Plenty of retailers are doing fine on Second Street. The fact that it isn't working out for every one of them is no condemnation of the urban model. Most small businesses fail (urban or suburban). Plus, the urban/walk-up model is different from the suburban/drive-up model, so it is no surprise that people expecting the latter have a hard time dealing with the former. Personally, I doubt that most of the businesses that are failing on Second would have done better anywhere else. Businesses may come and go, but I think the area will continue to be successful (I don't think we will be seeing many vacant storefronts) and I think it will be substantially better when a few more condo buildings open in the area. The W, AMLI II, Austonian and Altavida are all opening in the next few years within a few blocks. I expect this retail space to be very popular, although I think (and hope) that the more frivolous stores will close and stores catering to the needs of people living there will open.
November 29, 2007 12:46 PM
Yes, expressed better than I did - the vanity businesses that opened there just to have the address are going to do poorly until critical downtown mass is achieved - in the meantime basics would be a better sell (what about a small drugstore like you see every 5th block in NYC, for instance?)
November 29, 2007 01:21 PM
Or even the three Starbucks on Congress between 4th and 11th?
snowed in |
November 29, 2007 02:40 PM
Ugh. Thankfully, more people living downtown means a better chance to get away from a Starbucks on every corner.
November 29, 2007 02:46 PM
Another factor: A good part of the failure of some of the 2nd street businesses may be a result of the (lack of) business relationship between the commercial leasing entity at the AMLI and the early tenants. Specifically, the handling of shared utility bills that allegedly (depending whom you believe) caught tenants off guard.
All in all, it seems more likely that failure to account for costs, including steep rent and utilities, is probably as much or more of a factor as parking. I'm optimistic that, as you mention, with a larger critical mass of residents, a second generation of retailers that's more in tune with the downtown need will do well.
November 29, 2007 03:54 PM
I read that article too, and got really sad afterwards, but then I basically came up with the same points as everyone else. I'm glad those retailers down there were/are pioneers, but I think it's still too early. It's a work in progress, and the fact that they were/are all upscale boutiques that sold/sell $300 sweaters and would probably have done really well in the godforsaken Domain doesn't help matters any. Jo's is packed any time of day, and I think once some of the retailers down there become a little more functional so that it _is_ actually possible to live downtown and not have to drive and leave downtown whenever you need anything practical (like the drugstore you mentioned) is when it will really flower. But I think it's really going to be another 5-10 years before we start seeing the kind of of "urban environment" downtown that everyone seems to think will sprout overnight. Rome wasn't built in a day, as they say. Until then, I expect it will change and fluctuate a lot.
November 29, 2007 08:25 PM
Isn't this just the natural churn of businesses? Ditto what Shilli said.
November 30, 2007 09:02 AM
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