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Old 08-28-2012, 04:41 PM
 
Location: USA
3,045 posts, read 7,586,140 times
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Shreveport seems to be on the right track with some things. A sunday newspaper article talked about the demand for apts and condos in downtown. So says the paper the demand is so strong that many have been turned away because there aren't enough places.

The problem I see tho' is that there are no stores and businesses available to the residents. They must either drive or take the bus to such venues. I don't know what the local thoughts are about the lack of stores. Having to go out of downtown to shop kind of defeats the self-contained lifestyle of living downtown. Does anyone agree or have any thoughts on this?
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Old 08-28-2012, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Kennesaw, GA
167 posts, read 826,463 times
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My husband and I were just discussing this the other day
It seems like someone (a person with a lot of money sitting around) could really cash in on this idea. Just like other cities, people spend years moving out of the inner core farther out into the suburbs until it starts getting ridiculus to drive in. Then the reverse happens...people start to trickle back into the city for one reason or another. Now would be the time to invest in some dilapidated downtown buildings! Start fixing them up and renting them out. Once investors see that folks are living there, walking out and about, that may spark some businesses to open. I would love to see that in Shreveport. And if we can ever move back to Shreveport in the coming years, we are going to find a way to be active in helping the city be the best it can be.
It's sad to read all the negative comments on here. It's not a terrible place to live. Really, it isn't. In fact, I have had opposite experiences to the posters above. I've never been approached by anyone trying to sell me Jesus. And I've never thought that people of other races were secretly hating me. In fact, I find the people to be very warm and welcoming.
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Old 09-02-2012, 04:43 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,063,480 times
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LoL: Sorry...I had to chuckle about your comment about "Selling you Jesus". Don't know how long you've lived here or what circles you're in but give it time.

As for living downtown: It's a great idea but here's the deal: There are income restrictions for persons who want to live in the bulk of what's available (i.e. Lee Hardware (artists) Apts and the soon-to-be complete Olgivie Hardware Bldg). Last time I read, the Olgivie Hardware Bldg (which has been touted by the DDA) is income-restricted in that a family of 2 can't earn more than $28,000 yr to be eligible to live in the space. By making these lower income restricted, the developer from Dallas got grants for the cost of rehabbing this property; in order to get the grant. . . the bldg has to be designated "Low Income Only".

It's a good-news/bad-news scenario: the building gets rehabbed but because of the income levels of the tenants, you're not going to inject the downtown population with higher-spending/2-income couples which is what's really needed to attract the kind of support businesses (24-hr grocery, cleaners, deli/coffee shops) that everyone envisions for a thriving cultural central biz / arts district. 2-earner households grossing $28K actually means about $22K +/- AGI, after you take out the rent, utilities, car, insurance, hhld exp, etc.; these folks don't have a lot to spend on trendy shops, cafe's and stores downtown. And you can bet that stores downtown will charge more than Super1 or Wal-Mart, so you can see how the biz-model for this is doomed from the beginning as far as incentivizing retail to locate downtown. They won't have customers 'cuz Wal-Mart's down the road.

Now there are some brave souls/biz types who are interested in rehabbing some of the older structures for such purposes but again, entrepreneurs are going after redevelopment grants and that comes with strings: (low-income housing project).
Otherwise the seed money will not be coming.

And another thing is safety or perceived safety. Have you walked around downtown after hours? While some say statistically that downtown is "safe", you have to ask how many crimes or incidents go unreported? Do a google on "Shreveport Fights" and you'll get a fair number of hits on YouTube or Google videos showing fights between bar patrons downtown. It may not be a lot "statistically" but the only statistic you need to be worried about is you. If you live downtown do you want to be around the potential for that? I don't go downtown after a certain hour because the out-of-town partiers and hell-raisers show up in the big city. Forget all the happy propaganda the DDA and DSU and SCVSB want you to focus on, there's a seedier side that no one wants or cares to talk about 'cuz it ain't a pretty sight.

No place is safe but I can tell you I've been to other cities like Shreveport where the downtowns have it together and they've done it without making things low-income. The city messed up on the Red River Entertainment District back in Mayor Hightower's day when they loaned millions to the fast-talking developer John Elkington who didn't deliver on his promises. About the only good thing was they re-habbed the former Shreve-Square but demolished a lot of the old historical bldgs. without a 2nd thought. Political cronies got lucrative contracts for construction and no body raised an eyebrow. Fast-forward and the millions spent won't ever be recovered because no one has tried to go after Elkington. The people who made the decisions are out-of-office, their friends got their money and no one cares about the lost money Elkington got. There were several major-major faux pas' that took place with the district because all of the sudden the place got inunndated with folks who weren't customers but just youngsters "hanging out", scaring away would-be customers just by their appearance. Add one or two random downtown shootings and you had a PR / Safety issue which wasn't handled properly and things went south fast.*

(*Same thing happened with South Park Mall in S. Shreveport back in the mid-1990's.)

I know 4 folks who lived downtown, some even bought 2 bldgs on Texas, had an art gallery on one side and lived in the other. They took the gamble and lost. Big reason they moved was due to the (lack of) quality of life. With bars open until 6am every day, they couldn't sleep with the traffic noise and on weekends it was worse.

I agree, downtown could be liveable but there are a lot of challenges to overcome; many of which have been "self-inflicted" through the years by city officials looking only in one direction and not taking in the whole picture. Making bldgs income-restricted isn't the answer. The United Jewelers & Lee Hardware bldgs were rehabbed over 10 years ago and were supposed to create incentives for local businesses to locate nearby. Where are they? They never came and nothing has happened. No one took the next step because the politicians who promoted all that are out-of-office, their friends got their money and no one cares. History will repeat itself, it has and continues to this day. Definition of Insanity is doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. There's more than meets the eye to downtown and all the Kool-Aid drinking and rosy-propaganda won't change things. Incentives to rehab will bring developers but if all they're going to do is make lower-income housing, you'll get lower-income results. Do the math.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:30 PM
 
Location: USA
3,045 posts, read 7,586,140 times
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The local developers unfortunately haven't a preservationist bone in their body and I know it all depends on whats lucrative; however I wish we would use what we already have available and not go and build more and more sprawl. Getting tired of that. Very tired.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:32 PM
 
Location: USA
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There are some condos downtown albeit in very limited numbers that are luxury scale and are priced that way. How much more low income housing do we need? It's all over the place already.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:35 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,063,480 times
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You have to understand that unless a developer ties their project in some form or fashion as helping low-income or under-advantaged populace, they won't get grant money. That's their incentive. The thing here is that this is typical of what has historical been the pattern for downtown Shreveport, look at the Lee hardware Apts. They've been around for more than 10 years, they were supposed to spur on other redevelopment in that area with shops and galleries for all the artists living in that bldg to show their art. There was this vision of a vibrant art district surrounding the area and convenience stores to serve the downtown population. Hasn't happened yet.

Now SRAC is touting the development of the West End Art Pavillion as a place for artists to gather and show / sell their art in a sort of "open farmer's mkt" type of biz-model complete with performance venues, etc. This thing is going to cost hundreds of thousands and it is essentially another Neon Bridge, IMHO.

I hear ya, but developers go where it's cheaper to build. Going downtown to do a rehab involves a lot of red-tape, EPA/OSHA issues, political nonsense, etc. That's why the past projects involved political cronies and still do to this day. The Federal Bldg that's being re-mediated for asbestos for the new Baptist Law School is an issue of politics but no one is making any waves about it. History repeats itself and no one seems to care or know any different.

Last edited by BeenThereDunThat; 09-02-2012 at 05:45 PM.. Reason: post didn't go through as originally intended
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:45 PM
 
Location: USA
3,045 posts, read 7,586,140 times
Reputation: 2424
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeenThereDunThat View Post
I hear ya, but developers go where it's cheaper to build. Going downtown to do a rehab involves a lot of red-tape, EPA/OSHA issues, political nonsense, etc. That's why the past projects involved political cronies and still do to this day. The Federal Bldg that's being re-mediated for asbestos for the new Baptist Law School is an issue of politics but no one is making any waves about it. History repeats itself and no one seems to care or know any different.
They must have gotten a sweet deal on that building with all those issues. Cronyism reigns supreme around here, that's for sure!
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:48 PM
 
974 posts, read 2,063,480 times
Reputation: 797
That bldg was bought for cents on the dollar by R******* Interests 'cuz no one wanted to touch it because of the asbestos clean up costs. FYI R****** got in hot water by allegedly trying to hide assets from his ex-wife in a nasty divorce case. Turns out the IRS got involved according to recent reports in the Shreveport Times last year.

That bldg. should've been torn down due to the health hazard in trying to get it cleaned up. I sure as heck won't be setting foot in that thing no matter what. Just wonder if the school officials moving in there know or even care about the potential for health issues down the road. Again... more of the same.

Last edited by BeenThereDunThat; 09-02-2012 at 06:14 PM.. Reason: I.D.
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:49 PM
 
Location: USA
3,045 posts, read 7,586,140 times
Reputation: 2424
Good to have you back, Been There! Yes, I read about that mess and so typical of our cities leaders. Well, the divorce thing was pretty nasty as I understand.

Last edited by hdwell; 09-02-2012 at 07:16 PM..
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:18 PM
 
Location: USA
3,045 posts, read 7,586,140 times
Reputation: 2424
Quote:
Originally Posted by mezzogirl View Post
My husband and I were just discussing this the other day
It seems like someone (a person with a lot of money sitting around) could really cash in on this idea. Just like other cities, people spend years moving out of the inner core farther out into the suburbs until it starts getting ridiculus to drive in. Then the reverse happens...people start to trickle back into the city for one reason or another. Now would be the time to invest in some dilapidated downtown buildings! Start fixing them up and renting them out. Once investors see that folks are living there, walking out and about, that may spark some businesses to open. I would love to see that in Shreveport. And if we can ever move back to Shreveport in the coming years, we are going to find a way to be active in helping the city be the best it can be.
It's sad to read all the negative comments on here. It's not a terrible place to live. Really, it isn't. In fact, I have had opposite experiences to the posters above. I've never been approached by anyone trying to sell me Jesus. And I've never thought that people of other races were secretly hating me. In fact, I find the people to be very warm and welcoming.
Nice post Mezzogirl! I am always hoping for the best here. We'll see what happens.
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