Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Does South Loop, Streeterville or your hot neighborhood lack retail?

Crain's ran this story about the slow development of retail in ratio to household and buying power booms in four "hot" neighborhoods. I found the post on Yo Chicago... go to the comments section to see what people feel about the story. You may also comment here.

Read the Crains story HERE

Here's what I had to say concerning the story:

I agree that South Loop remains a bit of a bedroom community on the lake for the residents. The ratio of foot traffic to the large buildings is odd. Parking is difficult for the outsider… but how is this different from the Goldcoast, Lincoln Park, Loop, most of Lakeview etc…? I think if you're a resident of any of these hoods, you either have a parking space or permits, don't own a car, or understand parking is difficult in the city.

However, I'm in South Loop socially and for business quite a bit. My wife and have commented all things being equal, (with no kids), we would like to live in South Loop considering our means and lifestyle. Its the best way to get us close to the lake, have a few local spots we like, and we can get to the family in the burbs easy (Lemont, Addison etc…). So for us, lifelong North Siders, it is a viable option with our present values, wants and needs.

Retail is adequate north of 15th. South of there, forget it.

Of course the story is making for solutions to the preceived lack of retail. The Crains story seems to infer that there is some magical valuation for adequate retail. How much retail and how close should it be? Not all neighborhoods must be cut from the same cloth. South Loop has a great feel for what it is: A mixed area of young professionals, retirees, spattering of familys, ecletics and students hugging the lake, Loop, Printers Row and liking it.

Streeterville is a little more extreme in this case. I think its for people who want to live on the lake or right on top of where they work. Otherwise, I don't see retail happening unless you do some indoor mall type of stuff like at Hancock building.. except tailored for everyday services etc. I saw this type of retail and services tucked into highrise and midrise buildings in Hamburg, Germany a Sister City of Chicago's. Its mall-like, but easily accessible for heart of the city dwellers.
Again, how can you expect quaint retail in a cramped office space/hospital district like Streeterville? You are close to River North here for nightlife… easy walk or cab.

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