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Thread: Downtown Retail | Discussion

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    Default Downtown Retail | Discussion

    One of the missing elements to a more vibrant Downtown is the location of large, tempting, glassy storefronts from National and International retailers like H&M and Zara. These folks don't build their buildings, they tennant existing spaces. How would we get them onto Jasper Ave or 101 Street? Do we need to offer juicy grants? A better looking (more credible) streetscape environment? City doing the snow clearing on the sidewalks DT?

    Thoughts?

    I would love to see this Downtown:

  2. #2

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    Sales per square foot downtown has to increase. That's a combination of more residential downtown, a lot more small and medium sized business moving into the retail space, making shopping downtown more attractive.

    You don't start with Chanel boutiques, or even H&M.

    You start with the basics.

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    yea, we definately need more retail on Jasper. I think it starts with one or 2 brave retailers. But the fact of the matter is, if you are H&M, Puma, or Zara, are you going to pick West Ed (one of the largest malls in the world) or jasper ave which has nealry no retail? I think theyre moving in the right direction my building lots of apartments/condos downtown. For now the mall is only open till 5 most nights. Once that changes and they realize they can make it by staying open late due to all the people, only then will we see more shopping on Jasper. Jasper & 107 is a great opportunity to build to suit.
    "Its not where you go, but how you get there"

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    It still think that the lack or retailers Downtown comes back to the lack of residential units directly in the core.
    Edmonton seems to be so slow in building new units. With the crunch of living space and the obvious demand for Downtown living, how are developers not bringing twice the amount of units out this year?
    Downtown still lacks that vibrancy, that critical mass. Even some of the attitudes of people who live Downtown are backwards. Complaints about an increase in people or nightspots, places that actually attract a crowd after 6pm.

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    So nose to the grind stone then? Keep on moving more people in, improve the pedestrian environment, LRT to all quadrants to beef up the DT as a major employment and education centre, get more offices here...let retail follow?

    These people http://www.jcwg.com/ps_urban-marketing.htm did a study and found out that our DT is under-served by retail due to poorly executed retail concepts and poor perceptions, and then *poof* one of their clients decided to open an urban grocery store. Coincidence?

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    I have to say all the basics are already Downtown, but City Center mall is still a vortex. It sucks retailers in.
    Even with the increasing amount of people moving into Downtown, lets say that "critical" mass hits...will retailers want street front access, unique single occupant buildings or will they just lease a spot in the mall?
    I would definitly say if the trend is toward podium/mall leases, that an incentive could be put out to at least provide street access into shops or to get them to move into their own buildings.

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    There is no reason West Jasper can't have more retail. You have tens of thousands of people in oliver without a aduquate supply of retail. The city should offer some sort of fund to help redo the street level of buildings in oliver...get rid of the strip mall like parking some of the towers have type thing.

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    Parking lots fronting onto jasper should be (if they aren't already) made illegal and existing buildings with parking out front should be given grants to move parking underground or in behind new buildings which are brought out the the sidewalk.
    Also street-scaping in West Jasper seems to be non-existant, if there is anywhere on Jasper that can support retailers, Lindsey is right, its west of 109st.

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    The big flashy retailers follow the trail blazers.

    We need small flexible retail spaces for small independent retailers. Maintaining lower rent commercial spaces as compared to the large homogenous mall type developments would help. When the big guys see all the successful small retailers they will see the potential in the area and move in to occupy the bigger spaces.

    The Chapters on Whyte is an example. The little retailers had occupied the smaller “run down” retail spaces and created a retail tipping point that made Whyte Ave a destination beyond the destination stores. Chapters saw this and moved into one of the larger spaces on the Ave.

    Skipping the intermediary steps could result in more Hops handbags type occurrences; where you have an overly large retailer with an overly grand and overly flashy building preempting the necessary retail momentum.

    Big retail windows are a design response to having lots of people walking past your building. It shows off what you’ve got. Installing big windows before you have the people to look in them might be a waste of time.

    I say to get the big flashy retail fronts you should support the small players first (yes, I know that is being done). Basic competition will force property owners to do their own upgrades (big shiny windows) to increase their profile in the hopefully more crowded retail environment.

    Until the retail environment becomes crowded we should still focus on the small retailers and small scale façade improvements. To further that, maybe there could be some kind of program in “urban retailing” that would help small businesses to raise their profile. As to the original questions about streetscape and snow removal. Yes; do it. That will get people interested in the area and as a result the retailers will benefit, and the retail momentum will be created, and then the big glass windows will come.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    There is no reason West Jasper can't have more retail. You have tens of thousands of people in oliver without a aduquate supply of retail. The city should offer some sort of fund to help redo the street level of buildings in oliver...get rid of the strip mall like parking some of the towers have type thing.
    Which brings up a question that I've been thinking about recently. Why is the city trying to revitalize places like Alberta Avenue instead of places like west Jasper?

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    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    There is no reason West Jasper can't have more retail. You have tens of thousands of people in oliver without a aduquate supply of retail. The city should offer some sort of fund to help redo the street level of buildings in oliver...get rid of the strip mall like parking some of the towers have type thing.
    Which brings up a question that I've been thinking about recently. Why is the city trying to revitalize places like Alberta Avenue instead of places like west Jasper?
    Excellent question.

    Seriously, it's something that we should be looking for answers too.

    i've never thought about it before in that context though.

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    One thing we have to bear in mind is our climate. This makes big malls like WEM attractive, as they are climate controlled once you are inside - and if you park in the space, you are pretty sheltered between your car and the mall.

    Montréal has a neat system of underground retail. One of my visions for downtown would be to have Central - Bay - Corona connected above continuously by a sort of retail mall, and have a pop up into this at pretty much each street corner. Access for natural light could potentially made through channels/mirrors in columns from the middle of Jasper Ave.

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    Downtown still lacks a viable life outside of M-F 9-5, in our first months in this city, we were shocked to find that every little takeout/quick tasty food place from Rice Howard Way [soul soup, the greek place] to Jasper [the white coloured turkish place and sushi stops nearby] was closed on the weekend. What kind of downtown doesn't have at least one place open on the weekend for a takeout lunch?
    The only place that was open was Wok Box [ick!]... I would love to support downtown revitalization that I keep hearing about with my dollars... but when nothing worthwhile is open to take my dollars....
    guess I'll just have to save for Ruth's Chris to spend my pro-viable downtown dollars!
    When a cheap take out place can't justify being open on a weekend, you are a LONG way off getting the traffic of people needed to spend at major retailers... the two go hand in hand, look how busy sushi takeout places are on Robson st.....

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    ^ I've also had this experience where I've been walking downtown, looking to shop, go for lunch, etc, but nothing is open except in the malls. I would rather be walking outside than inside a mall. There are many people wandering the streets on saturdays these days, despite the weather. I don't think downtown retailers have caught on yet.

    More small business store front retail/dining is critical to drawing in a diverse crowd. I also think having public space, entertainment options and proper street cleaning add to the scene.

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    Close WEM and then maybe Jasper will have something more than a snowball's chance. 'til then...

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    Until we get the critical masses living and staying downtown (not to mention the end of the labour shortage), the Soul Soups and the Axis Cafes will continue to operate at reduced hours.

    Quote Originally Posted by murman
    Close WEM and then maybe Jasper will have something more than a snowball's chance. 'til then...
    One thing I wonder though, if WEM wasn't around would we have gotten an H&M before Vancouver and Calgary? I think not.

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    The Sobey's on 104 and Jasper will make a night and day difference...

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    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    There is no reason West Jasper can't have more retail. You have tens of thousands of people in oliver without a aduquate supply of retail. The city should offer some sort of fund to help redo the street level of buildings in oliver...get rid of the strip mall like parking some of the towers have type thing.
    Which brings up a question that I've been thinking about recently. Why is the city trying to revitalize places like Alberta Avenue instead of places like west Jasper?
    Unfortunately, that was probably because the city had more hope in Alberta Avenue than Jasper Avenue, or anywhere downtown for that matter, when the city's economy was in the dumps during the early '90s and the downtown retail and office vacancy rates were at record highs.

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    ^sobey's plus the new retail in ICON (4-6 bays) will do wonders...not to mention relatively wealthy 25-40 yr olds of about 400 in number moving into it.

    We need 2-3 more 20-30 storey condos in the heart of the core with main floor retail to really encourage new spots to open up.

    In my condo, Omega, Starbucks has done absolute wonders for street traffic all times of the day.

    imagine for a second... twin 25 storey condos with main floor retail along the entire block say on 106st from jasper to 102ave.

    coffe shop, clothing shop, bakery, etc. etc....supported by 300 residential units above and supplimented by walk up.

    Imagine a tower on 102ave/104st with a large retailer in the main floor and 1-2 restaurants on floor 2 overlooking the street...with 150 people living above and the core during the day.

    Simply put, we need mixed use in the core...
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeK
    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    There is no reason West Jasper can't have more retail. You have tens of thousands of people in oliver without a aduquate supply of retail. The city should offer some sort of fund to help redo the street level of buildings in oliver...get rid of the strip mall like parking some of the towers have type thing.
    Which brings up a question that I've been thinking about recently. Why is the city trying to revitalize places like Alberta Avenue instead of places like west Jasper?
    Unfortunately, that was probably because the city had more hope in Alberta Avenue than Jasper Avenue, or anywhere downtown for that matter, when the city's economy was in the dumps during the early '90s and the downtown retail and office vacancy rates were at record highs.
    I think as well Alberta Avenue is aprt of a residential area where there has been all sorts of unpleasant activity moving in and causing conflict with residents and a need for "cleaning up"..

    Not sure if these same activities are present in the West Jasper Ave area, hence lower priority

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    I just hope that we, as a city, learn to walk and chew gum at the same time. Can we not multi-task and work on both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO

    Simply put, we need mixed use in the core...
    Not just a mix of use, but a mix of demographs! We need the Icon's, but we also need the bachelor pads as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    Which brings up a question that I've been thinking about recently. Why is the city trying to revitalize places like Alberta Avenue instead of places like west Jasper?
    I can tell you: City Council is helping those that are helping them selves. City Council assists areas where the business owners have come together to create Business Revitalization Zones. Alberta Avenue is one of these zones. All businesses in the zone pay a levy on their business tax, usually 1.5% or less. All the proceeds are returned to the BRZ to fund their operations which include marketing, special events and streetscapes. Oliver was approached to form one of these and they defeated (Requires 25% of all businesses in the zone to sign a request to establish). This was at least a decade ago. Car dealerships are instrumental at defeating these. Maybe it is time to try again.

    BRZs in Edmonton:
    Old Strathcona
    Downtown
    124 Street
    Inglewood (118 ave and 124 Street North - Generally a useless group)
    NW Industrial (paid for the 184 Street overpass of the CN line)
    China Town and Little Italy
    Beverly
    Fort Road
    Stony Plain Road (new)
    Alberta Avenue (118 Ave b/w 106 St and 80 St)
    Kingsway

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    Downtown retail takes time to develop. It requires a combination of an increased residents and income. It also evolves over time. Like BDavidson stated, first come the independent retailers and over time as pedestrian traffic and sales increase, so do the larger corporate retailers.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    This entire thread seems to focus on enticing businesses to set up shop in he downtown core. It seems to me that we should be focusing on recognizing the needs of the shoppers instead.

    I predict that the Sobeys on 104th will make it more difficult to find a taxi downtown. Why? Because shoppers will walk to the store but will have too much to carry back. Cabbies don't like hauling groceries - especially if the trip is only 3 or 4 blocks, so they avoid the area.

    Most merchants avoid downtown because most shoppers avoid downtown. Inadequate parking, restricted parking, expensive parking, restricted access, inadequate policing, noise, transit, dirt, are among the issues that must be addressed before downtown will become shopper-friendly and start to attract the merchants.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    I predict that the Sobeys on 104th will make it more difficult to find a taxi downtown. Why? Because shoppers will walk to the store but will have too much to carry back. Cabbies don't like hauling groceries - especially if the trip is only 3 or 4 blocks, so they avoid the area.

    Most merchants avoid downtown because most shoppers avoid downtown. Inadequate parking, restricted parking, expensive parking, restricted access, inadequate policing, noise, transit, dirt, are among the issues that must be addressed before downtown will become shopper-friendly and start to attract the merchants.
    I drove a cab for several years and didn't mind the grocery runs, especially during slow periods.

    I think most people avoid shopping downtown because there's nothing open on saturdays or sundays (excluding the malls).

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    Parking becomes moot when you have enough people living there.

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    How come nobody complains about parking in Old Strathcona, but do so readily when it comes to downtown?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    Parking becomes moot when you have enough people living there.
    Eventually.

    But it will take decades (if ever) before downtown Edmonton will reach a balance between density of residents and business at a level adequate to preclude parking needs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    How come nobody complains about parking in Old Strathcona, but do so readily when it comes to downtown?
    During the daytime in Old Strathcona you can usually park around the nearest corner or on the next road. The density in Old Strathcona is several orders of magnitude less than downtown.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    I drove a cab for several years and didn't mind the grocery runs, especially during slow periods.
    But you must admit you and I and others who don't mind grocery runs are a minority. Most want hotels or longer runs.

    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    I think most people avoid shopping downtown because there's nothing open on saturdays or sundays (excluding the malls).
    That's the catch22. There's nothing open because people avoid downtown.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    This entire thread seems to focus on enticing businesses to set up shop in he downtown core. It seems to me that we should be focusing on recognizing the needs of the shoppers instead.

    I predict that the Sobeys on 104th will make it more difficult to find a taxi downtown. Why? Because shoppers will walk to the store but will have too much to carry back. Cabbies don't like hauling groceries - especially if the trip is only 3 or 4 blocks, so they avoid the area.

    Most merchants avoid downtown because most shoppers avoid downtown. Inadequate parking, restricted parking, expensive parking, restricted access, inadequate policing, noise, transit, dirt, are among the issues that must be addressed before downtown will become shopper-friendly and start to attract the merchants.

    yup...nobody shops on robson, king st, queen st, st. cath because parking is inadequate, expensive, noise, dirt....

    You seem to have no clue dude...none...those comments are what i would expect from my uncle who lives in leduc.

    When parking gets expensive, difficult to find...it is a GOOD thing...it means demand for those spots are there, it means people WANT to be there....

    with a name like DWELL i would expect more...
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    Parking really doesn't mean anything. While I'm sure the following examples with be called hyperbole by some, I can name numerous shopping districts I've visited in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Rome, Athens, London, and Larissa that have little to no parking.

    Regardless, there is a plethora of parking stalls available near Jasper. This is even more true outside of M-F business hours.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    yup...nobody shops on robson, king st, queen st, st. cath because parking is inadequate, expensive, noise, dirt....

    You seem to have no clue dude...none...those comments are what i would expect from my uncle who lives in leduc.
    We seem to be arguing completely different arguments. I don't disagree and I don't attack your vision.

    My arguments are, probably like your uncle's, that this is how we see it to be NOW and what we need to address to get people to use downtown now. Yours seems to be what you want downtown to be. So if we look at this as a timeline, how do we there from here?

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    one reason for lacking retail downtown is the invisibility of our stores inside malls. Shoppers did a great thing by building an entrance fronting the street.

    perhaps the city could consider some way to encourage street-front retail development by, say, promising not to tax more (for increase in property value with such an addition).

    another idea is to allow people who park in parkades downtown to use their parkade parking ticket as a bus pass in the downtown core only.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MylesC
    This is even more true outside of M-F business hours.
    So what's your point? You want more businesses downtown because there is plenty of parking outside of business hours?

    Yes, there is lots of parking in dirty, dusty or muddy lots around downtown, but these lots are frequently full. If we want more businesses they need customers that at this time do not live downtown. In future they may, but not now. In the meantime we need adequate transport facilities whether transit or for private vehicles to fill the gap.

    The point I wanted to make before is that we must focus on the needs of the customers to attract businesses to the downtown core or there is no reason for the businesses to locate there.

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    Default Re: Downtown Retail

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    yup...nobody shops on robson, king st, queen st, st. cath because parking is inadequate, expensive, noise, dirt....

    You seem to have no clue dude...none...those comments are what i would expect from my uncle who lives in leduc.
    We seem to be arguing completely different arguments. I don't disagree and I don't attack your vision.

    My arguments are, probably like your uncle's, that this is how we see it to be NOW and what we need to address to get people to use downtown now. Yours seems to be what you want downtown to be. So if we look at this as a timeline, how do we there from here?
    as the movie said so well..."build it and they will come"...if you have reasons for people to come downtown, they will.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    Quote Originally Posted by MylesC
    This is even more true outside of M-F business hours.
    So what's your point? You want more businesses downtown because there is plenty of parking outside of business hours?

    Yes, there is lots of parking in dirty, dusty or muddy lots around downtown, but these lots are frequently full. If we want more businesses they need customers that at this time do not live downtown. In future they may, but not now. In the meantime we need adequate transport facilities whether transit or for private vehicles to fill the gap.

    The point I wanted to make before is that we must focus on the needs of the customers to attract businesses to the downtown core or there is no reason for the businesses to locate there.
    there are LOTS of reasons for business' to locate in the core...

    -thousands of residents, hotel guests, daytime business crowd of 50-60,000 with the highest incomes in the city.

    that is enough
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    Quote Originally Posted by grish
    another idea is to allow people who park in parkades downtown to use their parkade parking ticket as a bus pass in the downtown core only.
    Good idea. quick post it in the "best small idea" thread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MylesC
    Parking really doesn't mean anything. While I'm sure the following examples with be called hyperbole by some, I can name numerous shopping districts I've visited in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City, Rome, Athens, London, and Larissa that have little to no parking.
    All these cities have one thing that edmonton sorely lacks... decent public transportation to/from in/around their respective downtowns.

    90 to 95% of edmontonians use a car to get where they're going. this city was designed for the exlusive use of the car. car's are not a luxury in this city. parking space is a reality and something that won't change for many years.

    Densification should help improve the dynamic of street life, but a wide range of store front shops are sorely needed along jasper ave for this to happen.

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    "All these cities have one thing that edmonton sorely lacks... decent public transportation to/from in/around their respective downtowns. "

    come on...really now...weak....

    LRT - anywhere from the NE or university

    BUS - west ed express or a few quick changes that would be equal to most cities.

    getting into and out of the downtown is NOT why it is what it is.
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    Another thing downtown needs are more unique shops and restaurants. If City Centre is all that's open on weekends, why would anyone want to shop at City Centre when the exact same stores are in other malls such as WEM, Kingsway, Southgate or Londonderry?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Another thing downtown needs are more unique shops and restaurants. If City Centre is all that's open on weekends, why would anyone want to shop at City Centre when the exact same stores are in other malls such as WEM, Kingsway, Southgate or Londonderry?

    yup...
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    The parking argument is bullpucky. I've yet to park more than a half block from anywhere I've needed to go in the downtown core. Of course, I don't expect free parking downtown, and I expect to use underground parking....

    As for businesses downtown. There really isn't a lot of vacant store frontage. There's just not enough storefronts....

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    best thing said yet...

    "There really isn't a lot of vacant store frontage. There's just not enough storefronts...."
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    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    All these cities have one thing that edmonton sorely lacks... decent public transportation to/from in/around their respective downtowns.
    Horse pucket. There are plenty of transit options to get downtown from all areas of the city.

    Regardless, that still ignores the other part of my point where I state that there is plenty of parking around/near Jasper Ave.

    Quote Originally Posted by dwells
    So what's your point? You want more businesses downtown because there is plenty of parking outside of business hours?
    I should have stated OFFICE hours...but figured that would be given as we're dealing with downtown parking patterns.

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    I'm thinking it is changing. Are we at the tipping point? I thought we were already at the tipping point and now spaces are being taken up. Give it time - shop where it is open and the sort.

    It's humming along - just need to get the residential developers into the core.

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    I have the feeling that we will see local retailers like Urban and The Running Room open in downtown street front locations before stores like H&M and Adidas

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    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    I have the feeking that we will see local retailers like Urban and The Running Room open in downtown street front locations before stores like H&M and Adidas
    Urban has been in City Centre mall for a few years now.

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    I thought this thread was about "street fronting shops" though.

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    The biggest problem of trying to get people to come downtown to shop is to get over this stigma that downtown is sooo dangerous and its to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. People are used to their suburban lifestyle, with their quick 5 minute drive to their suburban mall or power center.
    What downtown retail needs is (and well stated in this thread already)
    1) Critical mass.
    2) Critical mass.
    3) Critical mass.

    As more and more people are moving downtown and Oliver, more and more stores and shops are opening. As more people move dowtown, more stores will follow, giving people even more reason to want to be downtown. More services follow.... More stores follow... sooner or later, Critical mass is hit.
    I sure hope we hit Critical mass before WLRT is complete to WEM. Give downtown retail a chance. WLRT to WEM in my mind is seen as a good thing and a bad thing.

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    ^i disagree...some might, but most just dont see the need to go downtown if they have shops near them and if they go somewhere it is WEM.

    this happens in most cities, not just edmonton.

    What we need are the following:

    -condos condos condos in the core...
    -destination stores to open like H&M, addidas, etc.
    -more funky indy's to setup and compliment chains
    -larger grouping of restaurants and nightlife, people will come shop and stay for dinner or go for drinks.
    -more activities like art gallery, theatre etc....too bad the JUBE wasnt downtown.....bring the arena downtown! How about that aquarium idea...
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    How about that aquarium idea...
    Yes, let's kill some more dolphins ala WEM, the tourists love that stuff

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    Oh no! Not Dolphins!!!!

    An aquarium would be cool. Has it ever been done in an urban setting? Their some cool possibilities.....imagine a glass tank wall right up to the sidewalk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    How about that aquarium idea...
    Yes, let's kill some more dolphins ala WEM, the tourists love that stuff
    im not talking about a small tank for dolphin shows...im talking a major major facility that is there to educate and show worldwide marinelife.
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    It'd be nice if rather then just having picnic benches scattered around churchull square, if maybe the 3 bananas cafe bought some more cafe style tables and set them out, so you could eat under the sun

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    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    Oh no! Not Dolphins!!!!

    An aquarium would be cool. Has it ever been done in an urban setting? Their some cool possibilities.....imagine a glass tank wall right up to the sidewalk.
    Yes, visually nice, but all I can see is the emmense suffering of animals in captivity (animal prison). Sorry, but an aquarium featuring sea life in the middle of the prairie is a silly theme.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ike9126
    It'd be nice if rather then just having picnic benches scattered around churchull square, if maybe the 3 bananas cafe bought some more cafe style tables and set them out, so you could eat under the sun

    that would be ideal....but we have a lot of people who might take them. It is unfortunate that there are such people who cant do anything but cause trouble and steal.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IanO
    Quote Originally Posted by ike9126
    It'd be nice if rather then just having picnic benches scattered around churchull square, if maybe the 3 bananas cafe bought some more cafe style tables and set them out, so you could eat under the sun

    that would be ideal....but we have a lot of people who might take them. It is unfortunate that there are such people who cant do anything but cause trouble and steal.
    Three Bananas needs a fenced-off balcony with its own patio tables as per most restaurants (e.g. Joey Tomatoes downtown). Plus the square does have its own rent-a-cops to keep the undesirables in line.

    As for an aquarium....no dolphins, how about exotic fish?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    Quote Originally Posted by LindseyT
    Oh no! Not Dolphins!!!!

    An aquarium would be cool. Has it ever been done in an urban setting? Their some cool possibilities.....imagine a glass tank wall right up to the sidewalk.
    Yes, visually nice, but all I can see is the emmense suffering of animals in captivity (animal prison). Sorry, but an aquarium featuring sea life in the middle of the prairie is a silly theme.
    Calgary had a great aquarium many years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    As for an aquarium....no dolphins, how about exotic fish?
    how about local fish such as trout, walleye, sturgeon...etc?

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    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    As for an aquarium....no dolphins, how about exotic fish?
    how about local fish such as trout, walleye, sturgeon...etc?
    I'll bring my fishing rod!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    As for an aquarium....no dolphins, how about exotic fish?
    how about local fish such as trout, walleye, sturgeon...etc?
    I'll bring my fishing rod!!
    I'll bring the dynamite!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DanC
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Quote Originally Posted by snakes on a blog
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    As for an aquarium....no dolphins, how about exotic fish?
    how about local fish such as trout, walleye, sturgeon...etc?
    I'll bring my fishing rod!!
    I'll bring the dynamite!
    Nothing like fishing with hand grenades.

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    Many great points have been put up on here.

    Parking is not really a big issue, perception is. We've go the 2x the physical number of stalls we need, but distribution and access to the stalls is not geared to the "on demand" user. One approach to remedy this could be a Parking Authority.

    Transit is only partly a constraint. Studies show that 33% of all commuter trips from NE Edmonton to the DT are done on the LRT, so LRT is a great facilitator, however that figure drops to 12 to 9% for all other commuter trips from the quadrants not served by LRT.

    A stronger LRT network to all quadrants of the City will strengthen the DT as an office, retail and residential centre because it increases its catchment area, as long as the DT is the system hub (i.e. WEM won't be a hub, so it's catchment increase is not as large, although the do benefit somewhat).

    Demand is there. UMC has determined that the DT can support between 200 to 500 thousand square feet of retail based on the existing population of the DT and the 7 surrunding communities. Hands down Oliver is the single highest density market, and DT currently has 15,000 full time students, 35,000 part time students, 50,000 office workers, 10,000 residents. This type of concentration does not exist any where else in the City.

    Built form: This is where we are worst off. There is very little space that is amenable to the street front retailer, its all junk. The vacant spaces left are total dogs. Also the poor condition of sidewalks, streetscapes, bus shelters, benches, no-city cleaning of sidewalks, and many existing buildings tennanted by offices or buildings that are built slightly below or above grade.

    There is also no "traditional" critical mass left from when WEM opened. Newcomers want to be with the other flagships, but there aren't any. They are looking for that starting point.

    Someone here mentioned the new Shoppers Drug Mart as a positive, well I had hoped so too. Since they opened that street level door has had a sign on it telling users to use the mall entrance.

    On Saturday I was at the new AGA and saw a pack of teenage girls trying to get into Holt Renfrew to spend wads of $$, but the street doors (all 3) were locked!! Sings said "use mall entrance" What idiots. We need a "Doors Open Downtown" campaign. I heard the girls say "how do you get in there?"

    I'll stop now. Any other points that y'all think should be brought up?

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    re: doors


    wtf...
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    IMO the key is to focus on a specific area/street (say Jasper between 100 St and 109 St, or 104 Street) and build on the areas that are having some success. Once one street starts growing it will spread. Look at Whyte Ave and all of the offshoots from it.

    Instead of saying we need more retail downtown, the focus should be we need these types of stores on Jasper.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citysource
    Many great points have been put up on here.

    Parking is not really a big issue, perception is. We've go the 2x the physical number of stalls we need, but distribution and access to the stalls is not geared to the "on demand" user. One approach to remedy this could be a Parking Authority.

    Transit is only partly a constraint. Studies show that 33% of all commuter trips from NE Edmonton to the DT are done on the LRT, so LRT is a great facilitator, however that figure drops to 12 to 9% for all other commuter trips from the quadrants not served by LRT.

    A stronger LRT network to all quadrants of the City will strengthen the DT as an office, retail and residential centre because it increases its catchment area, as long as the DT is the system hub (i.e. WEM won't be a hub, so it's catchment increase is not as large, although the do benefit somewhat).

    Demand is there. UMC has determined that the DT can support between 200 to 500 thousand square feet of retail based on the existing population of the DT and the 7 surrunding communities. Hands down Oliver is the single highest density market, and DT currently has 15,000 full time students, 35,000 part time students, 50,000 office workers, 10,000 residents. This type of concentration does not exist any where else in the City.

    Built form: This is where we are worst off. There is very little space that is amenable to the street front retailer, its all junk. The vacant spaces left are total dogs. Also the poor condition of sidewalks, streetscapes, bus shelters, benches, no-city cleaning of sidewalks, and many existing buildings tennanted by offices or buildings that are built slightly below or above grade.

    There is also no "traditional" critical mass left from when WEM opened. Newcomers want to be with the other flagships, but there aren't any. They are looking for that starting point.

    Someone here mentioned the new Shoppers Drug Mart as a positive, well I had hoped so too. Since they opened that street level door has had a sign on it telling users to use the mall entrance.

    On Saturday I was at the new AGA and saw a pack of teenage girls trying to get into Holt Renfrew to spend wads of $$, but the street doors (all 3) were locked!! Sings said "use mall entrance" What idiots. We need a "Doors Open Downtown" campaign. I heard the girls say "how do you get in there?"

    I'll stop now. Any other points that y'all think should be brought up?
    A doors open policy would be good. In fact I think there is a bylaw requirement that buildings on the pedway are required to keep their main doors unlocked from 8:00 to 11:00?

    I have had many times walking from city hall to 104street and I have not been able to access the pedway through Edmonton City Centre. That is really not good in the middle of winter. The Ricky’s Grill has also put up the “use mall entrance sign”.

    The street and mall combination access is difficult design wise, as the retailer then needs two cashiers, double security and it also creates difficulty in back room storage. The solution could lie in more corridors between the out doors and indoors. The retailers then would open exclusively on the corridor rather than into the core of the mall or onto the street.

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    Quote Originally Posted by feepa
    The biggest problem of trying to get people to come downtown to shop is to get over this stigma that downtown is sooo dangerous and its to be avoided unless absolutely necessary. People are used to their suburban lifestyle, with their quick 5 minute drive to their suburban mall or power center.
    What downtown retail needs is (and well stated in this thread already)
    1) Critical mass.
    2) Critical mass.
    3) Critical mass.

    As more and more people are moving downtown and Oliver, more and more stores and shops are opening. As more people move dowtown, more stores will follow, giving people even more reason to want to be downtown. More services follow.... More stores follow... sooner or later, Critical mass is hit.
    I sure hope we hit Critical mass before WLRT is complete to WEM. Give downtown retail a chance. WLRT to WEM in my mind is seen as a good thing and a bad thing.
    Last time I checked the LRT went both ways. How many tourists go to WEM and have absolutely no idea how to get downtown and if they did where would they park their big pigs, eh rigs? A lot of people would be more than willing to take a ride on a train if they thought it was going somewhere interesting.
    The downtown area can appeal to people's different interests. Art gallery, leg., river valley and possibly an aquarium. (Someone else questioned the wisdom in having an aquarium. It gives flat landers a chance to experience something they may never otherwise appriciate. Much like the African safari exhibit at Calgary zoo.)
    It is up to the dt area to make the most of such an opportunity not to be protected by not buidling a tranportation link.

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    For me the biggest missing element was not storefronts, but the hours of opening. When I lived downtown on Bellamy Hill I could walk to Edmonton Centre in 8 minutes after dinner to go shopping but things were shut. So we'd drive to Southgate.

    I suppose I could have gone during the day, but I work. I actually work. However, I have started catering to stereotypes of government workers flying around the forum lately, so I suppose I should begin by doing my downtown shopping during the day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lux
    For me the biggest missing element was not storefronts, but the hours of opening.
    Yep.
    Onward and upward

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    Quote Originally Posted by RichardS
    Quote Originally Posted by lux
    For me the biggest missing element was not storefronts, but the hours of opening.
    Yep.
    I was in Victoria last week and nothing was open late there either. It was just before 8:00 on the night of the first Canucks playoff game, and the only places still open were Earl's, Ric's Grill and other restaurants and bars. Calgary's even worse because after 6:00 the core basically closes down and empties out.

    This isn't making an excuse for Edmonton, but we're not the only one with this problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled
    Calgary's even worse because after 6:00 the core basically closes down and empties out.
    Except for Stephen Ave, whose restaurants and bars stay alive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Quote Originally Posted by newfangled
    Calgary's even worse because after 6:00 the core basically closes down and empties out.
    Except for Stephen Ave, whose restaurants and bars stay alive.
    Restaurants and bars, yes. Retail, no.

    Lux was talking about the limited operating hours of our downtown retail, but it's really not all that unusual.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Except for Stephen Ave, whose restaurants and bars stay alive.
    Eh? Not necessarily. I was there one weekend and we had troubles finding a place that had a kitchen open at 9:20pm.

    To Citysource: Holt had its doors locked?? That's really weird..I'm going to have to try them later today. I've always seen them in use. Other than that - L'Azria and Rickie's are both closed, drug store closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MylesC
    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Except for Stephen Ave, whose restaurants and bars stay alive.
    Eh? Not necessarily. I was there one weekend and we had troubles finding a place that had a kitchen open at 9:20pm.

    To Citysource: Holt had its doors locked?? That's really weird..I'm going to have to try them later today. I've always seen them in use. Other than that - L'Azria and Rickie's are both closed, drug store closed.
    Perhaps Holts was a mechanical problem, they are open today. ECC doors = evil.

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    DT constantly loses out to WEM (e.g H & M).

    While WEM may not like it, maybe there should be an incentive program to attract retialers (perhaps of a certain type, like independently owned/operated) just for DT.

    The housing incentive worked, in so far as getting units built, and that's put "bums on seats" as it were and helped to begin a market for future retailers

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    Here's an exercise. Go downtown and wander around thinking to yourself, "where would I open a shop as a retailer?" Not just an area. Find a storefront that is available, attractive, and has the right vibe for the kind of store you're thinking of.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    DT constantly loses out to WEM (e.g H & M).

    While WEM may not like it, maybe there should be an incentive program to attract retialers (perhaps of a certain type, like independently owned/operated) just for DT.

    The housing incentive worked, in so far as getting units built, and that's put "bums on seats" as it were and helped to begin a market for future retailers
    or how about not and having a campaign to promote the core...most people i know dont shop, walk, eat in the core unless it is workday lunch.

    how about choosing to come downtown...there are plenty of rest, shops, etc. already...and by doing so you will make it more viable to attract more.
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    You can promote all you want but unless there's a real reason to make DT a destination, no-one's gonna come. So, what's the hook? What sets DT apart from all other retail districts in the city?

    DT is great for those of us who are familiar with it or who live reasonably close by.

    The majority of people are happy to go to the local mall. They can't be bothered to go DT and prefer what they're familiar with and the easy parking offered at the Mall.

    Why do so many people choose SEC?

    Would the retailers at SEC be successful DT?

    Despite traffic snarls SEC still draws poeple from the SW and SE - that's a lot of peolpe with reaosnably direct access , even with 23rd Ave. Those same people perceive getting DT to be more convoluted and think they have to drive round and round in circles before finding a parking space, that they have to pay for, and they thing is going to miles from the front door of the shops.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    DT is great for those of us who are familiar with it or who live reasonably close by.

    The majority of people are happy to go to the local mall. They can't be bothered to go DT
    See, that's the trouble... when I lived on Bellamy Hill, it was no use to me because it would close so early. It was my local mall, but I'd end up at Southgate most of the time...

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    if there's no people DT after 5 there's no point keeping your shop open and having your staff twiddle their thumbs until 9

    the irony, of course, is that Oliver Square and place west of 109 street seem to have no trouble staying open in the evenings. So, was it smart to allow the development of 104 Ave at the expense of DT?

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    Once the Sobey's and the two Icons open, we'll see more people shopping and more retailers staying open later.

    Perception still has to be battled though. I know one former downtown resto-bar owner who wants to open a new place but may end up opening in the burbs because of the "downtown is dying" perception. He looks at places like Lux and L'Azia which are busy at lunch and after work but relatively quiet at other times. He's scared off by the closure of Terry Vaughn's. He's looking at the short-term, not the potential in 1 or 2 years time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sonic Death Monkey
    Once the Sobey's and the two Icons open, we'll see more people shopping and more retailers staying open later.

    Perception still has to be battled though. I know one former downtown resto-bar owner who wants to open a new place but may end up opening in the burbs because of the "downtown is dying" perception. He looks at places like Lux and L'Azia which are busy at lunch and after work but relatively quiet at other times. He's scared off by the closure of Terry Vaughn's. He's looking at the short-term, not the potential in 1 or 2 years time.
    then he shouldnt open because he obviously has no idea of the downtown.
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    Quote Originally Posted by m0nkyman
    Here's an exercise. Go downtown and wander around thinking to yourself, "where would I open a shop as a retailer?" Not just an area. Find a storefront that is available, attractive, and has the right vibe for the kind of store you're thinking of.

    Good luck!
    I know where I would want a place but ATCO Travel is there on 104st. That is going to be primo retial space . . . already is and there is a corporate travel agency there...what a waste.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brentk
    Quote Originally Posted by m0nkyman
    Here's an exercise. Go downtown and wander around thinking to yourself, "where would I open a shop as a retailer?" Not just an area. Find a storefront that is available, attractive, and has the right vibe for the kind of store you're thinking of.

    Good luck!
    I know where I would want a place but ATCO Travel is there on 104st. That is going to be primo retial space . . . already is and there is a corporate travel agency there...what a waste.
    Totally agree. That landlord has no vision. Idiots.

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    I've got dibs on buying that building. :P

    But it's not for sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    if there's no people DT after 5 there's no point keeping your shop open and having your staff twiddle their thumbs until 9
    Sorry that is wrong. That is the perception, not the reality. There is 10,000 people living inside the Downtown core (109 St/104Ave/97St/97Ave) and 50,000 students a day 15,000 of which are full time, and 60,000 office workers. 70,000 people live in the 7 neighbourhoods around the DT. The retail industry has it all wrong. If they wopuld make a committment to the DT and make a retail presence it would work. The DT is the most underseved retail market in all of Edmonton.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brentk
    I know where I would want a place but ATCO Travel is there on 104st. That is going to be primo retial space . . . already is and there is a corporate travel agency there...what a waste.
    There's actually a vacancy in one of the storefronts of the Jasper Block (right between CKUA/Redstar and the Liberty). I think it used to be an accountant or lawyer or something, but they moved out last month. It's not quite as cool as the Birks building on 104th, but it's close.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citysource
    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    if there's no people DT after 5 there's no point keeping your shop open and having your staff twiddle their thumbs until 9
    Sorry that is wrong. That is the perception, not the reality. There is 10,000 people living inside the Downtown core (109 St/104Ave/97St/97Ave) and 50,000 students a day 15,000 of which are full time, and 60,000 office workers. 70,000 people live in the 7 neighbourhoods around the DT. The retail industry has it all wrong. If they wopuld make a committment to the DT and make a retail presence it would work. The DT is the most underseved retail market in all of Edmonton.
    Thinking about my comments further:
    The majority of the people who are in the Downtown during the day take off and leave. So they do most of their shopping back near their house on the way home in their SOV. I guess the missing components to the retail landscape are the services that actual DT residents want, like a hardware store. Longer hours for some existing retailers, more variety in the grocery market and more middle-market restauraunts.

    What else is missing from the local retail market?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citysource
    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    if there's no people DT after 5 there's no point keeping your shop open and having your staff twiddle their thumbs until 9
    Sorry that is wrong. That is the perception, not the reality. There is 10,000 people living inside the Downtown core (109 St/104Ave/97St/97Ave) and 50,000 students a day 15,000 of which are full time, and 60,000 office workers. 70,000 people live in the 7 neighbourhoods around the DT. The retail industry has it all wrong. If they wopuld make a committment to the DT and make a retail presence it would work. The DT is the most underseved retail market in all of Edmonton.
    How can I be wrong when I say 'if there's no people DT after 5' and elsewhere in my post refer to perception?

    You say there are 50,000 students but where do they live and shop? Where do the 60,000 office workers live? They are all in DT for a limited time. A student at GMCC is more likely to go to Kingsway or 104 Ave than go to DT. Same applies to the 70,000 residents of adjacent neighbourhoods.

    Under current conditions if you wanted to open a business would you locate downtown or elsewhere? More specifically, which location would give you the biggest bang for your buck?

    It boils down to making DT an attractive place for businesses to locate. Landlords aren't helping because they've increased their rental rates to recover the losses they took over the last 25 years. Add to that rising operating costs and you've got a situation that makes it extremely difficult for business owner

    A limited market and poor economic returns are not going to attract business owners to set up downtown.

    I tip my hat to those who are trying at Axis and along 104 street and hope they are able to make their commitment work but their risk factor is much higher DT than being in a mall and as soon as push comes to shove they'll be off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    I have the feeling that we will see local retailers like Urban and The Running Room open in downtown street front locations before stores like H&M and Adidas

    Somebody has to ask, what is H&M?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Voice
    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    I have the feeling that we will see local retailers like Urban and The Running Room open in downtown street front locations before stores like H&M and Adidas

    Somebody has to ask, what is H&M?
    You are right somebody had to ask! Glad it was you...welcome to C2E, BTW!

    H & M (Hennes and Mauritz) is a British clothing store likened to GAP, Old Navy etc. Fashionable and affordable clothing for men, women and kids...

    Check out this thread on their opening a store in WEM. http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...hlight=opening

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    It boils down to making DT an attractive place for businesses to locate. Landlords aren't helping because they've increased their rental rates to recover the losses they took over the last 25 years. Add to that rising operating costs and you've got a situation that makes it extremely difficult for business owner
    And why are landlords raising rents? B/c there is an increasing demand and decreasing vacancy rates. Landlords aren't raising rents to 'make up for their losses', it's driven by market demand.

    A limited market and poor economic returns are not going to attract business owners to set up downtown.
    What? Fact is that businesses are opening downtown and not leaving.

    I tip my hat to those who are trying at Axis and along 104 street and hope they are able to make their commitment work but their risk factor is much higher DT than being in a mall and as soon as push comes to shove they'll be off.
    Last I recall the streetfront businesses along Jasper and other areas have done very well ~ Kabsa, Wok Box, Desidero.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edmowl
    if there's no people DT after 5 there's no point keeping your shop open and having your staff twiddle their thumbs until 9

    the irony, of course, is that Oliver Square and place west of 109 street seem to have no trouble staying open in the evenings. So, was it smart to allow the development of 104 Ave at the expense of DT?
    My point being, I "was people"; I was downtown, and Edmonton City Centre did nothing for me most times I needed it because it closes up so early. So, what should be my local mall became my second or third choice mall. If downtown businesses like that cannot even attract the locals, how are they going to get people from the burbs?

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    Quote Originally Posted by m0nkyman
    Here's an exercise. Go downtown and wander around thinking to yourself, "where would I open a shop as a retailer?" Not just an area. Find a storefront that is available, attractive, and has the right vibe for the kind of store you're thinking of.

    Good luck!
    Imagine if the streets were filled with available, attractive storefronts and with the right vibe for the kind of store you're thinking of.

    Or in other words,

    Empty, recently remodeled, failed business that shut down, that is perfect for your business to move into because they had the same business model with the same vibe. Oh wait! Didn't that business model just fail? In the exact same spot you now want to use for the exact same type of business?

    I don't want streets filled with empty ready-to-go storefronts. I don't think that is a sign of a vibrant economy. I think if a location is good enough, in a vibrant economy the new business will remodel, bring their own vibe, and offer more money than the existing tenant or owner is willing to pay to keep it. Then you know your downtown is in business...

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    Quote Originally Posted by djgirl
    Quote Originally Posted by Voice
    Quote Originally Posted by travis
    I have the feeling that we will see local retailers like Urban and The Running Room open in downtown street front locations before stores like H&M and Adidas

    Somebody has to ask, what is H&M?
    You are right somebody had to ask! Glad it was you...welcome to C2E, BTW!

    H & M (Hennes and Mauritz) is a British clothing store likened to GAP, Old Navy etc. Fashionable and affordable clothing for men, women and kids...

    Check out this thread on their opening a store in WEM. http://www.connect2edmonton.ca/forum...hlight=opening
    That would be a Swedish store. Yeah, pretty much cheap, disposable clothing, copied off the runways of Europe. Aparrently, it really draws crowds.

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    ^^
    I was in Frankfurt earlier today, and they had a really amzing street for walking only. In a distance of about 2.5 kilometers I counted 4 H&Ms.

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    Here, lets watch me get my head ripped off. I disagree with all of this retail with glass fronts will bring em in droves, Jasper west rejuv will bring em, bla bla downtown revitalize (which is apparently creatively limited to retail and bars) wow that will really make Edmonton stand out...zzzzzzz. What braniac came up with we need more shopping and bars, it's just so dull dull dull. What kind of vanilla yuppy blog is this?

    I think you've got it all wrong, cause yer barking up the wrong city. I dont think thats who we are. I've said it before, besides eating and drinking (booze or coffee), I really find Edmontonians are go home and stay home people. I've often heard people say Edmonton is dull, like a big small town. Or refer to it as Deadmonton. Interesting cities, with variety of things to do, with both accessible nature and fun things to do attracts fun outgoing people (Van, Cal and even some small towns). The energy in those cities is awesome and I dont find any of that energy here, besides population growth, which doesnt really count as energy. I think this city is a reflection of what its putting in to those types of activities. No offense 1 million people. This is anonymous right?

    Does anyone agree at all? I realize that statement wont be true of absolutely everyone so please dont pick it apart too much but havn't you felt of heard any of that before? How do we change that? Is it really just with trendier shopping and more bars? I've been to many of the bars in Edmonton, and I can't say as those are the shining examples of people I want to get to know. No yes?
    Well behaved women rarely make history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by afairlady
    Here, lets watch me get my head ripped off. I disagree with all of this retail with glass fronts will bring em in droves, Jasper west rejuv will bring em, bla bla downtown revitalize (which is apparently creatively limited to retail and bars) wow that will really make Edmonton stand out...zzzzzzz. What braniac came up with we need more shopping and bars, it's just so dull dull dull. What kind of vanilla yuppy blog is this?

    I think you've got it all wrong, cause yer barking up the wrong city. I dont think thats who we are. I've said it before, besides eating and drinking (booze or coffee), I really find Edmontonians are go home and stay home people. I've often heard people say Edmonton is dull, like a big small town. Or refer to it as Deadmonton. Interesting cities, with variety of things to do, with both accessible nature and fun things to do attracts fun outgoing people (Van, Cal and even some small towns). The energy in those cities is awesome and I dont find any of that energy here, besides population growth, which doesnt really count as energy. I think this city is a reflection of what its putting in to those types of activities. No offense 1 million people. This is anonymous right?

    Does anyone agree at all? I realize that statement wont be true of absolutely everyone so please dont pick it apart too much but havn't you felt of heard any of that before? How do we change that? Is it really just with trendier shopping and more bars? I've been to many of the bars in Edmonton, and I can't say as those are the shining examples of people I want to get to know. No yes?
    What do you suggest is needed then? You make some vague references of "energy" without mentioning anything concrete.

    And don't discount the trendy shops, restaurants and bars outright. These are the most common suggestions made by the younger professionals in this town, the same ones who end up fleeing to Toronto or Vancouver because of the "boring" factor.

    But I agree that there's more to urban life than that. There's festivals, parades, museums, art galleries, architecture, history, street markets, libraries, hot dog vendors, fountains, statues, tree-lined streets, gardens and murals. But most of all, it's the intermingling of people and cultures. Edmonton has all of that, but what's missing???

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