Originally Posted by seventwenty
I'll grant you a grocery store would be good for downtown, as the residents won't have go very far for groceries. As for some of the other stores... Sears and Kohls, I have to wonder. For those stores, why would I go downtown for them when I can just go to a suburban mall? Sure, a Macy's or Dillards could work, but downtown has to be more than generic big boxes.
What about stores Denver does not have? H & M and Trader Joes come to mind.
The same could be said in reverse: why go to a subrban mall if you could just get those things downtown?
Downtown or its surrounding neighborhoods is where many people happen to live
, so that's why I'm not going to just go to the suburbs to get it. Nobody's gonna drive all the way to Flatiron Crossing to visit Nordstroms when they could easily just head down to the Downtown Nordstroms a few blocks away.
The great thing about a successful urban area is that it essentially contains the whole universe. A healthy city has multiple layers. It has things that would only be found in the dense center - tall office buildings, transit hubs, stadiums, museums and art galleries, residential towers, etc. That's the top layer, it's why we love Downtown so much in particular, and its great.
But downtown also has a Taco Bell and a movie theater, even though you could find those virtually anywhere you have people - it's one of the lowest layers.
I think the drive behind the new philosophy behind urbanism is to say, rather than having designated "zones," your office buildings in a neighborhood over here, your apartment buildings in a separate nighborhood over here, your retail in a shopping mall over here... rather than having those zones - which is the way we did it in the 1970s - we mix it up. We've found that having everything in one neighborhood decreases the need to travel long distances, so it removes congestion, helps neighborhoods avoid boom and bust cycles, and makes a better urban area and higher quality of life. There should be some retail, some office, some residential. So if there is a Target every 40 blocks in the Metro area and there's a big hole where one SHOULD be Downtown, then by god, lets have a Target there.
The whole metro area is covered with general department stores where you can get all kinds of affordable stuff. There's no reason Downtown Denver should be a huge hole in the metro area when it comes to mainstream retail to meet mainstream needs.
Could it possibly hurt?