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Old 01-30-2010, 02:55 PM
 
389 posts, read 610,550 times
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I was discussing with a friend the other day, what drives people to live an urban atmosphere the most? Is it the parks, the ammentities, the feeling of being in an urban atmosphere?? Although these factors contribute to the decision making process, there is one thing that drives an urban market the most, something that Dayton hasn't yet fully recognized: walkablity. The reason people choose the suburbs is because that is where the basic needs are and they would have to drive to them anyway if they lived downtown. The point of a downtown is supposed to be ease of access. So if downtown offered something that could really pull people in to stay...what would it be? The answer is a grocery store. Why DOESN'T downtown Dayton have a GROCERY? It's the simplest concept ever, and it's something that could possibly be one of the most important factors in making the downtown area more "liveable." If the CBD had an actual grocery like a Dorothy Lane Market then it would bring so much attention downtown as a more liveable site, which would also increase residential development, and lower taxes. I would venture to say, also, that if a grocery were to be put downtown, that it should be somewhat on the higher end. This would prevent low income, crime attracting individuals from coming to this grocery (like a walmart's effect) because they would know they couldn't afford it. But the people livng downtown most likely could afford it because most urban proffesionals are payed enough to consistently support this type of a commercial store. I would really like to know everyone's thoughts on whether this would be a good or bad investment for Dayton. I think a regular old grocery wouldn't be good, as it would attract crime. But a higher end (not overly priced) but higher end grocerer could be the fix to making downtown Dayton a true fully liveable neighborhood. I also would like to know what people would think would be a good location or site downtown for a grocerer, and if there are any plans to build one.
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Old 01-30-2010, 03:08 PM
 
204 posts, read 531,999 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickolaseposter View Post
I was discussing with a friend the other day, what drives people to live an urban atmosphere the most? Is it the parks, the ammentities, the feeling of being in an urban atmosphere?? Although these factors contribute to the decision making process, there is one thing that drives an urban market the most, something that Dayton hasn't yet fully recognized: walkablity. The reason people choose the suburbs is because that is where the basic needs are and they would have to drive to them anyway if they lived downtown. The point of a downtown is supposed to be ease of access. So if downtown offered something that could really pull people in to stay...what would it be? The answer is a grocery store. Why DOESN'T downtown Dayton have a GROCERY? It's the simplest concept ever, and it's something that could possibly be one of the most important factors in making the downtown area more "liveable." If the CBD had an actual grocery like a Dorothy Lane Market then it would bring so much attention downtown as a more liveable site, which would also increase residential development, and lower taxes. I would venture to say, also, that if a grocery were to be put downtown, that it should be somewhat on the higher end. This would prevent low income, crime attracting individuals from coming to this grocery (like a walmart's effect) because they would know they couldn't afford it. But the people livng downtown most likely could afford it because most urban proffesionals are payed enough to consistently support this type of a commercial store. I would really like to know everyone's thoughts on whether this would be a good or bad investment for Dayton. I think a regular old grocery wouldn't be good, as it would attract crime. But a higher end (not overly priced) but higher end grocerer could be the fix to making downtown Dayton a true fully liveable neighborhood. I also would like to know what people would think would be a good location or site downtown for a grocerer, and if there are any plans to build one.
It's a bit of a chicken and egg problem. A grocer like DLM or Whole Foods looks at surrounding demographics when they decide where to open stores. Downtown today probably looks like a poor fit to them, because of the low population of high-income earners. It'd be tough to do enough business downtown for a full-scale grocery to survive. They will wait until the population is there first.

The best we might get is a Whole Foods located near UD (because of the proximity to the students and Oakwood), but I'm not sure even that area could support a full-size high-end grocery.
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Old 01-31-2010, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Downtown Dayton, Ohio
116 posts, read 231,110 times
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Grocery store in the CBD is simply not going to happen - the city has been trying like mad to get a grocery downtown and I'm told they've even offered to subsidize the rent (even making it rent-free). Grocery chains don't care about free rent - they look at demographics and downtown just doesn't have them. I've heard that we need anywhere between another 5,000 to 10,000 downtown residents to even begin to attract a grocery chain. Even best case scenario, that won't happen for ten years or more.

There has been talk about a food co-op, and it would be great but it needs some strong partners to make it happen. So far all I've heard is talk.

nickolaseposter is correct about people choosing to live downtown because of walkability - this is one of the major factors for my choice of living downtown. I can walk to work as well as dozens of bars and restaurants, theaters, Riverscape, etc. Sure I'd love to have a grocery store and that is something I miss, but seeing that we only go shopping once per week, it just isn't a big deal to drive to the burbs for groceries. Driving once a week for groceries is still better than driving five days a week for work AND driving to restaurants, grocery stores and everything else (who in the burbs walks to the grocery store?)

Back to the walkability issue - downtown Dayton is probably the most walkable in the region from a resident standpoint, but downtown needs A LOT of work. Connections between amenities/entertainment destinations are absolutely awful (Riverscape/Fifth Third Field to Cannery to Oregon District to CBD/"Theater District"). We have a series of islands with emptiness in between, and the emptiness isn't going to miraculously fill up anytime soon. But the city planners are working on big plans for Patterson with taking out two lanes of traffic and making a grand pedestrian promenade that connects the Oregon District to the river - effectively extending canal walk all the way to the OD. This alone would be a great improvement.
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:25 AM
 
6,351 posts, read 13,247,427 times
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Excellent post, Billy from Dayton! I'd LOVE to one day wean my loving wife from our corner lot cul-de-sac into a nice downtown loft or apartment. but without the things you mention, it'll never happen. I'm excited about Dayton's potential. But we've still got quite a ways to go before it attracts large numbers of residents with good incomes that will attract the groceries and other merchants that will atract more residents... I honestly hope to see it happen in the years I have left on this earth!
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:35 AM
 
296 posts, read 544,662 times
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From my perspective, I am hopeful that Dayton is groping for the bottom. I think we have shed all of the significant manufacturing jobs we are going to lose, notwithstanding an occasional shop closure (but I did quantify this with significant). BEHR could prove me wrong. but I digress.

As for downtown, there is around a 31% vacancy rate there so it has a long ways to go before it's stable. I believe Billy hit the nail on the head quite well. As of yet the demographics aren't there yet to support any type of retail. Furthermore, I doubt the demographics are very good, from a site search perspective, to support any high-end retail in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding downtown. I can also support that hypothesis from the high concentration of Sav-A-Lots and Dollar stores in these neighborhoods. My advice is to not count on any significant retail chains selecting Dayton's inner ring areas until there are a lot more people around.

So what does that leave? Dayton needs to find ways to keep businesses and residents from leaving and attract new businesses and residents. That simple. If this were accomplished there would be some semblance of stable. As for shopping downtown, what could work is locally owned, small businesses. I'm thinking along the lines of The Cannery. Billy again hit another nail on the head because there is lots of infill needed downtown.
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Old 02-01-2010, 07:18 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 2,922,775 times
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Grocery store in the CBD is simply not going to happen - the city has been trying like mad to get a grocery downtown and I'm told they've even offered to subsidize the rent (even making it rent-free). Grocery chains don't care about free rent - they look at demographics and downtown just doesn't have them. I've heard that we need anywhere between another 5,000 to 10,000 downtown residents to even begin to attract a grocery chain. Even best case scenario, that won't happen for ten years or more.

I posted examples from Louisville and Sacramento in your forum of inner-city supermarkets that work. These arent downtown but one is close (the Safeway in Sacto) and the other (the Kroger in the Portland area of Louisville) is in a poorer inner-city area, akin to the Wayne & Wyoming location.

So I think for basic grocery shopping, draw a circle around downtown and keep widening it to see what you can get for a market, and so what if its poor, black and redneck as well as picking up the yuppies downtown and in the historic districts. I'd think the goal is trying to provide convenient shopping (ie not having to drive out to suburbia) for everyone, not just the well-off.

It could be, though, that Dayton is so dirt-poor and depopulated that it simply can't support a new, centrally located or inner city supermarket, so you end up with a food desert.

Last edited by JefferyT; 02-01-2010 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:07 PM
 
Location: A voice of truth, shouted down by fools.
1,086 posts, read 1,385,744 times
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My brother reported that there was a grocery downtown in the 90s. I seem to recall that it was a Schear family business. So it may simply come down to "been there, done that", IE, a tainted notion.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Dayton, OH
1,225 posts, read 2,922,775 times
Reputation: 494
^
There still is one, a small one, in the old Shears location.
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Old 02-04-2010, 11:44 AM
 
389 posts, read 610,550 times
Reputation: 139
Perhaps the Greater Downtown Plan should focus more specifically on what makes and urban environment successful, and how to apply that specifically to downtown Dayton and it's surrounding neighborhoods.
1. A grocery store or even a hopping market, preferably higher end attracts urban proffesionals.
2. A train station will support more residential development for Cincinnati/ Columbus workers who can live in Dayton and take the train to work.
3. Outdoor art creates a sense of community and a better sense of place.
4. A small public trolley like the one on Miller Lane should be implemented downtown, perhaps several even that stretch out into other surrounding neighborhoods/districts.
5. There should be some sort of public fund where those with buildings downtown can apply for financial aid to address the needs of the outside of/ or curb appeal of their building. (When the place looks clean, it attracts more business)
6. The environment should promote bike ways and should be pedestrian friendly.
7. High tech businesses should be attractive to the environment and an overall sense of education in the community should support this by offering incentives for young locals interested in taking a job in such a field like engineering, scientific research, and technology.
8. People should feel safe and secure at any time. Therefore, emergency posts should be placed throughout downtown on street corners and in public buildings.
9. Historical awareness should be preserved throughout the city, maintaining the juxtaposition of older buildings and newer buildings.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:22 PM
 
296 posts, read 544,662 times
Reputation: 96
These are all good ideas and would be helpful in their own right. But Dayton needs to keep and attract business (a.k.a. jobs/tax base), and keep and attract residents (a.k.a. tax base). None of the things you mentioned on their own would be able to sustain Dayton or even come close to turning it from decline to growth.
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