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CLT2010

Business Idea

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I have been reading this forum and skyscraperpage for along time. One of the big complaints i've heard throughout the forums and from people in general is Charlotte ground floors downtown aren't setup for retail for the most part. It seems to me that lots of the buildings have under utilized ground floors that are just lobbys. I was wondering if you think that a company could make it that would go back to places like One Wachovia and remodel the bottom floors for street level retail parcels that could range depending on what company you could get to commit to the space. It just seems to me that no one wants to work on the first floor anyway so that would eliminate that. This would allow for a vibrant downtown with lots of street level activity that the cities wanted anyway. I would view it as going back and fixing the past where people didnt realize that downtown should be anything other than a work place. I no there a lot of kinks in the idea and its far from being anything. I just wander if anyone thought the idea was viable or not. Thanks.

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I have been reading this forum and skyscraperpage for along time. One of the big complaints i've heard throughout the forums and from people in general is Charlotte ground floors downtown aren't setup for retail for the most part. It seems to me that lots of the buildings have under utilized ground floors that are just lobbys. I was wondering if you think that a company could make it that would go back to places like One Wachovia and remodel the bottom floors for street level retail parcels that could range depending on what company you could get to commit to the space. It just seems to me that no one wants to work on the first floor anyway so that would eliminate that. This would allow for a vibrant downtown with lots of street level activity that the cities wanted anyway. I would view it as going back and fixing the past where people didnt realize that downtown should be anything other than a work place. I no there a lot of kinks in the idea and its far from being anything. I just wander if anyone thought the idea was viable or not. Thanks.

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I have always wondered why they don't do this as it is an opportunity missed. In some of the cases, they could just glass in some areas and add utilities and you have an instant street front store.

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Just a guess, but I'd imagine that the people capable of making such decisions are more occupied with other bottom-line issues (on a global scale, in the case of the banks). This is, perhaps, where it hurts the city to have such a dependence on international corporations. They pitch in a LOT on things like museums and sponsorships (where they get tax breaks), but bringing retail to the center city is probably pretty far down their list of priorities.

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Just a guess, but I'd imagine that the people capable of making such decisions are more occupied with other bottom-line issues (on a global scale, in the case of the banks). This is, perhaps, where it hurts the city to have such a dependence on international corporations. They pitch in a LOT on things like museums and sponsorships (where they get tax breaks), but bringing retail to the center city is probably pretty far down their list of priorities.

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Yah I still say though that no one wants to be in the bottom floor of a big office building downtown, its hard to concentrate. Like Metro said it would be so easy to glass out an area in the plaza floor and add a entrance from the street and that would be all. Yes though I see my Idea is far from becoming a reality but I think in the long run its more profitable and better for the center city.

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What types of retail do you think would work best? The example you gave of One Wachovia was just remodeled into a Wachovia Securities branch with street level access. If you go around to the other side of One Wachovia there is Fujo, the Chinese restarant with street level access. What would you like to do with the space that is there?

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There are also significant security issues involved in putting stores on the bottom level of a skyscraper. The status quo is to have a huge, open-air lobby with guards and cameras covering every sightline. I would imagine that things would get much more complicated if you started sub-dividing things and encouraging through traffic, loitering, etc.

Not that this is a sufficient reason not to do it, but probably a factor that weighs in against any ambitious retail plans.

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I think all the time, when walking past boring ground floors to buildings on how you go about putting in a store front. It is part of why I was so excited to see the Modern Furniture in a very odd excess space of the parking deck at 4th and Church. There are so many random parts of parking decks which face the street and simply have yellow diagonal lines on them - completely wasted space that might be a good permanent hot-dog stand or newstand or whatever.

I think the fundamental problem with this business idea is that there is not enough of a universal pedestrian market for retail goods in the areas UP would like to convert, and the property is owned by organizations that would rather stick in the status quo that to try to participate in urban liveability experiments.

I think it is more just a matter of supporting street retail that is there, having conversations with decision makers to either extend hours of current places or to open doors of current places to the streets. I think there will be enough of an example set by Independence Center, and Ivey's and a few others to indicate that there is business value in opening retail to the street.

I just hope that the retail market can surpass the parking market, when we could expect parking spaces in countless decks (especially Church and College streets) to remove currently viable parking spaces for street facing retail. There are loads of places that this would be very very simple to do, but simply is a case of being a money loser.

But as much as I would wish it could succeed and I like the idea, there is just not enough market to start a business doing this, unless you are putting up capital to actually take the risk yourself and buying the space. The current owners of the space could do it if they wanted, they just either don't want to, or can't justify the cost.

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Yeah thanks everybody for responding. Yah dubone thats how I thought it just walking by all the wasted space downtown and thinking how someone should help change it so that one day there would be retail throughout the ground floors of downtown. Thanks again though I was glad to here everyones opinion.

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