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Old 10-09-2018, 08:36 PM
Location: New York NY
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Of those five cities, I’d seriously question SF. Between the financial district and Union Square it appears that there just is not a lot of residential. Some high-priced stuff of course. But nothing even close to the number of folks who live in downtown Chicago or New York, even after taking into account the different size populations. SF downtown has plenty of tourism, shopping, and offices. But residents? Not so much.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Katarina Witt View Post
With another boom beyond the current one so there's critical mass, plus waaay more retail, someday.
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Old 10-09-2018, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by 2Easy View Post
Isnít DTLA a significant retail destination?
For quincinera dresses and $20 suits, sure. Pretty sparse otherwise despite some recent additions.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:43 AM
Location: North America
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Originally Posted by mhays25 View Post
For quincinera dresses and $20 suits, sure. Pretty sparse otherwise despite some recent additions.
Not sure why you are trying to downplay the retail scene in Downtown LA. It is pretty massive and diverse. There is actually quite a lot of different wholesale market stores especially in the fashion district. You can go to some of these places and have custom made dresses/suits rather than off the rack. Lots of youtube videos of the fashion district. Few places in all of America have what Downtown LA has and that makes its retail scene unique. If you want to look down at type of swap meet fashion as beneath you, thats fine. But with literally hundreds of these types of stores, plenty to keep one busy.

But the typical shopping mall USA type person, Downtown LA lacks that scene especially from top and middle end stores.
It has Macys, Target, Zara, H&M, Victorias Secret, Brooks Brothers, Ross, Burlington, Nordstrom Rack, Sheik Shoes, Footaction, and some others
Boutiques like middle upscale - COS, BKNR, Acne Studios, APC, Gentle Monster and many more lesser known.
Will get in near future Apple Store, Uniqlo, Jordan flagship store, Vans Flagship, West Elm furniture.

So overall there isnt a lot every type of shop in you would find in a typical shopping mall. You wont find the type of shopping like in Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills or a Melrose. It will take time, but there is still a lot of places to shop in Downtown if one needs some shopping.

When the Broadway Trade Center reopens across from the under construction Apple store, more retail space. When the Oceanwide development opens in late 2019, with the large 2 level mall across Staples Center/LA Live it might bring in higher end shopping especially with the Grand Hyatt and million dollar condos all around.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:28 AM
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So you agree then. When it at least has what you'd find in a typical mall, it'll be more like a top-tier downtown.
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:33 AM
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Old 10-10-2018, 09:40 AM
Location: New Mexico via Ohio via Indiana
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...the key to this list, despite the naysayers, is not new housing (most downtowns are now experiencing a renaissance with that at differing levels), it is retail.
Retail at the downtown, traditional (but could be with or without department stores in 2018), big-city level. Not sure all of the suggested cities on this list have that (NYC does, Chicago and Mag Mile does, etc).
And as far as the phrase "downtown" is concerned it does need to be limited. Simply being in the city proper or not on the city's edge does not qualify it as "downtown." Though many erroneously use those areas as part of the category.
I do agree with the OP that downtown needs to be fully functioning. Shoving high-end retro condos into old vacant downtown buildings is nice and has seen a rebirth in US downtowns, but without retail (how can you have 10,000 new residents in a city neighborhood downtown and only one or none grocery stores within a mile of it?) it is not "fully functioning."
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:32 PM
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With Boston added to that list, all six seem to have that.

That's about the mix of tourists, business travelers, office workers, walkable residents (renters/owners, various ages, various income levels), other local residents, college students, etc. You need a mix of all of those. They all have different tendencies in what they buy and what times of the day/week/year they do it. If you lack pleasure tourists, who's out wandering the waterfront at 10:30 am on Tuesday? If you lack residents with high incomes, who's buying expensive couches?

It's also about density. Some urban cores might average 10,000 or 15,000 residents per square mile. That's very different from 30,000 or 50,000. My neighborhood at 50,000/sm still isn't dense enough.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:37 PM
Location: Chicago
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Originally Posted by Enean View Post
Actually, Milwaukee has a fully functioning downtown. Lots of new construction, condos and apartments, AND tourists, as downtown is on Lake Michigan. It's always bustling. I guess retail leaves something to be desired, but if you count Milwaukee's Third Ward, retail is taken care of. You probably could count it, as the two adjoin.
Milwaukee has a "secret weapon", one that gives it a leg up on other cities: open water.

Downtown Milwaukee, the east central region of the city, faces out to the open, blue waters of Lake Michigan. I would contend that the only downtowns of American cities that face directly out to open waters would be those on the Great Lakes. Ocean cities need the shelter of harbors and don't have their DT's directly on the shore. If you think of the downtowns of major US coastal cities: Boston, New York, Miami, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, none faces directly out to open water and only one, Boston, comes close (but still has islands and peninsulas that shelter it off.

Going back then to the Great Lakes, four major cities have downtowns along their shores: Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, and Buffalo. I'll divide these into two groups:

Cleveland, Buffalo: These cities for a long time had ignored their lakefronts and had much of these areas set off for industrial, transportation and other such uses. Both cities have come a long way in creating a welcoming lakefront, particularly Cleveland. But it is hard to erase the past and the fact that that recreation, aesthetics weren't the guiding principle of waterfront usage, it would have taken a massive job to truly redevelop. Both have done an admirable job of making their lakefronts inviting.

Chicago, Milwaukee:More than a century back, these two cities evolved around turning their lakefronts into the incredible assets they are. Parkland and beaches abut downtown and stretch out beyond into the neighborhoods. In Chicago, that pretty much means from the North Side lakefront (some 5 miles north of downtown) straight down the lakefront to the Loop & environs and stretching south along the lakefront (again some 5 or so miles), pretty much in a continuous strip. Milwaukee differs a bit in that the special lakefront zone of parks, beaches, marinas, is mainly downtown and north along the lakefront, coming close to but not reaching the north city limits.

The aforementioned Third Ward with its old warehouses and other industrial era structures, is hard by the lakefront and though access to the lake from the Milwaukee River has become a real attraction, a place with charming old structures that has buildings converted to lofts (and new construction as well) offering boat access to those living there. Indeed, many people who have bought property here are Chicagoans who have basically run out of places in Chicagoland to get boat mooring

But my point here is that Milwaukee has that downtown lakefront, the treasured one it wants and that downtown is aligned with the city's East Side, the neighborhoods going north from downtown that are trendy and attached to it.

Forgive me if I got too wordy (I did), but here's my real point: for Milwaukee, there is a built in advantage to being a "downtown oriented" city because of the invaluable lakefront setting. It is a huge contributor to the density of housing in condos and apartments facing out on Lake Michigan. Downtown Milwaukee packs its weight far more than cities of similar size.....and, yes, as you can tell: i'm convinced Lake Michigan's open waters are part of the success.
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Old 10-10-2018, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by the topper View Post
U.S. has 5 fully functioning downtowns: 1. NY 2. Chicago 3. SF 4. Philly 5. Seattle

Fully functional downtowns are complete employment, retail and commercial center with very good housing and tourism base.

Rest of U.S. downtowns are just up and coming or moribund. This is strictly from being totally activated and being a true "Center"

There are probably hundreds of downtowns that meet the criteria in the second sentence.

Princeton, NJ
Greenwich, CT
Greenville, SC
Charleston, SC
Providence, RI

Etc., etc., etc.

For the downtowns that totally outshine everything else in town, there are probably not a lot of them, but remember that even Manhattan has only a portion of the office, housing and retail space of the NYC metro area.
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