For the better part of the past decade, developers and architects have been arguing about the best way to approach mixed-use projects. Mixed-use was the in-vogue concept back in the pre-recession days, but many of those projects ended up being duds. Some architects attribute the failure to the fact that developers were often trying to bring mixed-use into suburban environments where people are not used to living, working and playing in the same place.
On the other hand, an article from this week's New York Times looks at a mixed-use environment that has thrived over the past several years--New York's Union Square. The area, which today serves as home to retailers as disparate as Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Nordstrom Rack and Filene's Basement, is successful precisely because it was always a mixed-use place, combining office buildings, stores and restaurants with a transportation hub and a public park. It's also always had a reliable anchor: a four days a week Greenmarket. In other words, all the mixed-use elements were already there. All the city had to do was invest in better infrastructure and a beautification program. That's something developers should keep in mind when they think about recreating the feel of an urban downtown on a suburban parking lot.
Here's a slide show that traces Union Square's evolution over the past 25 years.
For other stories about retail and retail real estate, follow the links below:
- Blockbuster Files for Bankruptcy (The New York Times)
- Blockbuster Expected to Shutter Hundreds More Stores (Reuters)
- Walmart CEO Provides the Starkest Visual of the Modern Bread Line Yet (Zero Hedge)
- JP Morgan Takes the Lead to Revive CMBS Operations (SmartBrief)
- AIA: Architecture Billings Index Shows Contraction in August (Calculated Risk)
- Sears Seeks Trendier 'Vibe' with Forever 21 (The Wall Street Journal)
- Ruby Tuesday to Open Up to 200 Mexican Eateries (Knoxvillebiz.com)
- Dollar Tree's Social Strategy is Worth a Buck (The Big Fat Marketing Blog)
- Price Chopper in Twitter Tussle (Supermarket News)
- What to Expect in the Congressional Fall Session (ICSC)