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.