opportunities in downtown Orlando and none are planned for the near future.

Save for a couple of pizza joints and wine bars there is effectively no dinning in downtown.

Virtually no new office space has been built in downtown in the last ten years. Even the ten floors Dynatech is building for themselves is just a relocation from another downtown site. So just where downtown are all of these thousands of condo dwellers supposedly working such that they really aren't driving out into the suburbs to go to work?

The majority of people actually buying condos downtown to live in are out-of-state relocators and retirees - albeit of a younger variety than say, Baptist Towers. Yes, of course prices will go down and then the same people who now rent at ArchStone and drive in to the burbs to work will be able to rent downtown and drive into the burbs.

What the person above who appears to "be from" Knoxville failed to point out is that among the things that I listed, the University of Tennessee and its 30,000 students alone gives a place like Knoxville the vitality a downtown needs - a large population actually living and working [or going to school] downtown who also eat, drink, and play downtown. And by the way, I have been to Knoxville about three times in the last two years so I have some very recent experience as to what Knoxville is like having well, experienced it myself...

What's amazing to me is that there are still those boosters who, with all of the empirical evidence at their disposal, still refuse to see this recent condo boom as anything but the mostly hollow shell based on amateur speculation that it is. Rather than face reality they criticize the Sentinel for simply reporting the facts and for not joining them in their cognitive dissonance. I will say it again - a handful of owner occupied $400-500/SF condos cannot turn around an entire downtown core.

Where are the businesses? Travelers just vacated 12 floors downtown for a new building in Baldwin Park. EA used downtown to leverage better terms in Maitland [or was it Altamonte?]. The only new traditional office building built in the last ten years [Dynatech] is a downtown relocation and the office-condos in the Plaza house fewer workers per square foot than traditional corporations which translates into fewer people occupying the building.

Hey, the condo boom was a start albeit a small one. And the downtown Publix is certainly a good sign. Give it another 20-25 years and another mini boom or two and downtown Orlando might begin to have something, but forgive me if I still find some of the more flamboyant giddiness and self-flagellation and speculation a bit humorous.

I still wouldn't hold out much hope for a high quality and diverse first-run downtown theater anytime soon but I personally would love to be proven wrong and if so will be the first one to admit it.

Cheers.

Edited by Camillo Sitte
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To paraphrase Bill Maher in his most recent HBO stand-up routine in regards to the Bush administration but here applied to downtown boosterism, "repeating the propaganda line again and again is almost as good as wishing it were so" :thumbsup:

We all may wish that Downtown Orlando could support a first-run multiplex but the theater professionals don't seem to agree. I wonder who knows more about that industry - a bunch of Internet fan bois or AMC's research and development department.

Look, Kuhn and the city may be able to eventually cajole some theater chain into coming to downtown. I mean, throw enough money, perks, or incentives at a problem and short term solutions tend to appear but I would still wager that the company that does try their luck downtown will be some third-rate outfit no one has ever heard of and there won't be much variety in the types of films they show. The fact remains, downtown Orlando is, by even mid-sized city standards, on life support - not dead certainly but not doing well either.

For god's sake, it has been known in the urban planning world for decades that one-way streets kill downtowns but what does Orlando do this week? Change another downtown street to one way - freaking unbelievable.

There are zero shopping or recreation opportunities in downtown Orlando and none are planned for the near future.

Save for a couple of pizza joints and wine bars there is effectively no dinning in downtown.

Virtually no new office space has been built in downtown in the last ten years. Even the ten floors Dynatech is building for themselves is just a relocation from another downtown site. So just where downtown are all of these thousands of condo dwellers supposedly working such that they really aren't driving out into the suburbs to go to work?

The majority of people actually buying condos downtown to live in are out-of-state relocators and retirees - albeit of a younger variety than say, Baptist Towers. Yes, of course prices will go down and then the same people who now rent at ArchStone and drive in to the burbs to work will be able to rent downtown and drive into the burbs.

What the person above who appears to "be from" Knoxville failed to point out is that among the things that I listed, the University of Tennessee and its 30,000 students alone gives a place like Knoxville the vitality a downtown needs - a large population actually living and working [or going to school] downtown who also eat, drink, and play downtown. And by the way, I have been to Knoxville about three times in the last two years so I have some very recent experience as to what Knoxville is like having well, experienced it myself...

What's amazing to me is that there are still those boosters who, with all of the empirical evidence at their disposal, still refuse to see this recent condo boom as anything but the mostly hollow shell based on amateur speculation that it is. Rather than face reality they criticize the Sentinel for simply reporting the facts and for not joining them in their cognitive dissonance. I will say it again - a handful of owner occupied $400-500/SF condos cannot turn around an entire downtown core.

Where are the businesses? Travelers just vacated 12 floors downtown for a new building in Baldwin Park. EA used downtown to leverage better terms in Maitland [or was it Altamonte?]. The only new traditional office building built in the last ten years [Dynatech] is a downtown relocation and the office-condos in the Plaza house fewer workers per square foot than traditional corporations which translates into fewer people occupying the building.

Hey, the condo boom was a start albeit a small one. And the downtown Publix is certainly a good sign. Give it another 20-25 years and another mini boom or two and downtown Orlando might begin to have something, but forgive me if I still find some of the more flamboyant giddiness and self-flagellation and speculation a bit humorous.

I still wouldn't hold out much hope for a high quality and diverse first-run downtown theater anytime soon but I personally would love to be proven wrong and if so will be the first one to admit it.

Cheers.

A couple of thoughts on the stats being bandied about: first, if AMC's research and development is so great, why did both AMC and the company that bought it a couple of years back, Loews, both go into bankruptcy protection from vastly overbuilding theaters back around 2000? Probably not the best example of wise business acumen. Second, all those kids you were dissing downtown represent the market for multiplexes- Hollywood stays alive because of teenagers, not because of we sophisticates who like indy films at Enzian.

To the extent that Knoxville has UT, that is an excellent draw for the city and one I wish Orlando had. Imagine if our city fathers had decided, like Birmingham did, to build up UAB in its urban location rather than putting FTU (now UCF) out in what was then the boonies (there were a variety of reasons they did so that I won't pursue here, but just imagine if Martin Andersen, who had I4 rerouted through downtown to save it - exactly the opposite happened - had realized that a college campus downtown really would have kept downtown from dying for 20 years.

Having said that, Knox County has, at last count, a population of about 415,000, which is about 40% of the population of Orange County (not to mention all the tourists here adding to the economy every day). As a result, just the services of the various governments, especially the county but also state and federal, gives downtown a base Knox County can only envy. The downtown neighborhoods to the east and north of downtown Orlando also are a gem we often forget- very few cities preserved so many established neighborhoods so close to the urban core. In addition to Dynetech, HDSupply still maintains a vital prsence in the core (Hughes was a Fortune 500 company before the purchase and those people didn't all decamp to Atlanta overnight, they had no time to). Also, the #1 business of Orlando for at least the last 30 years has been growth, and all the lawyers, accountants, and other services required to make that growth happen tend to locate downtown. Finally, the campuses of ORMC and FL Hospital and their constant expansions are growth engines Knoxville can only envy - Knoxville has not and is not growing at anything approaching the rate of Orange County. Nor is East Tennessee growing at anything approaching the rate of central Florida.

It's funny as a former employee of TN state government who lived in Nashville (whose growth puts Knoxville's to shame), that back in the mid-80s the Nashville Chamber used Orlando as the example of the growth they wanted to emulate, even as Nashville's downtown still had retail and tourism thanks to state government and the music business. At the time, there was zero housing in downtown Nashville. They, like us, have gone on to see a wave of high-rise residential construction even as retail abandoned the core for outlying malls (always remember, retail follows growth, it never anticipates it - it is a "lagging" growth indicator).

So, just like Four Corners, we are now seeing retail just beginning to pop up. First comes basic needs, like dry cleaners, hairdressers, restaurants. Next up are a grocer and maybe, maybe not a movie theater. Beyond that, it would help if the DDB would engage a name developer to lure "mall" retail downtown. It is funny what a herd mentality retail is. People forget that Florida Mall opened with a Sears, a Penneys and a Belks. The way upscale retail came was almost a joke. During the 80s there were an influx of Brazilian tour groups because of a temporary surge in the Brazilian economy. FL Mall, quite by accident, was the mall they visited because it was closest to the tourist core, and despite the lack of what we Americans perceived as name retailing, they spent money left and right like it was going out of style (in fact, it was; Brazil, like much of South America, had a bust not too long after that dried up much of that spending).

Meanwhile, the folks who worked for Ivey's (our local department store), noticed this, and some of them migrated over to sister store Saks when the two chains were separated in the early '90s. They told what they knew about how FL Mall had very quietly racked up amazing sales/sq feet nad what an opportunity it was. As a result, our first luxury department store was Saks at Florida Mall. The rest, as they say, is history (a lot more but I won't bore you with it here).

I have lived in Orlando, Atlanta and Nashville as each encountered waves of boom and bust. Each had the necessary ingredients and the leadership to move forward when the time came around again to grow. Orlando will be no different. Also, each of our earlier condo towers fared badly when first built. Each went on after a workout phase to do just fine. I expect the same to happen in this round, it will just take longer because there's more product coming online this time.

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A couple of thoughts on the stats being bandied about: first, if AMC's research and development is so great, why did both AMC and the company that bought it a couple of years back, Loews, both go into bankruptcy protection from vastly overbuilding theaters back around 2000? Probably not the best example of wise business acumen. Second, all those kids you were dissing downtown represent the market for multiplexes- Hollywood stays alive because of teenagers, not because of we sophisticates who like indy films at Enzian.

AMC

Edited by Camillo Sitte
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Camillo you are clueless. End of disscusion

Why are you making this personal? I have kept my comments strictly to the content of the posts, not the person.

Is it because you are unable to thoughtfully and cogently address my argument thus you resort to ad hominem attacks?

You are certainly entitled to your opinions but I will happily put my education and professional experience in Architecture, urban design, and regional and community planning up against your armchair boosterism any day of the week.

While my opinions are certainly not resistant to critique just because of my rather lengthy vitae, my posts here and my thoughts are the result of 20-years of having formally studied, designed, and built the very things that you are speculating about.

You will have to forgive me if I don't pop a woody every time someone here mentions some six story infill project or every time a new super Wal-Mart opens in the metro area.

I guess it is pretty easy to tell that I have never been a fan of the circle jerk. ;)

I hope everyone has a relaxing weekend. Cheers.

Edited by Camillo Sitte
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Do you say this because you feel that only your opinions and those opinions that agree with yours should be aired here?

Is this an echo chamber where some are afraid of ideas contrary to their own?

That's it. You got me. :thumbsup:

I will strive in the future to match your level of humility when responding to those who have differing opinions than my own.

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Why are one-way streets considered by many to be poor urban planning? I've read that opinion elsewhere, but have never seen an explanation.

And I read that the city was switching a street to one-way, but never read why? Anyone know?

There are several reasons why one-way streets in downtown cores are a bad idea.

If what one wants is to move as much traffic as quickly as possible through a basic Cartesian grid system - such as a typical American downtown core - then one-way streets are great as they clearly enhance moving large amounts of vehicular traffic quickly into and out of a specific area.

This becomes something of a problem however if what you are trying to do is to attract people to come into the core area and stay. In that case one-way streets make circumnavigation within the core much more difficult and much less efficient.

The widespread use of one-way traffic systems within downtown core areas came about during the urban flight of the 60

Edited by Camillo Sitte
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There are several reasons why one-way streets in downtown cores are a bad idea.

If what one wants is to move as much traffic as quickly as possible through a basic Cartesian grid system - such as a typical American downtown core - then one-way streets are great as they clearly enhance moving large amounts of vehicular traffic quickly into and out of a specific area.

This becomes something of a problem however if what you are trying to do is to attract people to come into the core area and stay. In that case one-way streets make circumnavigation within the core much more difficult and much less efficient.

The widespread use of one-way traffic systems within downtown core areas came about during the urban flight of the 60

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Pine was already a one-way street headed East

This is true but I was referring more to the failed opportunity to return the street to two-way which is what the Cambridge Group's strategy recommended. Making Pine two-way would facilitate moving much more easily around the surrounding area, including the Plaza area.

When the City's own highly paid consultants recommend doing away with one-way streets altogether it is curious at best that the City would make another one-way street, even if only to change that street's direction.

I agree about Church. Wasn't it something like two years ago that Dyer announced that the city would stop closing the street off in the Sun Bank area at night? Wonder what happened to that plan. Does Chillers [or whatever] have that much clout?

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Consultants are important, you do have to have them. But remember it was also consultants who gave us the slash and burn urban renewals of the 1960's so they are not always right, either. More importantly, however, is that long after the consultants have left town, the businesses and citizens have to live with what they wrought. My guess on Pine St. is that the law offices, Cameron Kuhn (he bought the old Baptist education bldg at the corner of Pine and Court where Mad Cow is) and Downtown Baptist liked their on-street parking, and for such a small street it wasn't a battle the City felt it needed to fight. I would tend to agree.

Church Street closing at night up by Orange Avenue was a political question that includes Mr. Mulvaney (who, rumor has it, is making noise about running against Buddy again), and, much higher up the food chain, Manny Garcia, Phil Rampy, et al, who want Church St. closed at night so they can do valet parking in front of Kres. My guess is they have the clout to keep that part of Church St. just the way it is for the foreseeable future. I assume they may have to lose that little luxury once the new arena proceeds, but they are heavy hitters downtown and they may be able to keep Church St. from staying open at night. If they do, there's no doubt that will be a major battle in a few years.

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Office buildings in the last ten years in downtown Orlando...

CNL I & II

Premiere Trade Plaza North & South

Capital Plaza II

Lincoln Plaza

plus your Dynetech that you mentioned

I wanted to correct you on your Pine Street statement, but someone already did

And EA wasn't just trying to get better rates in Maitland. They were actually trying to use Maitland to get better rates downtown. They couldn't afford what they wanted downtown. They went back to Maitland and were a little late, because Schwab is now expanding in that space. I'm pretty sure EA just screwed themselves.

and Latin is a dead language. Why don't you just write in Sanskrit? Or Egyptian? Or Swahili?

Oh wait, you write in Latin to try to make yourself feel better than others on this board that didn't study Latin (or that don't care to use it). Maybe I should use Japanese to alienate others... hmmm.... what would be the point of that other than to boost my own ego?

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Why are one-way streets considered by many to be poor urban planning? I've read that opinion elsewhere, but have never seen an explanation.

And I read that the city was switching a street to one-way, but never read why? Anyone know?

Just about every street in Manhattan and Boston are one way and as we all know, those are dead cities. :silly:

Edited by FrigginGr8est
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Office buildings in the last ten years in downtown Orlando...

CNL I & II

Premiere Trade Plaza North & South

Capital Plaza II

Lincoln Plaza

plus your Dynetech that you mentioned

I wanted to correct you on your Pine Street statement, but someone already did

And EA wasn't just trying to get better rates in Maitland. They were actually trying to use Maitland to get better rates downtown. They couldn't afford what they wanted downtown. They went back to Maitland and were a little late, because Schwab is now expanding in that space. I'm pretty sure EA just screwed themselves.

and Latin is a dead language. Why don't you just write in Sanskrit? Or Egyptian? Or Swahili?

Oh wait, you write in Latin to try to make yourself feel better than others on this board that didn't study Latin (or that don't care to use it). Maybe I should use Japanese to alienate others... hmmm.... what would be the point of that other than to boost my own ego?

I must admit that I find myself a bit nonplused.

Unless the posters making these personal attacks are children [either mentally or biologically] playing on their parent's computer such attacks seem odd, out of place. I would have to think one could get more real personal satisfaction by locking themselves in the bathroom and rubbing one out. :dunno:

First, as regards new office space you maywant to go back and read what I wrote which was, "virtually no new space has been created". That means that, relative to the downtown core as a whole, very little new space has been added in the last 10 years, simple fact.

CNL I was a consolidation of what was previously several CNL offices spread out across Orlando - there really wasn't very much if any new, leasable space created. CNL II is much the same - mostly expansion space for CNL.

I also mentioned the Plaza specifically; pointing out that it was mostly if not completely office condos which is a completely different animal from traditional, leasable office space.

Dynatech will also be another largely relocation from within the downtown core, not much of a net gain.

The issue with Pine Street isn't the change of direction in one-way service as I explained but rather that it wasn't made a two-way street per the city's consultant's recommendations.

Yes, I occasionally use Latin words or phrases because sometimes that is the simplest, most concise and accurate was of expressing a thought or idea. Why spend twenty words to define an instance of an ad hominem attack when the Latin itself precisely and concisely conveys the point.

Just as one

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Just about every street in Manhattan and Boston are one way and as we all know, those are dead cities. :silly:

You are missing the point IMHO and using two of the densest cities in the U.S., which also have two of the best mass transportation systems to make your augment is seriously flawed methodology.

First, I do not necessarily advocate personally for all of the points of the paradigm shift within current urban planning circles

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Consultants are important, you do have to have them. But remember it was also consultants who gave us the slash and burn urban renewals of the 1960's so they are not always right, either. More importantly, however, is that long after the consultants have left town, the businesses and citizens have to live with what they wrought.

I agree 100%.

I make about twice as much from my consultancy firm as I do from my Architecture practice. ;)

As I said in another post, I am not necessarily advocating for all of the Cambridge Groups' recommendations but they are a known entity and the City likely knew, at least roughly, the type of recommendations that they would be getting. Given this it just seems a bit odd that they would eschew those proposals and do the exact opposite.

The fact remains though that a one-way street system works best at getting people quickly into and out of a downtown core whereas two-way systems work better at keeping people and businesses downtown. This is really a quasi-biological fact [analogous to the human circulatory system] as opposed to a fashionable theory.

My guess on Pine St. is that the law offices, Cameron Kuhn (he bought the old Baptist education bldg at the corner of Pine and Court where Mad Cow is) and Downtown Baptist liked their on-street parking, and for such a small street it wasn't a battle the City felt it needed to fight. I would tend to agree.

Church Street closing at night up by Orange Avenue was a political question that includes Mr. Mulvaney (who, rumor has it, is making noise about running against Buddy again), and, much higher up the food chain, Manny Garcia, Phil Rampy, et al, who want Church St. closed at night so they can do valet parking in front of Kres. My guess is they have the clout to keep that part of Church St. just the way it is for the foreseeable future. I assume they may have to lose that little luxury once the new arena proceeds, but they are heavy hitters downtown and they may be able to keep Church St. from staying open at night. If they do, there's no doubt that will be a major battle in a few years.

Oh, I think you are right. My "question" about why Church Street remains closed at night was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek given the very public and well known animosity between Dyer and Mulvaney. I would have thought that Dyer would have jumped on any opportunity to stick it to Mulvaney.

Cheers.

:dunno: Whatever you say man...

Trenchant, very. :ermm:

Edited by Camillo Sitte
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listening to camillo, you'd think knoxville is an urban utopia and orlando is peoria w/ roller coasters. Have you actually been to the downtowns of similar sized metros? I'm pretty sure all of us have, and I can honestly say orlando already has a vibrant core, and it's only going to get better. Did you forget Orlando has Thornton Park, as well as other very well maintained neighborhoods surrounding downtown (something most downtowns lack)? Lake Eola? A thriving urban park smack dab in the middle of the city that is always packed with pedestrians? A nightlife that is so popular they have to close down the streets occaisonally to handle the foot traffic? Plenty of dining for nearly any budget (Hue, Kress, Dexters, Fi Fis, tons of smaller joints)? Have you noticed that most downtowns in other cities aren't nearly as well kept as Orlando's manicured trees and decorative lighting? Just walking around downtown orlando, it feels more pedestrian friendly & livable than ANY OTHER DOWNTOWN IN FLORIDA, Miami included.

Now, all of this exists in downtown orlando without a critical mass of permanent residents, and a lack of general amenities. Look at what's coming online in just the next 5 years... a world class PAC, a new events center completely surrounded by retail, church street revitalization, creative village, commuter rail, not to mention the condo's that are already completed or near completion that WILL eventually fill with residents. There are plenty of major cities that would only dream to have the growth that downtown orlando is experiencing.

You are so full of it to think it will take 10-20 years for orlando to catch up to friggin KNOXVILLE, when it's already worlds ahead of that stagnant city that half the US probably wouldn't even recognize.

Your problem, camillo, is that you're basing the success (or lackthereof) of downtown orlando on the lackluster reception of the recent condo boom. It doesn't take an expert economist to undestand that thousands $500 sq/ft 1-2 bedroom condos aren't going to fill up overnight. Especially w/ orlando's low wage economy. Fret not, the market will correct itself and as orlando continues to gentrify and be a good place to do business (#1 small biz market in the country?), things will only get better. We're just now beginning to see these condo's come to completion, and with the real estate market in the shape it's in right now, of course people will be hesitant to buy (nobody wants to see their investment lose 50% of its value in less than 6 months).

Give downtown orlando 5 years, and I can honestly say it will be the envy of all the other cities in Florida... and in camillo's eyes, we might even become knoxville status.

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I can't help but picture this guy when reading Camillo's increasingly bombastic arguments.

200px-Matrix_architectsittingandchatting.gif

"I am the Architect. I created the Matrix. I have been waiting for you. You have many questions and although the process has altered your consciousness you remain irrevocably human, ergo some of my answers you will understand and some of them you will not. Concordantly, while your first question maybe the most pertinent you may or may not realize it is also the most irrelevant."

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You are missing the point IMHO and using two of the densest cities in the U.S., which also have two of the best mass transportation systems to make your augment is seriously flawed methodology.

First, I do not necessarily advocate personally for all of the points of the paradigm shift within current urban planning circles

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