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GRDadof3

Pedestrian Traffic Downtown

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It's funny that someone mentioned Monroe Center again regarding retailing, but I was out today around 1:30 PM and was SHOCKED by the pedestrian traffic. In case there are any small business owners lurking around here and looking to open a retail shop, you just can't ignore downtown. It is so hard to represent it in photos, but I tried:

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I think that amount of traffic will only increase too, considering the increased retail activity and housing going on. Its exciting to see our downtown grow like this, especially when many other cities are sitting stagnant.

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I'd like to see people of all types downtown and going to the new bookstore, I am in fear of seeing just a bunch of scary hippies!

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I'd like to see people of all types downtown and going to the new bookstore,  I am in fear of seeing just a bunch of scary hippies!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Don't worry, they'll never make it far past Eastown. ;)

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I'd like to see people of all types downtown and going to the new bookstore,  I am in fear of seeing just a bunch of scary hippies!

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Hey, what's wrong with hippies. It wouldn't be bad to have circles of hippies sitting on the sidewalks strumming guitars, now would it? As long as they were employed ;)

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As long as they were employed ;)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, and I'm the pope. Just kidding :) More people playing music in the street would be kinda cool though, as long as they weren't obnoxious.

The bookstore will be a big help. I think there is decent nightlife currently in GR (there could always be more), so I hope the bookstore will generate more traffic downtown during off-times: Weekends during the day, non-rush hours, etc.

As Joe said "A catalyst? No. But another piece of the puzzle!" Every piece brings us closer to completing the picture.

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"Don't worry, they'll never make it far past Eastown. ;)"

Easy, there! Some of us have Vespas; we ride regularly into downtown!

What's it going to take to get women's clothing retailers downtown? Apart from what's offered by Little Bohemia and that ghastly resort-ish stuff in the hotel, there's nothing. Are retailers waiting for the critical mass of shoppers to move into downtown? It's already happening; so what's the delay?

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"Don't worry, they'll never make it far past Eastown.  ;)"

Easy, there! Some of us have Vespas; we ride regularly into downtown!

What's it going to take to get women's clothing retailers downtown? Apart from what's offered by Little Bohemia and that ghastly resort-ish stuff in the hotel, there's nothing.  Are retailers waiting for the critical mass of shoppers to move into downtown? It's already happening; so what's the delay?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think they want to wait and see how tall the new developments go, plus I know someone posted a blurb in an article saying Chicago and Detroit based retailers are eyeing the downtown Grand Rapids Market with new intensity.

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I think they want to wait and see how tall the new developments go, plus I know someone posted a blurb in an article saying Chicago and Detroit based retailers are eyeing the downtown Grand Rapids Market with new intensity.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Some of the more conservative retailers will probably wait and see if they prosper. If they (and I think they will, some of them already are)do then hopefully we'll see lots of attention paid by all sorts of retailers. :)

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It's funny that someone mentioned Monroe Center again regarding retailing, but I was out today around 1:30 PM and was SHOCKED by the pedestrian traffic. In case there are any small business owners lurking around here and looking to open a retail shop, you just can't ignore downtown.

This has been my general observation as well. And with a huge addition of residences and hotel rooms coming, one would only expect the number of persons walking downtown to dramatically increase. That's why it is so hard to believe that Hernker Jewelers is leaving. I wonder if it's not too late for them to reconsider and stay...

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I think they want to wait and see how tall the new developments go, plus I know someone posted a blurb in an article saying Chicago and Detroit based retailers are eyeing the downtown Grand Rapids Market with new intensity.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If I am thinking of the same article, I believe it said that they were looking at West Michigan in general. Hopefully I'm wrong, because retail is what downtown desperately needs. Do you have a copy of the article, by chance?

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If I am thinking of the same article, I believe it said that they were looking at West Michigan in general.  Hopefully I'm wrong, because retail is what downtown desperately needs.  Do you have a copy of the article, by chance?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Downtown is due for a food store. With the amount of residential property comming to market, it will be more of a demand than a convenience. I hope it wont be a big box grocery. Although Jewel had it right in chicago when they downsized their presence and took on a "neiborhood market" approach.

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Downtown is due for a food store. With the amount of residential property comming to market, it will be more of a demand than a convenience. I hope it wont be a big box grocery. Although Jewel had it right in chicago when they downsized their presence and took on a "neiborhood market" approach.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I believe "Grand Market" in the Front Row Condominiums development will help fill that need. It sounds like it will carry a fair amount of food items, as well as common items needed for everyday living. If done correctly, this will be a great asset for downtown.

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If I am thinking of the same article, I believe it said that they were looking at West Michigan in general.  Hopefully I'm wrong, because retail is what downtown desperately needs.  Do you have a copy of the article, by chance?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here was the quote, from the latest GRBJ:

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Downtown is still largely in the pioneering-and-speculating phase of development. It's getting closer to the right "critical mass" necessary to become a self-sustaining market, but it's still emerging from its first phase of growth. A new phase of business development downtown will likely follow as the market is proven to be robust and mature by the projects presently on the table. Hopefully GR will play its cards better than Ann Arbor, where high prices have driven long-standing interesting local businesses away and created some very boring blocks indeed.

The nice thing is that the development isn't all single-use speculation [like Austin's office boom/bust in the 1980s] but a truly layered mix reflecting the diversity of GR's businesses and residents. The downtown condo market is skewed toward the rich, but developments nearby offset that somewhat. But there's a lot of variety in the planned/built projects, and that is exactly what the area needs.

I think the development overview in the press, posted elsewhere on this forum, serves as a good indication of the state of downtown: it's looking good now, but it's going to be very different in a few years. Since it's a downtown it won't be as susceptible to gas price pressures, which might insulate it from some of the problems the outer areas will face in the future. As soon as the "cautious" businesses and residents see downtown as a safe bet, the market will again evolve.

Foot traffic will follow.

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