This is more wishful thinking than community planning, but it would be nice if we did more to preserve viable existing businesses so that this town could truly develop some character instead of patchy boom-bust flavor-of-the-decade planned retail themes.
I don't really see that being a problem. There are plenty of existing businesses Downtown with plenty of empty spaces around them. Shouldn't have to displace anyone to make room for new additions. At least not at this point in time.
M.O. said:Once an area is packing people in and we're not sending the parking meter guy out at all hours to scare them off we're on our way to a plan.
It's going to be a long time before the residential population in Downtown is large enough to support a variety of non-restaurant retail. I'd argue that the Short North doesn't even get by in a lot of instances with local-only traffic. A lot of money is made by destination shoppers headed there from other areas.
Downtown should have the same approach. It should be a shopping district and an arts district and an entertainment district and everything else for people of all neighborhoods. We need a few more solid unique anchors to get things moving. People will come out when they have a good reason (Food Truck Festival?) so they really just need more day-to-day reasons.
I've often wondered if a larger space like the old Madison store could be converted into an urban mini-mall format where the the entrance provides access to a dozen small shops housed under one roof. Just wishful thinking, but I think it's going to take a large yet non-chain effort like that to really accelerate Downtown retail.