Originally Posted by Gaijin Punch
I totally agree with you, but those first few retail units will end up standing empty for the first 5-10 years until there is some sort of critical mass constructed in the area. Finding end users to lease the space in the meantime will be very difficult.
And that should be an opportunity rather than a reason to NOT include them. If the spaces aren't going to be leased for the first 5-10 years, use them as a city-funded startup space. Let people come in and get a taste for what running their own business might be like - you never know, it might work here, because it certainly has in other areas around the globe, i.e. there was one amazing example of a nearly abandoned pedestrian mall in Australia somewhere offering this sort of program, and it got to the point where the building owners had competition for new leases due to the huge increase in traffic (yes I know this is not a pedestrian mall, but it will be on a major downtown Surrey arterial). Unfortunately I can't find reference to it anywhere, but will post it when I do.
I also think saying that "shoppers won't walk more than 1,000 feet in any direction on average" is ignoring the simple fact that this is the base of 2 large towers, within a block of at least 2 other significant towers, and many multi-story residential developments. Residents can be shoppers too.
Though I find the design of the towers to be an encouraging breath of fresh air, if this segregation of residential and commercial/other is the downtown the City has in mind, then I've been completely and utterly mislead.
If nothing else, why can't we explore building the first 1-3 floors of ALL NEW DEVELOPMENTS as adaptable space, to rent out as apartments or live/work units until the city builds up more, at which time they can be converted into commercial spaces. That's where the future lives. Not here, apparently.