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  • Greater 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
    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.

    Comment


    • #3
      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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      • #4
        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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        • #5
          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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          • #6
            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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            • #7
              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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              • #8
                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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                • #9
                  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.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    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?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by travis
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        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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                        • #13
                          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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                          • #14
                            ^ 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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                            • #15
                              Close WEM and then maybe Jasper will have something more than a snowball's chance. 'til then...
                              [email protected][email protected]: the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse

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