Downtown Anchors?

23 11 2009

Everyone knows that nearly every shopping center in the United States relies on “anchor stores,” or large department stores or “big box” stores to bring in the interest sufficient for generated foot traffic to the small stores situated between each anchor. Without these anchors, most malls would close down quickly.

MacArthur Center

 

  • Dillard’s
  • Nordstroms
  • Regal
Chesapeake Square Mall

 

  • Macy’s
  • JCPenney
  • Sears
  • Target
Gallery at Military Circle

 

  • Cinemark
  • JCPenney
  • Macy’s
  • Sears
Lynnhaven Mall

 

  • JCPenney
  • Dillard’s
  • Macy’s
  • AMC
  • Dick’s
Pembroke Mall

 

  • Sears
  • Kohl’s
  • Stein Mart
  • Regal
Greenbrier Mall

 

  • Macy’s
  • JCPennys
  • Dillard’s
  • Sears

My question is this: Why can that same principle not be applied to Downtown in general? For example, I think a Macy’s would make a great fit into Downtown’s plan and clientele. I don’t think, however, that it should be part of MacArthur Center. Instead, I think that Macy’s would be a good fit somewhere outside, such as the building on Market between Granby and Monticello (used to be TCC offices and Targeted Publications). This location would be in good proximity to MacArthur. Shoppers would shop at Macy’s and cross the street to MacArthur Center. In fact, compared to standard malls like Greenbriers, with four anchors, this location would be a de-facto fourth anchor to MacArthur.  However, because it is outside, the patrons would be inclined to shop around on Granby Street, leading to an increase in demand for Granby Street storefronts. As for the Center’s elusive third anchor, I think that something like a Best Buy (or better yet, their new competition in the region, hhgregg) would be good. A Target would be another good store to have, but since Norfolk has no full electronics store, the hhgregg might be a better option. This third anchor would be included in the current plan, of course. If you are unfamiliar, Norfolk’s vision of the third anchor lot is a high rise, mixed-use building, including an anchor, perimeter storefront shops, and apartments/condos and/or offices upstairs. This plan would do wonders for the Center, due to its residential population.

Norfolk 2020 Plan

Norfolk needs to start looking at Downtown as an area with faded boundaries. They have spent that past 30 years trying to divide it. We have office space on Main St., Commercial Retail on Granby St., etc. We need to mix this up a bit. Stores won’t move in by themselves unless there is sufficient foot traffic. You can’t get foot traffic without having residential towers. Norfolk needs to try to get these stores to work with developers to build mixed use, high-rise residential buildings with plenty of storefront shops. Additionally, they need to attract larger retailers as “anchors” Downtown. A full-time residential population, combined with jobs and retail, is the key to a successful, viable Downtown.

Cambie St & W 7th Ave., Vancouver - Note the Urban Home Depot. Across the street is an Urban Best Buy. There are condos on top of each of these buildings





MacArthur Center’s New Policy

8 10 2009

As I am sure that you have heard by now, MacArthur Center is going to be enacting a new policy on October the 19th. This new policy will require adult (21+) supervision of anyone under the age of 18 after 5 PM. At first, I had mixed feelings about this new policy. I remember when I was 16 and 17. I would not have wanted to go to the movies with my girlfriend and my mom. Forget hanging out with my friends too. Its nothing personal to my wonderful mother, it is just normal for teens to want to have some degree of independence and responsibility. On the other hand, I also remember other kids at 16 or 17 and younger. Everyone knows who I am talking about. Those kids that shout at each other from different floors. Those that may be affiliated with a gang trying to start trouble. Those that take advantage of a more crowded evening setting to get a five-finger discount in their favorite store. These are the kids that they are trying to keep under control. It just happens to be easier to restrict the group in general than to fight each case independently, which often lead to arguments about it being ‘fair.’

Overall, while I dislike blanket rules, I support MacArthur Center’s attempt to keep it from going the way of Military Circle Mall, where I no longer feel safe due to large groups of kids hanging out at night. Even if the feeling is just a perception, I know that many people will not show somewhere that they perceive is bad. I applaud the Mall for taking a measure to prevent the continuation of a trend instead of waiting until the damage has been done. Good job MacArthur.