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Old 07-22-2014, 03:52 PM
JJG JJG started this thread
 
Location: Fort Worth
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I asked this question yesterday somewhere else, but I thought it would be a good topic.

When it comes to downtown, what was the smartest decision your city ever made?

For Fort Worth, it was Sundance Square. It's in the heart of downtown and it's our most attractive district and arguably, best attraction.



Before the early 90's, downtown Fort Worth as a whole was not a place you'd want to be, especially after 5pm. There were abandoned buildings that were crumbling, lots of crime, and just this feeling of depression.





It wasn't until the late 80s when the Bass Family (the wealthiest and most powerful family in the city) put money and effort back into downtown, making plans to revitalize the core.



25 years later, after finally completing the main plaza, Sundance Square has become the best asset to the city of Fort Worth. It is our main gathering place, has become a great background for annual events, another main option for music acts & artists, and even played host to ESPN twice within 4 years. The neighborhood that once had some of the most depressing places to be is now home to many restaurants, art galleries, shops, apartments, one of the best opera houses in the country, and more.




Probably the best thing about it is knowing that the entire plan isn't even finished yet...
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:09 PM
 
Location: Chicago
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for Chicago in the Daley years (Richard II, of course) saw in the greater downtown area the redevelopment of Navy Pier, the creation of the Museum Campus, streetscaping with flower beds in the medians, the demalling of State Street (correcting a disaster), closure of Miegs Field on the lakefront to return it to parkland, expansion of McCormick Place to keep its status as the nation's greatest convention center, creating a river walk along the Chicago River, a rebuilt Soldier Field and, of course, Millennium Park. Chicago's draw for suburbanites and out-of-towners has always been rightfully great, but this enhanced it. Every one of these was a civic project.
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Old 07-22-2014, 04:55 PM
 
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For Phoenix I would say putting an Arizona State University campus downtown. The central core still has a long way to go, but getting students down there has helped put life into the area and is spurring the development of restaurants and other amenities.
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Old 07-22-2014, 10:13 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
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For Cleveland, not knocking down Playhouse Square to build a parking lot. The theaters were slated for demolition in the 1970s, when Ray Shephardson, the man who famously restored theaters across several cities afterwords (and tragically took his own life a few months ago) started a grass roots effort to save them. They are now the largest collection of theaters outside of New York City.

Then:


Now:


A close second would be not knocking down the Marcel Breuer designed Ameritrust Tower, which was more recently slated for demo. The county, which owned it, and a developer thankfully decided to save this mid-century brutalist masterpiece and convert it into luxury apartments, a hotel, and a high end grocery store. Historic reuse FTW!

Then:


Now:
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Old 07-23-2014, 05:22 PM
 
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Seattle - Finally getting a Buffalo Wild Wings. Haha.
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Old 07-23-2014, 09:01 PM
 
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The placement of the arena downtown was a major catalyst for the revitalization downtown.

Downtown Nashville improved some from what I would say was the low point in the 80s...when being downtown after dark was a real safety issue. Lower Broadway had cleaned up a bit from it's more seedy days in the 70s-80s. But it was still not a place where the average citizen would feel safe being at night.

In the early/mid 90s, Nashville decided to build a new arena to try to lure an NBA or NHL team. Thankfully they did not go the popular route at that time and locate out in the burbs...rather it was placed at the end of The District, Nashville's famed street of honkytonks. Soon after completion, Nashville landed an NHL expansion team.

What this did to downtown was bring crowds of 10-20,000 (depending on the event) several times per week, after work ours. This injection of foot traffic boosted the business of bars and restaurants, and also vastly improved the safety of the area (crowds of people rather than nearly empty streets). On top of this, I think the arena experience itself is enhanced because of the quick, walkable access to tons of nightlife -- which would likely not be the case had it been decided to build the arena in a more suburban environment, or had they picked an area generally devoid of nightlife.
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Old 07-23-2014, 10:57 PM
 
Location: The canyon (with my pistols and knife)
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For Pittsburgh, it was the construction of two new sports stadiums and a new convention center back in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Predictably, the quintessential Pittsburgh "I'm not happy unless I'm bitching" crowd bitched about it -- some still do even today -- but they can all go fist themselves, because here's where Pittsburgh would be without them:


1. Pittsburgh wouldn't have arguably the best ballpark in Major League Baseball, and the Pirates wouldn't be there anymore.

2. The Steelers would be stuck on four Lombardi Trophies instead of an NFL-best six.

3. Pittsburgh would never have hosted the G20 Summit that put it back on the international map.

4. The land near Three Rivers Stadium would never be developed properly, and would stay off the tax rolls.

5. The riverfronts near downtown Pittsburgh would remain underdeveloped.

6. "Green" building construction would have had a much harder time taking hold in the city.


The focus on riverfront development in Pittsburgh began under Tom Murphy, the mayor who got the stadiums and convention center built. Sadly, he was ahead of his time, and those who hated him the most have tried to whitewash his name from the city's recent history. To be sure, he made his mistakes, but these projects were not among them. If anything, the view from PNC Park enabled the city to sell itself domestically, and the attention paid to the G20 Summit enabled the city to sell itself internationally.
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Old 07-24-2014, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Chicago
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gnutella View Post

1. Pittsburgh wouldn't have arguably the best ballpark in Major League Baseball, and the Pirates wouldn't be there anymore.
talk about a home run hit all the way across the Allegheny. you absolutely could not come up with a better designed ballpark and setting. and the brilliance in the simplicity: a small, intimate 2 tiered park (unheard of in the modern era) with no "quirks for the sake of quirks" (PNC is as straight forward as they come). Wrigley and Fenway have no closer relative in MLB than PNC Park.
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Old 07-24-2014, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Minneapolis (St. Louis Park)
5,991 posts, read 8,328,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrockettandTubbs View Post
Seattle - Finally getting a Buffalo Wild Wings. Haha.
Downtown? I'm jealous! BW3 is BASED in the Minneapolis area and downtown Mpls does not have a restaurant yet. Figures.

This is a GREAT idea for a thread by the way, and to me seems very original -- great job!

I'll do Minneapolis since I know the most about it vs. the other cities I've lived in. The best decision the city ever made in making downtown great is also very arguably the worst decision ever made: skyways.

They keep people moving and milling about during normal business hours in any kind of weather, and like much of the Midwest and Interior Plains, Minneapolis gets some of the most unpredictable and varying weather possible. It also keeps development somewhat concentrated in the core, making for a more compact urban environment that promotes walkability (albeit at 15-20 feet above the street). You can walk between about 70 different city blocks downtown, 11 miles in total, 8 of which are just skyway, which makes it one of the largest networks in the world. On the other hand, it takes people (and businesses) off of the street and up into the 2nd level within buildings. If Minneapolis could turn inside out its skyway level retail and place it on the street instead it would be a completely different city. One way to spin this is that if the city were to ever become overcrowded like New York or Chicago can be, the skyway network would do wonders to keep those crowds in check. Short of that though, skyways and retail on the 2nd level will never work well with street-level retail and pedestrian activity, and until they can live in harmony it will continue to be both a pro and a con for downtown.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minneapolis_Skyway_System

Last edited by Min-Chi-Cbus; 07-24-2014 at 07:56 AM..
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Old 07-24-2014, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,310,229 times
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Impressive work done in Ft. Worth! I didn't know that existed.

Here in Denver, it was definitely the 16th St. Mall creation in 1982. It gives the entire downtown a "spine" of entertainment and vibrancy.




And very recently the redevelopment of Denver Union Station and the creation of an entire new, urban neighborhod adjacent to it.
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