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honestly, this one and maddox look like dross, but the key to it all for me (aside from the added density, obv) is the commercial component. it helps repopulate the streets, obviously, but even neater is that vancouver is trending away from the 'high street' inclination that would see the burrard and granville corridors sustain the neighborhood's commercial functions. a more stratified distribution of commercial space fosters a greater diversity of goods and service providers, and a more interesting urban tapestry. you know, even if the buildings look terrible and generic.
I think it would've been better if the buildings had some officespace even if only a single floor each above the retail level just to add daytime population. I agree that we are moving away from the old high street concepts, but I'm still undecided if it's a good thing or not. I think it'll be good but at the same time we need to be careful not to over dilute the marketplace. I'd take slightly less stores that are financially healthier over too many stores that weaken the marketplace.
^ in a city with planning strictures like vancouver has, "weak" demand for commercial space is sort of irrelevant to supply. to the classic conundrum of empty storefronts, the solution to that one is pretty simple: market rents. therein lies the twin genius of vancouver's planners: on the one hand, forcing grade-level commercial space into a high rise development forces a certain street-scape, on the other hand, this commercial space pencils for the developers, allowing them to set market rents and not to sit on a space until it hits a break-even point. if you ask me, when 40% of new shops opening downtown fall under the rubric of formula retail (more than 2 locations), i think its self evident that we could do with a little more supply to bring these rents down.