In any city U.S.A. and other parts of the world, there are parts of town that were once vibrant retail corridors with many boutique retail stores. Many of these retail corridors have shops boarded up and after dark, mainly unsavory characters can be found along the main street. Additionally, these retail corridors are covered with Chinese Carry Outs, Laundromats, Check Cashing Shops, and maybe a few liquor stores. Although, these retail businesses have their place in the world, more is needed in the historic retail corridors.

So what do I think is needed to revitalize historic retail corridors (besides money)?

  • Risk Takers: homegrown business owners and would be entrepreneurs need to establish their businesses in the neighborhood.
  • Community Support: the community needs support the local business owners and not run off to the suburbs to go shopping.
  • National Attention: some major retailers also need to be prepared to open up in these urban corridors. Rumor has it that Walmart intends on targeting many of the urban markets around the United States because the see the potential of the consumer.
  • City Investment and Support: the local municipality needs to bend over backwards to get the properties along these corridors back on the tax role. It is beneficial for everyone. Permitting should be a smooth process and start up business financing should be made available to the budding entrepreneur.

I think the future of North America lies in the cities. Mixed Use development is a growing trend and there is no end in sight as long as the urbanization continues. People are tired of the traffic jams, driving to do all of their shopping and all of the other burdens of suburban sprawl. Bringing life back to the city will help make everyone’s life easier and continue the legacy of our great cities.