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rockhilljames

Ground level retail...overhyped?

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A recent article in Minneapolis' Tribune discusses the large amount of empty ground-level retail at the base of recent condo towers. Read the full article here: http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1149130.html

Given that Charlotte is now adding so many condo tower projects in the center city, what are the chances that we will also see block after block of empty retail space like Minneapolis? Are we putting too much emphasis on the inclusion of ground-level retail in each project?

An interesting point that the article makes is that people will still drive to close in big box retail to save money, and that most condo projects are already within walking distance of shopping districts. As the article points out, there isn't a lot of parking around these condo projects for non-residents, making it hard for those retailers to attract customers. Given that Charlotte's downtown doesn't currently have any shopping districts, should we turn our attention to the creation of successful shopping districts near parking garages (the Epicenter and Trump projects come to mind) that are within walking distance of the residential neighborhoods downtown, or are there ways to help ground-level retail to succeed?

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Well....Minneapolis also has their own overstreet mall network that is very successful. No one walks around the sidewalks 4-months of the year....but I do think it is a fair point. While I think most buildings should include some retail, I think we should be realistic with the level of demand.....as far as people driving out to a big-box to save money, that's really sort of sad and defeats the purpose of urban living (especially with the recent invention of something called "the internet"), but I guess its a reality.

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Why not integrate ground-level retail in some of these condo projects into a retail district or retail nodes?

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Why not integrate ground-level retail in some of these condo projects into a retail district or retail nodes?

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Given that Charlotte is now adding so many condo tower projects in the center city, what are the chances that we will also see block after block of empty retail space like Minneapolis? Are we putting too much emphasis on the inclusion of ground-level retail in each project?..

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I'm not sure they're clustered tightly enough for that. Vue, Avenue, & Trademark are all rather close together, but lack significant retail space outside of restaurant/service-oriented retail.

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At least Minneapolis' walkways have a real reason to be there. The weather sort of dictates it in the winter-time. That being said, I have NO idea as to what Charlotte's leaders of the time were thinking in emulating it.

Closing down Overstreet Mall, while somewhat desirable, probably isn't feasible since it serves such a large portion of our workforce. I just hope that the city's desire to return the focus to the streets themselves keeps going.

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Metro, those pictures are not pictures of an overstreet mall or a method of traversing the city without using the streets. Those skywalks specifically link the 4 full blocks of America's Mart together in Atlanta. The issue there is figuring out how to responsibly design 4 million square feet of convention space into an urban area, either by mixing uses and/or reprogramming large scale convention spaces with relation to the street. ...And those pictures do not show examples of that.

Cinco brings up a good point about synergy and time. Specifically related to the article, there seems to be an assumption that everything is going to happen immediately, residents move into the condo towers and every retail space filled at the same time. This simply doesn't seem to happen without a large scale anchor concerted effort to attract a collection of tenants.

There are ways to allow retail to naturally evolve that should can be explored to avoid long durations of empty spaces. For instance, the new 4 story building on Tremont Street near the design center will initially be all office space. The ground floor, however, has been designed to be accessed from the street, allowing it to eventually be upfit with retail when the market develops.

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I dont think Overstreet Mall should be closed off, I just feel that they should try to annex some outside shops to it. For example: In Boston there is Copley Place & Prudential Center, which are both malls right next to each other downtown...but also there is Newbury St. which is the "5th Avenue" of Boston. Newbury St. isn't too far away from those two malls, and yet somehow it still manages to be succesful. They really do need to get rid of all those buildings with no street level retail in CLT!

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Metro, those pictures are not pictures of an overstreet mall or a method of traversing the city without using the streets.

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I agree with a lot of the above posts. I also see neighborhood-type retail and restaurants coming to the base of those condo towers. I'd think any mall stores coming uptown would come mainly if an Atlantic Station-type development were built, with lots of retail space built for that purpose in one place.

How many people who dislike the Overstreet Mall work and/or live uptown? I know that it takes people off the street, but if I'm running to a meeting and it's pouring rain outside, or if it's 11pm and I'm leaving work but don't want to get into any conversations with the panhandlers on the street, the Overstreet Mall is wonderful.

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The only skyways in Charlotte that make sense to me are the ones that connect Preysby Hospital in Elizabeth, for obvious reasons. The skyways in Uptown are not needed and only detract from increasing street life by funneling everyone above ground. Ground level retail and restaurants that are situated around growing residential nodes can be successful in Charlotte. I was in Gateway Village this weekend and it's encouraging to see the growth of hangout spots and restaurants with people sitting outside,Cedar St.Tavern and TOWN being good examples.

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At least Minneapolist has Nicolette Mall downtown, which is one of the most vibrant retail discricts I know of in a large city.

I dont think Overstreet Mall should be closed off, I just feel that they should try to annex some outside shops to it. For example: In Boston there is Copley Place & Prudential Center, which are both malls right next to each other downtown...but also there is Newbury St. which is the "5th Avenue" of Boston. Newbury St. isn't too far away from those two malls, and yet somehow it still manages to be succesful. They really do need to get rid of all those buildings with no street level retail in CLT!

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A recent article in Minneapolis' Tribune discusses the large amount of empty ground-level retail at the base of recent condo towers. Read the full article here: http://www.startribune.com/535/story/1149130.html

Given that Charlotte is now adding so many condo tower projects in the center city, what are the chances that we will also see block after block of empty retail space like Minneapolis? Are we putting too much emphasis on the inclusion of ground-level retail in each project?

An interesting point that the article makes is that people will still drive to close in big box retail to save money, and that most condo projects are already within walking distance of shopping districts. As the article points out, there isn't a lot of parking around these condo projects for non-residents, making it hard for those retailers to attract customers. Given that Charlotte's downtown doesn't currently have any shopping districts, should we turn our attention to the creation of successful shopping districts near parking garages (the Epicenter and Trump projects come to mind) that are within walking distance of the residential neighborhoods downtown, or are there ways to help ground-level retail to succeed?

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If you want some insight on happenings in the Twin Cities area, check out minnescraper.com. It's more reliable than the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, MPLS. - STPL. Business Journal, etc... You Charlotte people know what I'm talking about.

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Hard to make a judgement based upon one article. I think ground floor retail is a success in many cities around the country--and I've visited several of them... so as Minneapolitan says, it's an incomplete assessment. Of course Minneapolis has something Charlotte will never have--FRIGID winters. That has to be at least a factor in street activity up there. I sure as hell don't want to be outside much if it's zero degrees.

Someone mentioned density too... I think that's key to developing an 18-24 hour environment. In Charlotte, theres the HT in Fourth Ward, so that speaks to the threshold of residents many urban communties look for. Maybe with the other announced projects, you will see more unique retail shops and perhaps another grocer in the Uptown area... then street activity will really take off.

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