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Old 03-15-2013, 05:30 PM
 
860 posts, read 1,193,984 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gvillesc View Post
What does "Main Street area" mean? Several blocks east and west, the park, the riverwalk/greenway, and West End?

It seems like that would be the same as saying "Gervais Street area" to cover the worthwhile area of the Vista, AND the good areas of Main Street since they intersect. Seems pretty similar in concept to me.
See Columbiadata's post above to see what I mean. Several blocks east and west = actually about 2 blocks east and west from main. The West end is on Main Street.... as is the park. Do you see where I'm going with this? I love Main Street in Greenville. I go out to it at least one time a week, often more. But it just that: Main Street. It's one street that I walk down and turn around to go back the other side. I've tried walking on parallel streets and none have close to the same streetscape. Some side streets have good built environment but it drops off after a block or two.
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Old 03-15-2013, 06:27 PM
 
27,022 posts, read 23,903,324 times
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Some more observations as it pertains to the topic of this thread.

A lot of the perceptions of Columbia relative to Charleston and Greenville are related to downtown, but it should be realized that all three downtowns are at different places in their life cycles. Charleston had one of the earliest historic preservation movements in this country, but its downtown was largely in the doldrums until the 70's when Riley became mayor. The Charleston Place hotel development was the catalyst for much of the investment that followed, particularly along King Street, and the rest is history. The 70's is also when Greenville began its Main Street revitalization, which continued on through the next few decades and no one can dispute its success. Columbia's Main Street, however, was still pretty viable in the 70's, on up until the 90's in fact when the street still had department stores. So Main Street in Columbia is the "newcomer" to the Main Street revitalization process because its was the last to decline. Now the Vista began its revitalization earlier, in the 80's, but because Gervais isn't the "face" of downtown--that is, the traditional commercial corridor--it doesn't factor into the perceptions of downtown Columbia nearly as much as Main Street.

I think it should also be acknowledged that for a long time, Columbia never really tried to be more than what it needed to be; thus much of what it has historically had in terms of industry is what was necessary or made sense given its central location within the state and/or status as the capital--state government (of course), USC, banks, law firms, BCBSSC, SCANA, etc. Contrast that with Charleston, who made a concerted effort to make itself over into a renowned historic tourist destination starting in the 70's/80's (again, much of that due to Mayor Riley's leadership) and Greenville, which intentionally sought to shake its image as a decaying former textile city and began its transformation into a center of the automotive industry starting in the 90's when Gov. Campbell successfully lured BMW to the Upstate. Columbia never really had a need to be creative or innovative economically because its local economy is very stable. However, faced with the prospect of getting left in the dust if it didn't attempt to compete, it has finally begun flexing its muscles and taking advantage of its strengths. It's pretty amazing to me that Columbia became the state's largest city and urban area without really even trying. Now that it's actually putting its best foot forward and working to actively lure new industry to the area, the future really does look bright for the city.
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Old 03-20-2013, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,404 posts, read 12,951,477 times
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Maybe Columbians can just live their lives now and quit chasing. Best cities for this and best cities for that my behind.

Chunk Thompson: Against It Cities and Their Microbrews | New Republic
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:55 PM
 
3,205 posts, read 3,714,240 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbiadata View Post
Maybe Columbians can just live their lives now and quit chasing. Best cities for this and best cities for that my behind.

Chunk Thompson: Against It Cities and Their Microbrews | New Republic
Interesting article, the magazine articles are funny. They love to annoit cities as "best of-----" based on interesting criteria. This brings me back to what started this thread, when a guy opened a growled station in Greenville, he made less than flattering remarks about Columbia's ability to support these institutions. And, of course the News runs that garbage in an attempt to make Greenville appear more sophisticated. Cities like to send "hey, look at me packages" to magazines in order to get on a list. Magazines don't review real information and run with information produced in the packages. For example, Greenville was included in Southern Living's contest About foodie cities which did not include Charlotte. Charlotte has a downtown culinary school with 5k students and more local restaurants in one neighborhood than Greenville has in all of downtown. But, Greenville is published because they send out "info packets". So, I can see he article's point, the magazine list are garbage.

Only someone with no knowledge of business & economics would believe Columbia can't support these stores or national retailers.
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Old 03-20-2013, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Columbia, SC
6,493 posts, read 13,534,830 times
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I'd rather our niche be as "the city with a plethora of locally-owned stores". Who needs chains?
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:15 AM
 
5,628 posts, read 8,636,099 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waccamatt View Post
I'd rather our niche be as "the city with a plethora of locally-owned stores". Who needs chains?

Yeah there was an article somewhere that was questioning why so many cities want to look the same and the potential downfall that could await many of them if they build their whole economy/brand around the same "chain" concept.. i.e. Town Centers, Festival Market Places run by corporations dominated by chains, et..al especially if they are no different that their peer cities nearby thus not offering visitors/tourist any variety.

.It didnt say that all chains are bad, but a diverse mix of chains and locally owned stores is likely a better approach... So, there may be some validity in being "unique", "independent", "boutique"
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Old 03-21-2013, 07:51 AM
 
545 posts, read 681,634 times
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I've always said Columbia is a nice city that does a ****-poor job of marketing itself. It's not a tourist destination, and it shouldn't try to be one. It's a great place to live and raise a family, and one that we've never been shy to show off to friends and family when they visit.

My wife and I have never struggled to find things to do, places to eat, places to shop, etc. It's just that sometimes we have to hunt for them instead of them being presented to us on a silver platter. Get out on the weekends, read the free times, and explore. Columbia has a lot going on besides "5 Points", "The Vista", or even "Main St.". It's a more interesting city than just it's entertainment/shopping districts.

Columbia needs to focus on being a great place to live first, everything else will follow.
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Old 03-21-2013, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,404 posts, read 12,951,477 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TXGamecock View Post
I've always said Columbia is a nice city that does a ****-poor job of marketing itself. It's not a tourist destination, and it shouldn't try to be one. It's a great place to live and raise a family, and one that we've never been shy to show off to friends and family when they visit.

My wife and I have never struggled to find things to do, places to eat, places to shop, etc. It's just that sometimes we have to hunt for them instead of them being presented to us on a silver platter. Get out on the weekends, read the free times, and explore. Columbia has a lot going on besides "5 Points", "The Vista", or even "Main St.". It's a more interesting city than just it's entertainment/shopping districts.

Columbia needs to focus on being a great place to live first, everything else will follow.
It also needs to focus on not giving a crap what others think of it, but only what it thinks of itself.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:03 AM
 
3,205 posts, read 3,714,240 times
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National retailers will be coming to Columbia. I don't think that is a question. But, I do agree that a lot of cities are trying to be so unique by attracting as many micro brew pubs as possible in old brick buildings. Or, using tax credits to offer subsidized rent to national retailers to give the "appearance" of wealth. Nothing wrong with developing a center city but, each one shod build on it's own personality. Columbia is doing a great job in building out the Vista and Main. While there is not a completely new streetscape with new "old world" lighting, it is not necessarily needed. Main Street has a mix of Highrise buildings and low rise historical structures. The city is doing well in attracting some regional retailers while building out the local base. The city also has the challenge of managing being the stat capital and hosting a major research university. Creating a center city that manages those entities in addition to business entities can be tricky. Columbia manages this well but fails when marketing what is good about the city. For instance, everyone knows that Greenville sends out "look at me" packages to national media outlets. While a lot of the information is as reliable as an Enron accounting statement, it does show the city in a positive light. Also, many downtown businesses include short narratives Abiut Greenville. While cheesy, it is another way to plant positive feelings about Greenville with people who visit the website.

Columbia has a ton of natural assets, I just saw a good article in the Observer Abiut the Congaree National Forest and the zoo is visited by about half of Charlotte annually. But, the city let's state government and others define it. I was a little surprised when I started looking at metrics to see that Columbia has been one of the fastest growing parts of SC for the last decade, is one of the wealthiest, one of the best educated, has the largest deposit base, and it a terrific place to live. The city needs to tell the story to a regional and national audience. While I am glad that The State does not publish "we are getting a new hotel in about 3 years", the city and local media could do a lot more.
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Old 03-21-2013, 09:19 AM
 
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
9,404 posts, read 12,951,477 times
Reputation: 1980
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSP101 View Post
National retailers will be coming to Columbia. I don't think that is a question. But, I do agree that a lot of cities are trying to be so unique by attracting as many micro brew pubs as possible in old brick buildings. Or, using tax credits to offer subsidized rent to national retailers to give the "appearance" of wealth. Nothing wrong with developing a center city but, each one shod build on it's own personality. Columbia is doing a great job in building out the Vista and Main. While there is not a completely new streetscape with new "old world" lighting, it is not necessarily needed. Main Street has a mix of Highrise buildings and low rise historical structures. The city is doing well in attracting some regional retailers while building out the local base. The city also has the challenge of managing being the stat capital and hosting a major research university. Creating a center city that manages those entities in addition to business entities can be tricky. Columbia manages this well but fails when marketing what is good about the city. For instance, everyone knows that Greenville sends out "look at me" packages to national media outlets. While a lot of the information is as reliable as an Enron accounting statement, it does show the city in a positive light. Also, many downtown businesses include short narratives Abiut Greenville. While cheesy, it is another way to plant positive feelings about Greenville with people who visit the website.

Columbia has a ton of natural assets, I just saw a good article in the Observer Abiut the Congaree National Forest and the zoo is visited by about half of Charlotte annually. But, the city let's state government and others define it. I was a little surprised when I started looking at metrics to see that Columbia has been one of the fastest growing parts of SC for the last decade, is one of the wealthiest, one of the best educated, has the largest deposit base, and it a terrific place to live. The city needs to tell the story to a regional and national audience. While I am glad that The State does not publish "we are getting a new hotel in about 3 years", the city and local media could do a lot more.
Actually, while there's always room for improvement in advertising and public relations, the CEO of the Columbia Convention and Visitors' Bureau has taken promotion of the Columbia area to a new level compared to the former CEO. The fruits of his labor are largely what we are seeing in terms of Columbia's improved tourist stats and added amenities. He seems to genuinely love Columbia, but he is objective and has done well at raising the region's national profile so far by helping to build consensus among the the area's leaders.
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