Nathan_in_DC

A Downtown Department Store

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The closest department store to downtown has been at Green Hills ever since Caster-Knott closed back in the mid 90s.

 

Will Nashville ever see another downtown grand department store again? Other cities are able to maintain them; even Norfolk, VA has a couple in the form of Dillards and Nordstrom in the relatively high-end MacArthur Center mall. And the famous former-Wannamaker's-now-Macy's in Philadelphia is a testament that a city can sustain a department store even after most of the rest of that type of shopping has fled to the suburbs (it's a bit of a stretch to compare Philadelphia and Nashville, but not quite as much as you'd think).

 

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^If only some enterprising businessperson would relaunch Nashville's own "Harvey's." I remember it fondly from childhood in the '70s through to the early/mid '80s. They had their original store on Church Street, which closed around 1984 and had a satellite store at 100 Oaks, which closed a few years later.

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Harvey's also had a location in Madison Square shopping center and in some surrounding communities in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. The downtown store was special, however, with its carousel horses and toy train. Their slogan was "Harvey's Has It!"

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^If only some enterprising businessperson would relaunch Nashville's own "Harvey's." I remember it fondly from childhood in the '70s through to the early/mid '80s. They had their original store on Church Street, which closed around 1984 and had a satellite store at 100 Oaks, which closed a few years later.

 

I worked there for a year in the late 60's. I remember walking past Cortelia Clark (Grammy winning sidewalk musician) each morning and having lunch at the 'Monkey Bar' with Max who ran the carousel and hearing stories about how he barely escaped the Holocaust in Germany. I appreciate the experience much more now than I did then.

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Harvey's became Peebles which was such a much lower end store and a total downgrade to those locations.  Unfortunately for Nashville, there will not ever be a downtown store again unless we can get an venue like Atlantic Station in Atlanta.   Such a development would possibly be detrimental to Green Hills Mall.

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Harvey's became Peebles which was such a much lower end store and a total downgrade to those locations.  Unfortunately for Nashville, there will not ever be a downtown store again unless we can get an venue like Atlantic Station in Atlanta.   Such a development would possibly be detrimental to Green Hills Mall.

Possibly detrimental. As in, only if it is the type of store that draws people away from that mall. The only anchor I could see doing that is something like Nieman Marcus. Otherwise, I think it will be considered "nice", but not as nice as Green Hills to the vast majority of locals.

My question is, do we want that development, or are we satisfied with suburbia being our primary shopping zone. I THINK we could survive with both...but it then becomes a matter of how we support them. Are Nashvillians wiling to travel downtown to shop (again)?

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Possibly detrimental. As in, only if it is the type of store that draws people away from that mall. The only anchor I could see doing that is something like Nieman Marcus. Otherwise, I think it will be considered "nice", but not as nice as Green Hills to the vast majority of locals.

My question is, do we want that development, or are we satisfied with suburbia being our primary shopping zone. I THINK we could survive with both...but it then becomes a matter of how we support them. Are Nashvillians wiling to travel downtown to shop (again)?

I dont think it has to be either/or. We have enough tourist dollars and shoppers in town every day, that I think any downtown retail could thrive independent of our population base. From my experience, the first thing that tourist look for in town (after entertainment) is shopping. Any shopping done downtown by locals would just be icing on the cake for downtown retail.

IMO, downtown just needs a few places to get things going. Once the market is proven and a "shopping district" established, we get a big anchor (such as Macy's) to move in and it would work like gang busters.

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I dont think it has to be either/or. We have enough tourist dollars and shoppers in town every day, that I think any downtown retail could thrive independent of our population base. From my experience, the first thing that tourist look for in town (after entertainment) is shopping. Any shopping done downtown by locals would just be icing on the cake for downtown retail.

IMO, downtown just needs a few places to get things going. Once the market is proven and a "shopping district" established, we get a big anchor (such as Macy's) to move in and it would work like gang busters.

 

I think that's pretty spot on. With another 5,000 people living in the CBD in the next few years, having a department store option downtown surrounded by smaller boutiques, dry goods, maybe a discount clothing option like TJ Maxx, and grocers, will be a HUGE draw, and won't woefully detract from the business of the suburban shopping sections.

 

You'll still have all the people driving in from the far suburbs and exurbs that will feel more comfortable sticking to the malls, but a large segment of the people living near the CBD will want something closer.

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Possibly detrimental. As in, only if it is the type of store that draws people away from that mall. The only anchor I could see doing that is something like Nieman Marcus. Otherwise, I think it will be considered "nice", but not as nice as Green Hills to the vast majority of locals.

My question is, do we want that development, or are we satisfied with suburbia being our primary shopping zone. I THINK we could survive with both...but it then becomes a matter of how we support them. Are Nashvillians wiling to travel downtown to shop (again)?

Unless it is for a special event, people shop where they live.  A super target (multi-level floors) may not be a bad idea in the right location with decent parking facilities.

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Unless it is for a special event, people shop where they live. A super target (multi-level floors) may not be a bad idea in the right location with decent parking facilities.

IMO, an urban Target would be a smashing success. Besides the ever growing downtown population, you've got to consider East Nashville. The nearest target to east is in Donelson or Hendersonville. It's quite a drive from most points east. Add to that, all of the grocery stores on the east side are piss-poor. Add a decent grocer downtown, and I think it would be a major draw. It certainly would be for my household.

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I hadn't even considered one of the urban Targets. That would be a GREAT boon for the CBD and Gulch if placed in the proper location. I'd envision either North Gulch or between Church and Charlotte near Avon Williams. Force TSU to build a garage to get rid of all that surface parking, and put something there over a garage.

 

If Target was really concerned about flooding the market, they could close the White Bridge location since there's the newer one at Nashville West.

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I hadn't even considered one of the urban Targets. That would be a GREAT boon for the CBD and Gulch if placed in the proper location. I'd envision either North Gulch or between Church and Charlotte near Avon Williams. Force TSU to build a garage to get rid of all that surface parking, and put something there over a garage.

 

 

I agree with eliminating surface parking when possible, but I would hate to hide this building behind a Target for any number of reasons. Chief among them is my opinion that it represents an example of the architectural style unfortunately labeled as brutalism that is actually beautiful and well done. A more appropriate use for that property would be to expand TSU's downtown academic mission.

 

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This looks like Von Maur at Yorktown in Chicago. ( a cross beteen Dillard's and Nordstrom).

 

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I agree with eliminating surface parking when possible, but I would hate to hide this building behind a Target for any number of reasons. Chief among them is my opinion that it represents an example of the architectural style unfortunately labeled as brutalism that is actually beautiful and well done. A more appropriate use for that property would be to expand TSU's downtown academic mission.

 

Avon%20W_zpsowlzzg2x.jpg

 

I could see using it to expand TSU's downtown presence, but I don't think you'd be hiding much of the structure by building on the lots behind the building.

 

Either way, what are some other locations in or near the CBD for a Target (or urban WalMart)?

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I could see using it to expand TSU's downtown presence, but I don't think you'd be hiding much of the structure by building on the lots behind the building.

Either way, what are some other locations in or near the CBD for a Target (or urban WalMart)?

Well, I don't think Walmart would be a good fit in or near the CBD, but Target makes some great urban stores. The NES property in the Gulch comes to mind. If there were a large enough retrofit in the CBD, it would be nice. The east bank would work, but it would be kinda isolated. A certain car lot on Broadway would be ideal!

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Harvey's also had a location in Madison Square shopping center and in some surrounding communities in Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky. The downtown store was special, however, with its carousel horses and toy train. Their slogan was "Harvey's Has It!"

And Cookeville had Harvey's at the *MALL (Mall Asterisk...yeah...it's kind of a mall...back in the day...good times). 

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And Cookeville had Harvey's at the *MALL (Mall Asterisk...yeah...it's kind of a mall...back in the day...good times). 

Clarksville had one too at the plaza, but they only used the first floor. Don't forget the "talking Christmas tree".   It's now a library.

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I seriously doubt downtown shopping districts will see a department store move into or build a new building for a new department store.  If the city you live in has one, you are lucky and you should be shopping there as much as possible.  The big downtown department is a dinosaur.  Cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Philly have them and have the density and tourists to keep them viable.  When malls became the place for shopping, downtown became a place to avoid.  Inconvenient, traffic and paying for parking.  To me, it's kind of ironic that people will go on vacation to cities with large downtown department stores and shop in them.  But, when they go back home, it's back to the malls or whatever they call areas like Providence Place in Mt Juliet.  The density of people living in downtown would have to take a giant leap for department stores to return after they have abandoned  downtown.

For example, Pittsburgh, which is pretty densely populated, has just announced the Kaufmans which became Macy's is closing the last department store in downtown. It was at it's peak a 14 story building with the top 4 floors used as it's offices.  10 stories of shopping.  Slowly, it was downsized until earlier this year Macy's said it would be 4 stories and the rest of the floors would be converted to condos.  Now, the store will be closed and the entire block will be made residential, hotel and office.  Saks 5th Ave which was very close to Macy's closed earlier this year.  That left Macy's. And it will be gone.  We are our own worse enemies and it really is our fault that this has happened.  I use Pittsburgh as an example because it had them and let them go.  When I moved to Charlotte, they had 2 department stores, Belk and Ivy's.  Both were gone in 5 years or so.  Ivy's building is now condo's and the Belk Building was where Bank of America's HQ is now located.  When I moved here the department stores where already gone.  I hold out no hope for a department store to return.

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I seriously doubt downtown shopping districts will see a department store move into or build a new building for a new department store.  If the city you live in has one, you are lucky and you should be shopping there as much as possible.  The big downtown department is a dinosaur.  Cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Philly have them and have the density and tourists to keep them viable.  When malls became the place for shopping, downtown became a place to avoid.  Inconvenient, traffic and paying for parking.  To me, it's kind of ironic that people will go on vacation to cities with large downtown department stores and shop in them.  But, when they go back home, it's back to the malls or whatever they call areas like Providence Place in Mt Juliet.  The density of people living in downtown would have to take a giant leap for department stores to return after they have abandoned  downtown.

For example, Pittsburgh, which is pretty densely populated, has just announced the Kaufmans which became Macy's is closing the last department store in downtown. It was at it's peak a 14 story building with the top 4 floors used as it's offices.  10 stories of shopping.  Slowly, it was downsized until earlier this year Macy's said it would be 4 stories and the rest of the floors would be converted to condos.  Now, the store will be closed and the entire block will be made residential, hotel and office.  Saks 5th Ave which was very close to Macy's closed earlier this year.  That left Macy's. And it will be gone.  We are our own worse enemies and it really is our fault that this has happened.  I use Pittsburgh as an example because it had them and let them go.  When I moved to Charlotte, they had 2 department stores, Belk and Ivy's.  Both were gone in 5 years or so.  Ivy's building is now condo's and the Belk Building was where Bank of America's HQ is now located.  When I moved here the department stores where already gone.  I hold out no hope for a department store to return.

I hate to agree, but I so do agree totally, because that's the painful fact, and while not a blanket philosophy of forfeited virtues, the same applies to transportation to an extent.  Once this region lost all its intercity passenger-train service, it was to return no more, although there only have been few less-than-half-hearted attempts to change that during the last 36 years of no service.  With nearly all the infrastructure removed to physically accommodate the return of such service, arguably it could be sustainable, in terms of demand and patronage (although rarely cost effective, except in dense corridors of ridership).

I hate to agree because in truth it connotes the downtown department store as a DoDo bird of retail commerce.  I have experienced that very irony with shopping in downtown department stores, where they exist, for decades now, most recently this month as a tourist in Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver (the BC one).  When people shoot for boarding in downtowns on their vacations away from home, they tend to not aim for the sprawl malls, as that IMO would not be a vacation per se (unless your tag-along teenage children insist on it and whine you to death).  Portland seems to be capable of maintaining its downtown Nordstroms and Macy's in part because of political and civic measures taken in prudence some time go to breed the return of dense and diverse activity within the core, such as in the Perl, Old Town Chinatown, and South Waterfront Districts (in NW and SE in Portland's core)  South Waterfront happens to have become one of the nation's most dramatic redevelopments of modern times.  The trite maxim "Familiarity breeds content" may or may not test positive for augmentation or just sustaining downtown department stores and urban transportation sub-systems, depending on how the cards get played in the spread during periods of unexpected austerity.  No single element of influence can parameterize the viability and stability of these demand-supported "performance" facilities, but they almost always are interrelated and mutually dependent.  It takes a virtually prohibitive amount of resources to restore something as such, once it;s already been lost.  Chicago's CTA, is (was) an example of how use and level of service can drop to miserable levels for a large urban system, unless external measures are undertaken to address the ecosystem as a whole, particularly with decades of wholesale flight to the 'burbs (and their own department stores).

And an overwhelming majority of medium and relatively large cities seem to have failed to retain at least one downtown department store, and most surviving ones would have been considered on the brink of imminent extinction at least one time or another in the past.  Any department store business become moribund, if it is removed from its "habitat" (or in the case of being a downtown original site, the habitats are removed from it).  This sadly happened less than 15 years ago with one of my favorites in downtown Cleveland (from long ago).  Higbee's, eventually acquired by the ubiquitous Dillard's, finally closed its store for good, in the 40-something Terminal Tower train station (later Tower City).  Of course, Rust-belt cities had befallen with an extreme set of circumstances unlike those of most other domestic regions.  Someone may interject here, but I know of no city in "modern" history which has built a new downtown department store after any and all previously ones had closed.
-==-

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I have been to the Higbees in Cleveland and it was a favorite of mine.  I was living in Akron at the time and would make the hour drive to go there.  I have wondered many times if it survived.  To bad.  It was a great store.

Malls, to me, are boring.  I've told people, blindfold someone and place them in some mall and take there blindfold off and they would have no idea where in the country they were. Yes, there's the Macy's and there's the Dillards.  Oh, this must be the fancy mall, because there is the Nordstroms and Neiman Marcus.  Let them walk outside and they may figure out a geographic region, but that is it.

Horne's in Pittsburgh, became Lazurus and closed the original store and the city threw money at them to build a new store.  This was I believe in the 90's.  Rust belt days were over.  Lord and Taylor, with money from the city, took the old beautiful Mellon Bank building, They gutted all the marble and opulence.  I think Lord and Taylor was purchased by one or the stores already in the city and closed the Lord & Taylor.  The attempts made have failed miserably.  Lazurus, which was a new building with 4 or 5 floors is now condos.  Lord & Taylor building has been purchased by a bank.  Maybe PNC.  Not sure.  There goal is to revive the building to what it once was on the inside. I'm not sure what the plans are beyond that. Reintroducing department stores to downtown doesn't work.

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