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Idea#114

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Preserving Historic Buildings »

Condos - nono

I disagree about the condos thing. While it might help folks MOVE there (those that can afford it), it won't help the downtown area become more pedestrian unless there's something to go TO. Right now, and handful of smoky bars and old hardware stores is not a *draw* for downtown. I recommend freeing up some space for shops, retail and otherwise, and restaurants.

Most of the restaurants there are pretty pricey and the bars don't open til late anyhow. Can we please get some different flavor other than the same chef having 4 different restaurants in walking distance of one another with similar menus? And none of them are really ethnic or highly different...

If someone with a few bucks was smart, they'd parcel out the old Heritage club and lease 5 different businesses/bars/etc on that street level to have more to actually make DT a destination for something other than just night life...

Submitted by oconnef 1 year ago

Comments (6)

  1. You read my mind! Great and insightful comments.

    1 year ago
  2. There are several (a lot) of empty histroic buildings downtown that appear to not be producing income for their owners. If space in these were made available at a subsidized cost to 501-3C organizations there would be some income and may be a substantial tax advantage to the owners.

    1 year ago
  3. I respectfully disagree. Chicago, though a large city, is the example of what happens when people live downtown. I remember in the 70s, walking through downtown Chicago with some nervousness because of the closed office buildings and deserted streets. That all changed when the city began converting the warehouses and office buildings downtown into living spaces. Suddenly, people needed grocery stores and restaurants downtown. They walked the streets for exercise or to window-shop and cared more about security. The only way to develop downtown Huntsville is to have people present 24-7, relying on the services that others are willing to drive some distance to experience. Go to any city the size of Huntsville, larger or smaller, that is successfully re-making its downtown and you will find an explosion of condos and apartments. Multiplying living spaces results in demands for more and better services.

    1 year ago
  4. Moderator

    I think y'all have hit on the 'chicken and egg' nature of downtown redevelopment (in any city, on a variety of scales). In practice, it seems it requires a simultaneous approach to both. Usually some small seed of residential or commercial that attracts a complement of the other; then (if successful) they begin to accrue more of each. Some expanded residential offerings, some more diverse commercial uses, and critical mass builds.

    Chicago is a great example, but we could even look at one closer by. For those familiar with Atlanta, it's a tale of two centers. Downtown, which is coming on with the growth of Georgia State, but which still struggles to maintain after-hours activity, even with the tourism and conventioneers. Contrast it with Midtown Atlanta, which over the past decade was very aggressive about adding to its residential stock. As a result, the evening and weekend activity has increased on a yearly basis, and it's become arguably the most cosmopolitan part of Atlanta.

    I have to say, I was downtown last Friday, and I had a great time. Started the evening with a slightly late (for a couple of parents of toddlers) dinner at 7:00 - Below the Radar - then went to Sam and Greg's for gelato and Amendment 21 for drinks (and the wives did some dancing upstairs). As we walked the blocks back to our cars, I noted how full all the various establishments were. It made me feel more than a little optimistic about Downtown's future. These things happen slowly, but for Downtown I think it's clearly happening.

    1 year ago
  5. Retail (shops, restaurants, etc) follow rooftops. These are business decisions. Will the company make money after a major investment in a location? Period. Companies decide where they want stores, not government, not developers, not the public wanting them. Stores, restaurants, etc locate where THEY have determined the demographics meet THEIR criteria, number of homes, (density) income, education level, traffic count in a certain radius. If Birmingham doesn't have a Nordstrom's the likely hood of one here is zero. A standard Cheesecake Factory too is unlikely; if they have success with a smaller unit in other places, MAYBE.

    1 year ago
  6. Do we want the homogenization of our area? Or do we want interesting different concepts? Support locally owned establishments that offer unique experiences. These are your neighbors, friends not a faceless corporation

    1 year ago

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  1. The idea was posted
    1 year ago