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”.

Albuquerque Downtown Hotels Discounts, Deals and Reservations

Providing their guests with the best possible service available, Quality Inn & Suites in downtown Albuquerque extends its welcome through deals and discounts. Guests can avail of discounted room rates easily with a simple tap of the touch pad. You can just check online or you can call them directly.

Guests can enjoy a room for only US $60 a night. They offer a complimentary continental breakfast, airport-hotel transfer and outdoor pool with sundeck and a spa tub. Other amenities include a fitness and business center, parking and room service. Several additional amenities can be availed but may incur additional fees. This includes access to Hi-speed Internet, babysitting and allowing small pets to stay in the hotel.

The hotel is conveniently located in downtown Albuquerque. It is 2 miles away from the Convention Center, Historic Old Town, Explora and BioPark. Moreover, the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, National Atomic Museum and the Sandia Peak Mountains are a few minutes away by bus or tram.

Econo Lodge Downtown
Located in Downtown Albuquerque, Econo Lodge offers standard rooms with big and comfortable beds, air conditioning and heating units as well as satellite TVs, refrigerators and tea and coffee makers. All these for only US$55 a night! A room rental comes with a free continental breakfast and coffee as well as usage of phone services for local calls and an outdoor heated pool.

Business and corporate travelers can be provided with additional services such as larger work desks and access to hi-speed Internet and fax machines. It is conveniently located near the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque Aquarium, Sandia Peak Ski Area, Abrozino Balloon Mexico, Fine Arts District and the Historic Old Town. Discounts and points for Choice Privileges® can be earned online as well.

Silver Moon Lodge Old Town
Located within the history Route 66, Silver Moon Lodge Old Town offers its customers with the best of southwestern hospitality. This hotel in downtown Albuquerque features a fitness room, in-room coffee maker, meeting and parking space and a complimentary hotel-to-airport transfer shuttle. They offer 24-hour service and is pet-friendly.

There are various quaint shops and restaurants that are idyllic and iconic in this historic town. Less than a mile away is the Whittlesey House that was built in 1903 and Lindy’s Diner built in the 1920’s. Silver Room Lodge offers rooms with a starting rate of US$60. More discounts can be availed by reserving online as well.

Plaza Inn Albuquerque
This hotel in downtown Albuquerque is a full service, triple A three-diamond and newly refurbished hotel that offers rooms for a starting price of US$55 per night. This deal is as welcoming and sweet as Southwestern Hospitality.

Guests are welcome to use their indoor heated pool, sundeck, indoor and outdoor heated spa tubs as well as fitness center. They have an entertainment center equipped with a Foosball, ping pong and air hockey table. Families are free to recreate an outdoor southern-barbeque in their picnic area.

A room reservation includes daily continental breakfast, popcorn and evening refreshments and free-flowing coffee in the hotel lobby. Various amenities can be availed, depending on the room package guests’ will reserve. This hotel also has a dry cleaning service, business center, hi-speed wireless Internet, guest parking, expanded shuttle service and coin operated laundry area. Room reservations can also be made online.

Downtown Accommodation and Inns – Oakland, RI

Downtown Oakland is the core area of the central business district in Oakland, California roughly bounded by Jefferson Street on the northwest, Harrison Street on the southeast, 6th Street on the southwest and Grand Avenue on the northeast.

The downtown area is expanded to refer to the residential and industrial Jack London warehouse district and Jack London Square areas, Lakeside Apartment District on the west side of the Lake Merritt, Oakland’s Chinatown, Civic Center district as well as the south end of Oakland’s Broadway Auto Raw area.

The Jack London Square is a famous tourist attraction on Oakland, California’s waterfront.Owned by Port of Oakland and named after Jack London, it houses hotels, restaurants, stores, a ferry dock, an Amtrak station, a movie theater and the Hienold’s First and Last Chance Saloon.

Downtown Oakland houses a condominium and apartment dwellers, tall modern office buildings, numerous retail businesses, shorter mixed-use historic buildings, the hubs of BART and AC Transit.

Downtown Oakland Airport Inns

Executive Inn and Suite is one of the popular inn hotels near the Oakland International Airport.The hotel is about 5 minutes away from Downtown Oakland’s Historic and Business District, Chinatown, Convention Center and Jack London Square entertainment venues and restaurant.The property provides courtesy shuttle services from the hotel, Oakland airport, Alameda, Jack London Square and Downtown Oakland itself.This property also provides a complimentary 24-hour business center with printers and computers.Other hotel amenities include meeting rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, banquet facilities, spa tub, fireplace in the lobby and Internet access in the public areas.

The hotel offers 224 furnished guestrooms and suites.All rooms include video-game consoles, microwaves and compact refrigerators while suites include safes, large desks with ergonomic chairs, separate sitting areas and 32-inch cable televisions.

The hotel’s complete address is 1755 Embarcadero in Oakland, California.For more information, call them at (510) 536-6633 or fax them at (510) 536-6006.For reservations, you can also call (800) 346-6331.

Best Western Airport Inn and Suites is a 3-storey hotel situated close to many of Oakland’s tourist sites.Attractions close to the area include the McAfee Stadium, Alameda Beaches, Oakland Zoo, the Jack London Square, San Francisco Convention Center, Great America Theme Park and the Six Flags Marine World.The hotel is just a mile away from the Oakland International Airport, 15 miles away from the San Francisco International Airport and 30 miles away from the San Jose International Airport.The hotel provides a complimentary continental breakfast which is served every morning, an indoor swimming pool, exercise facility and courtesy shuttle.

Other hotel amenities include meeting facilities, banquet facilities, a business center, fax services, photocopy services and high-speed Internet access.Guestrooms at this hotel feature cable satellite televisions, in-room movies, microwaves, refrigerators, coffee makers and work areas or desks.Other room amenities include irons and ironing board, AM and FM alarm clocks, hair dryers, dataports and high-speed Internet connectivity.The complete address of this hotel is 170 Hegenberger Loop in Oakland, California.For additional information, call them at 510-633-0500 or fax them at 510-633-1040.