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tsuga

what population supports retail?

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Does anyone know how many people need to be within a quarter mile to support different walkable retail???

Thanks! :)

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Heck I like the answer to this question because know-it-alls back home seem to think you need half a million people in a square mile to even think about bringing retail back downtown or to those areas that need it. No one's been able to answer it, just, "This is how it is and will always be, so either be patient or it's not meant to be." I believe they can make anything work if they wanted. People will come if there is a need for whatever and good marketing and easy access helps. You don't necessarily HAVE to have 25,000 people in a city block to build a corner store or something. Maybe I'm just stupid like I've been made to feel so, so many times by the know-it-alls. Some people just need to step out the conventional litterbox.

So if you get a real answer, let me know. Or maybe Richmond is just that backwards or classist.

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Describe "walkable". Describe "retail" - are we talking department stores? Small stores? Food? Services? Better yet, even, describe "successful". The small market located in a community where few people can afford a car is far more likely to be successful than a small market in a highly dense suburb but that has a big superkmarket down the street.

Anotherwords, loaded question. There's more to it - how easy is it to get around by foot - how about street crosssings and neighborhood safety? You have to figure in climate, how desparately the community needs a particular service, and how affluent the community is or how likely they would be to use a store like that.

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Describe "walkable". Describe "retail" - are we talking department stores? Small stores? Food? Services? Better yet, even, describe "successful". The small market located in a community where few people can afford a car is far more likely to be successful than a small market in a highly dense suburb but that has a big superkmarket down the street.

Anotherwords, loaded question. There's more to it - how easy is it to get around by foot - how about street crosssings and neighborhood safety? You have to figure in climate, how desparately the community needs a particular service, and how affluent the community is or how likely they would be to use a store like that.

I am thinking of a community that is middle class, already walkable but with no retail nearby, very safe and easy safe street crossings, and its cold in the winter and beautiful in the summer. I think the community in the area Im thinking would be more prone to walk to small retail if given the oppertunity. Im not sure what kind of retail is needed though...ice cream shop...dry cleaner...

thanks

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great question, I'd love some experienced answers on this as well. I would think that any retail would be forced to look at the competition (malls, open air malls, factory outlets, shopping strips, etc.) in their area or proximity. You also need to look at wether that nice neighborhood is mostly halfway to everywhere but still secluded some for walkability. Most retailers and developers are looking for ONE location to serve multiple communities, not one or two locations to serve only a neighborhood. Then again there is starbucks :P

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In Richmond, Starbucks is afraid of black people... none on that side of town. On the other side... tons of them and like stores. Guess they don't drink coffee...

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Every store usually has a different set of rules, although ironically one thing most larger retail chains do is look for certain OTHER chains. Thus you will often find a Staples within a mile or so of a Pet Smart. That's just how the development office thinks.

I don't think there is any one answer. For instance, if the area is mostly residential and walkable, how easy is it to drive? Are they near a highway?, and if so are they just as likely to drive somewhere else? Also, are we talking a Coffee Shop, or are we talking a music store, or what? Unfortunately the number of people nearby is only one part of that equation - the shopping tendencies, what age group, income brackets, types of retail already available also play as large a part.

If you are looking to start up a core area, you usually need to start with small independent shops. These entrepreneurs look at what is needed and what they can deliver. Do you have any more details?

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good points cloudship.

Cadeho, that is strange about starbucks given their seeming omnipresence, though I have noticed the same thing, seems they start up in areas that are affluent or trendy, then again that has been a systemic problem with many of the retailing companies. As far as them not drinking coffee, you had a point 50 years ago, today though many african americans have the option of staying and making their neighborhood better or leaving for newer developments. I think more then a race factor it is a crime and sales factor. No matter what color they are the poor don't really have time for $5 coffee, nor the pomp that it sometimes takes to "fit in" at a typical Starbucks. Main reason I have never been in one yet, I'm as much as a dirt under the fingernails guy as I am a techie :P.

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In Richmond, Starbucks is afraid of black people... none on that side of town. On the other side... tons of them and like stores. Guess they don't drink coffee...
A lot of stores, it seems, are afraid of black people. Even the cheap ones. It's screwed up :(

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Does anyone know how many people need to be within a quarter mile to support different walkable retail???

Thanks! :)

I'm a bit new to the forum, so I'm a bit hesitant to chime in - forgive me if I miss any board etiquette. But I think the earlier responses asking for a bit more detail are appropriate. Really, it depends on the type of use,

Here in Miami, we've been experiencing a resurgence in multi-family hi-rise residential construction near the urban core over the last several years. In an effort to promote mixed use, many of the buildings have provided ground floor retail spaces.

However, there has apparently been considerable difficulty in finding tenants for such spaces, even in areas with several large residential projects in close proximity. Some of that may be business' reluctance to give up the security of the parking lot, which allows them to draw motorist traffic as well. But leasing agents and professionals I've spoken with suggest that tenants also have trouble with the spaces themselves - being in a mixed use building usually comes with more constricted "back of house" space, tighter rules on operation (limiting noise and trash and the like), less access to signage, and some real problems with deliveries.

Albaby

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It's a difficult situation for sure in these new developments. Retailers can afford the rent without a lot of traffic, but the traffic often isn't there because the places are not built out yet or are not designed with enough density to support retail without the automobile.

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I look to Nashville when trying to answer this question. The city is served by 5-6 malls - all on the edge of town. In Downtown there has been an undeniable demand for housing (as the same with Charlotte, NC). Both cities have a fairly compact, walkable downtown area. At some point retail will have to join back in the mix.

One thing that happened in Nashville was a developer snagged a grocery store for his condo tower because he gave them a huge cut on rent. Why? The developer knew he had to deliver an amenity like that along with the condos in order for his development to be successful. Incentives like that will have to be considered if we want to see retail back in our downtowns. Sometimes you have to take a cut in one area to succeed in another.

I think more developers need to look at creating a community instead of creating a huge profit. (I am not against a profit though - there just needs to be some balance) Let's call it Ethical Development.

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A few factors I can think of:

1. For a dry cleaner and basics like that, doesn't take much; lots of large apartment buildings in NYC have their own dry cleaner and Starbucks, so maybe a few thousand people at most? Office workers can support that type of retail as well.

2. For mall-type retail, such as a Gap and department stores, I always thought that mall developers want 250,000 people in a trade area to support a mall. Yet mall-type retail in downtown areas seems to depend more on competition and the condition of the downtown area rather than surrounding residential/office population. No matter how many people live nearby, and no matter how large the office workforce nearby is, if there is a strong mall within driving distance, and if the downtown area isn't especially attractive or distinctive, the downtown retail will flop. Look at downtown Columbia, SC and downtown Atlanta, GA; both have pretty large residential/office populations nearby but mall-type retail has flopped in both. Yet downtown Greenville, SC has far smaller residential/office populations nearby yet does pretty well, with some mall-type stores although mostly locally-owned and local chain stores.

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A general rule of thumb for retail is that it's good to have 26-52 SF per housing unit. Of course, as an average, America has over 100 SF per unit. Overbuilt suburban retail is likely the reason for that.

But anyway, to support a 2,000 SF corner store you only need 40-75 residential units.

Of course this formula says nothing about the types of retail that your units can support. 40-75 units are less likely to support a 2,000 SF exclusive clothing boutique.

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i dont know how many people you need but atlanta is getting midtown mile thats to be completed in 2 years itgs supposed to resemble chicagos michagan ave we also getting streets of buckhead

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theres nothing to doubt my man its happening and its in progress right now atlanta is about to see major retail in midtown atlanta and in buck head streets of buckhead will be complete in 2009 and midtown mile will be complete in 2010 you can read about them its very much true

Replicating Chicago's "Magnificent Mile" would be nearly impossible to do without it happening organically. You can't just build it and assume folks will come. Within just a few blocks of Chicago's Magificent Mile you have thousands of luxury condos and apartments, tens of thousands of office works, etc. Not to mention Chicago has made a huge name for itself as a tourist destination with the lake, park system, architecture, conventions, etc.

I certainly hope Atlanta can offer something as grand as Chicago's Magnificent Mile but I honestly don't expect it to be recreated in Atlanta, no matter how much money and development is pumped into it. Chicago has had decades to build up its popularity and nourish the surrounding area to compliment its premium shopping district. It just isn't something that can be recreated overnight.

Even as we speak Chicago is having a tough time with stores along the well known shopping district. Since I moved from there (note that I lived two streets west of Michigan Ave. in the Water Tower area) in 2002 I have heard of many stores closing up shop. If Chicago is having a hard time I can assure you cities like Atlanta will have the same problems, especially if they're trying to lure retailers in for the first time in a market that hasn't solidified.

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There are various population thresholds - but I think a lot of it is simply chance. Even more of it depends on the demographic of the surrounding population & connectivity of where the retail would be. Lastly, if it is just as easy & just as quick to drive someplace that offers the same service as a place that would require walking to - most people would choose to drive.

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