Downtown Retail Needs More People

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The Internet is destroying brick-and-mortar retail, but if Macy’s in Philadelphia’s glorious Wanamaker building is going to survive, it needs more customers in close proximity, and more Center City tourism.

Having the future largest residential building in Pennsylvania a few blocks away on Broad and Spruce should help some, but if physical retail stores have a future in downtown areas, city policymakers need to focus on growing the customer base (read: housing density) within short walking and biking and transit trips of retail clusters.

In the neighborhoods to either side of PA’s tallest residence, building height is often capped at 38 feet. Nobody thinks South Philly should become some kind of skyscraper canyon but currently people lose their minds over 4 buildings, because parking. On the wider cross streets, we need more 6-8 story buildings allowed by-right, without decades of appeals and legal wrangling. And certainly on Broad we do need a combination of more legit skyscrapers around transit stations, and less road share for cars:

This entry was posted in Economic Development, Environment, Land Use, Transportation.

2 Responses to Downtown Retail Needs More People

  1. Tsuyoshi says:

    It also wouldn’t hurt to change the tax situation to, for example, favor the transit/pedestrian-friendly Center City retail, over the newer transit/pedestrian nightmare on Columbus Boulevard that Center City competes with. The sooner we erase that urban planning mistake, the better.

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