Pros and Cons of Siting a Business in a Historic District Versus a Strip Mall

The trend since the 1950’s has been to site new retail businesses in suburban areas, and not in central core historic downtown districts. The growth over the last half century in America has been to be where the population is and was moving. Downtown’s were and continue to still be dying. Over the last decade or so the historic downtowns have become popular destination stops for the customers to drive, walk or bike to and for suburbanites to shop, dine and relax. Most successful downtowns are not “cookie cutter” in they are not strips with large asphalt parking lots in front with a few trees and shrubs linearly placed to comply with zoning laws. Downtown’s are not only old buildings but collections of memorable events from days gone by, and in many downtowns of days now gone forever. So why would one consider opening a business in a downtown location?

Very well, let us get started. On one side you will find the “Pro”, the positions in favor:

The number one point in support for creating a business in a historic downtown district is if the local government is inclined to save and rehab. the area there often are programs set up to aid in rent, upfits, and marketing support. In many situations the rent is going to be less than what one pays in a newly built strip mall which can be a strong benefit. Many malls are owned by large corporate entities and have a rigid formula for what the rental income must be. The buildings in a downtown are often owned by private parties and/or descendants/children from the original owners and have no fixed costs so they can work with the tenants on rent and set asides.

The secondary positive point is customers like to visit points of interest. Customers like stories of the history, being informed of those who were there and what their individual histories were. They like to know where and how a town developed. The customer can brand not only with the store but with the location, which does not happen in a strip mall..

The third positive point is many downtowns have merchants who band together to help each other and to promote the location as much as they promote their own stores. There can be a collective effort to market the downtown location..

A 4th support point in favor is going to be that most downtowns are pedestrian friendly. People can walk leisurely to the shops and stores, dine outside on the sidewalks, and enjoy shopping at leisure, not elbow to elbow in a crowded mall..

Lastly, the 5th point is many downtowns set themselves apart by having activities going on such as festivals and events. Vendor booths, food stands, bands playing, farmer’s markets all are highlights of having a business in a downtown district. The area is alive and has a personality unlike strip centers..

And alternatively, to help keep this balanced, there’s Con; Against:

The primary point against creating a business in a historic downtown district is most do not have a large amount of drive by traffic such as strip centers on major thoroughfares. If drive by and car access in and out are crucial to the business then best not to be downtown. Downtown is a place where the main street is 100 years old, narrow and often delivery trucks are stopped in the road making the traffic pace much slower..

The second point in contra will be unless there is some provision to allow a slower time frame for the building to come to code then the cost of renovation to comply with codes can be super expensive for the tenant or property owner. Many buildings in historic downtowns have been rehabbed many times over in the course of their existence. Each “fit up” is an adventure with old wires, new floors, cut off pipes being discovered and to go from that point to 100% compliance with building codes designed for new buildings can be a financial nightmare.

A 3rd significant point against is even with high upfit costs there often are restrictive covenants imposed upon the area by local, national and state historic conservation groups. The community feels they have an interest in preservation and set higher standards which usually result in restrictions on what and how a store can be up-fitted..

4th point in contra will be much smaller square footage to work with. Most downtowns do not have existing spaces to handle chain grocers, big boxes, or car dealerships. These type stores bring to them lots of foot traffic but they require large 100,000 sq. ft. buildings and parking for 100’s of cars. Anything that large would destroy the downtown simply by it’s size in most historic downtown districts..

Fifth and finally, last point in contra will be often the historic downtowns have special taxes on the properties that other areas of a town do not. This means the taxes get passed on in rents often. The tax may be used to promote the area but in some situations those same taxes go into a general fund and are not used to enhance the businesses in the special tax districts..

So there we have some of the arguments for each side.

So, in the final analysis is creating a business in a historic downtown district a good thing? or a bad thing?

It depends on your type of business and your overall objectives. Many downtown business owners choose their locations because of the pace of life, quality issues and for many it’s civic pride to be part of a history, to add to the quality of that history and to preserve the good from those who preceded them. Often downtown’s biggest strengths are the character of those who choose to try. It creates an air of excitement that customers can build off of, enjoy and continue to visit over and over, bringing new friends to show off “their town”.

Living the Condo Life in Downtown Seattle

If you have been blessed with the opportunity to move to Seattle, congratulations! Located in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle comes with anything that a big city has to offer and so much more! Being at the edge of the Puget Sound which links to the Pacific Ocean by way of the directly of Juan de Fuca, Seattle provides a modern city lifestyle along with breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and lush greenery of the surrounding areas. You find yourself in one of the gateways to the world.

With the heart of city business being in the downtown area, you should give top thing to think about to establishing your residence in one of the many condos situated in downtown Seattle. With the excellent public transportation system in Seattle, this would make getting to work relatively easy. For those working in Seattle but living outside in surrounding areas, the commutes by automobile or ferry can take up a significant amount of time, specifically throughout durations of inclement weather in fall, winter and early spring. But if you are currently downtown in which the action is, you can avoid all that and take the bus if not walk to work. Clear, fresh air is the norm and if you are a coffee lover, Seattle is paradise!

If you are not readily able to see which condos in the downtown part of Seattle you would contemplate relocating to, don’t worry! With World-wide-web access, you can review a multitude of websites that give you virtual tours of what your prospective condo in Seattle’s downtown area would look like. Some of the issues to keep in mind are wherever you would be working (or spending retirement!), any of the many sights you could possibly like to be close to and of training the price. Be sure to do some research on Pike’s location industry, the Seattle Center and the Westlake Mall (excellent shopping!). Also, cultural events take place year-round that are world type. For those who are sports fans, the Seattle Mariners for baseball enthusiasts and the Seahawks are in town for football buffs. Since you will be in one of the condos in downtown Seattle, getting to and from these events will be no problem! If you have ever desired to go para-sailing, fishing or catch a ride in a seaplane, having a condo in downtown Seattle will allow you to be there in no time!

Prices for condos in the downtown area of Seattle can range from the mid $200K range to over $1 million depending on your price range and choices. As with any spot of future residence, be sure to carry out detailed research so that you are conscious of what amenities come with the property as well as any obligations that you will face as an owner such as upkeep fees or something else that a covenant may require. If you are in a position where you can come to Seattle right away to see issues for yourself, find a realtor that you wish to do business with and let them know you are coming. As you develop your plan for relocating to Seattle, make your choices known so that way when you arrive, you can go straight to the downtown Seattle condos that you match your tastes.

You find that shortly after getting established in your condo in downtown Seattle, there will be many more rewards to enjoy as well. Panoramic views, cultural events, restaurants offering cuisines from around the world, shopping venues and access to top-notch sporting events await you. If you are a traveler, ferries close to your condo in downtown Seattle are positioned by to whisk you up to beautiful Victoria or Vancouver, B.C. This is a city that has a charm unique to itself and with you in your new condo in downtown Seattle, you will be in the prime location to absorb it all!

Downtown Long Beach Market Study

Between 1990 and 2008, downtown Long Beach has increased greatly in population and has outpaced the county in general and Los Angeles County. The downtown area grew by 32-percent during this time and this was primarily due to the increase in new housing units as well as a slight increase in household sizes. The average age of downtown Long Beach residents is between ages 25 and 44. Single-person homes are the most prevalent households in the area and this includes homes with no young children or homes with adults whose children moved out of the home.

A majority of residents in this location work in retail and manufacturing. Other downtown residents work in the healthcare and education sector while other residents work for the City. One factor in the rise of manufacturing jobs downtown is the port activity. More people are working in healthcare due to the increase in new healthcare companies, and California State University at Long Beach employs many people in the education sector.

Most local residents don’t drive to their destination because they can easily walk, ride a bike or use public transportation to get around. Fifty-five percent of downtown residents drive to work compared to 75-percent of the rest of the city. A majority of residents who live downtown earn an income of between $50,000 to $100, 000 especially those who recently moved into the newer housing units.

Some main benefits of the downtown area include waterfront access, the historic architecture, high chances of steady employment, the young and vibrant population and diverse activities to get involved in. Downtown is also becoming more eco-friendly and this is seen with the support of new bike-friendly zones and the ability to walk to most places.

Jobs in the downtown area are expected to grow significantly and the main areas for future job growth include the professional, healthcare and technology sectors. In addition to this, there are many retail establishments and restaurants which cater to the professionals in downtown Long Beach. More business owners are considering a move downtown because it’s becoming too expensive to start and maintain businesses in other parts of Los Angeles County.

Overall, the downtown section of Long Beach has been successful in bringing new industries and businesses to the area. Housing is also a strong indicator of local revitalization as younger people move to this area. The hotel market is also booming and this is because of constant activity at the local Convention Center.