Month: March 2010
For the last 40 years our industry has lived by a simple principle: retail follows rooftops. Build houses and shops will follow. This accepted wisdom has driven the burgeoning of suburban and big box developments throughout this and other regions. As the local commercial real estate firm representing such great retailers and restaurateurs as Target, Home Depot, IKEA, Red Lobster and some 50 others, this suburbanization has been very good for Brandt Retail Group.
But recently we also formed an Urban Focus division, led by Kathleen Norris with Doug Brandt, because now we see a strong move toward re-urbanization as our Midwestern central cities, our downtowns and our densest first ring suburbs gain new appeal.
Cincinnati is in many ways at the forefront of this movement. Downtown, Uptown and Over the Rhine are not only our most important workforce centers; they are also increasingly important neighborhoods with growing residential density as well as unique dining and shopping.
And as that density increases retail will follow those rooftops as well.
We believe, based on data from other markets, that the streetcar will be a force multiplier in creating that density. It will provide a convenient 21st century means for people to move from a ballgame at the Banks to dinner in the Gateway Quarter, from home to work. It will also decrease parking demand without decreasing mobility or access.
A fixed streetcar route will create development opportunity as sites proximate to the line are revitalized, increasing residential density and creating both new retail and new retail customers. That’s just the kind of opportunity Brandt Retail Group’s Urban Focus team can successfully offer to those retailers and restaurateurs excited to be where the future is in this great city.
UrbanCincy has this piece about how streetcars improve the liveliness (and outdoor culinary options) of a city:
For example, when people living at The Banks development along Cincinnati’s riverfront ride the Cincinnati Streetcar to Findlay Market for their weekly shopping needs it is not the businesses that sparked this behavioral change, it is the streetcar that enables this, as Mr. Callinan would put it, cosmopolitan lifestyle. The lifestyle changes influenced by the streetcar system will create additional demand for cosmopolitan offerings like the street food vendors Mr. Callinan details as more people, instead of cars, begin to populate our streets.
The Enquirer has this story about a group of Xavier students promoting the Cincinnati Streetcar:
Anna Garnett, 19, a sophomore from near East Lansing, Mich., stresses that the students “do not want to build a streetcar for the sake of having a streetcar, but because we see it as a critical step in creating the Cincinnati we want to live in.”
The streetcar’s most ardent advocates could not make the case for the project’s $128 million first phase more forcefully.
Cities, they stress, must give people a reason to move there or stay. That is especially true for desirable demographic groups such as young college graduates, who, largely unencumbered by established career and family considerations, often have wide options available to them.
Even before it is operational, the Cincinnati Streetcar is encouraging investment along the line. This letter from Rookwood Pottery was written in support of the streetcar and details the streetcar’s impact on Rookwood’s investment in Cincinnati.