View Single Post
Old Posted Jul 23, 2011, 5:06 AM
emathias's Avatar
emathias emathias is offline
Adoptive Chicagoan
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: River North, Chicago, Illinois
Posts: 4,986
Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
Water Tower Place writ large with an overall effect of Presidential Towers on steroids.
I'm not a huge fan of Water Tower Place or PT, but WT is one of the more successful parts of Michigan Avenue today. And when PT was developed, opening itself to the streets would not have been viable (or even particularly safe). And now that the environment has changed, PT is changing. The environment that currently exists in that area would not support a smaller-scale, outwardly-focused retail. There is not only a lack of foot traffic, but there is a lack of the possibility of foot traffic in large chunks of it. Are you seriously proposing turning an expressway (which is what Congress turns into as it passes under the Post Office) into some sort of promenade? And what of Canal at that point? It's not much better.

I suppose one solution would be to re-elevate Canal there and create a "normal" intersection with Congress. But they're both so wide there that it wouldn't be much more pedestrian-friendly. You talk about challenges as though any challenge just requires a little more thinking and it will magically disappear. That's not the case, and I think you're smart enough to know that.

Could Congress be narrowed and joined to a re-elevated, narrowed Canal there? Sure. But then you cut off an important feeder to the rest of the downtown area. I think the plan addresses some of the transportation connectedness issues better than you see it doing. It takes advantage of the dominate mode of transportation near it - the highway running under the property - while still leaving the north side of the building open to welcome pedestrians and those coming from the other modes.

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
Congress, for example, is 'brushed under the rug' and plans for the river (in the link bnk provided) include a line of restaurants connected to (and seemingly only accessed through) the mall.
As I mentioned before, I think it's naive to think there are very many options for Congress that wouldn't harm other parts of downtown. Taking advantage of the fact that Congress is there is not brushing it under the rug at all - it's simply using it for a purpose you seem to disapprove of (despite that being it's actual purpose for existance).

I'm not sure which line of restaurants you're referring to, but if they're along the river I'll point out that in the PDF I saw linked to, it showed a Riverwalk between the buildings and the River. If that's anything like Riverside Plaza and the other Riverwalk, it should provide access to any restaurants adjacent to it.

Originally Posted by Ch.G, Ch.G View Post
This misses two of the points I was trying to make: First, that there is no demand for this much retail space downtown; and, second, the downtown area already has three established shopping districts catering to different demographics: a high end boutique will open along Oak Street, not on the former site of the Old Post Office; a flagship will open along Michigan Avenue and the more everyday along State. In order for this development to be successful, either those districts would have to be entirely built out (unlikely) or the developer would have to identify a demographic whose shopping needs aren't currently met by any of the three.
What downtown doesn't have is the kind of retail that appeals to suburban shoppers. Do you think Minneapolis would rather have all the tax revenues the Mall of America generates coming into their city, or do you think Minneapolis is thrilled that Bloomington gets that economy? Did the Twin Cities really need the Mall of America when it was built?

That is the scale of vision here. Whatever you think of the Mall of America, it is financially successful even in this economic environment because of its scale. It does have a lightrail link to downtown, and the first time I ever went there, in 1995, I took a bus there. But most people do drive there. Similarly, this megamall would also be most attractive to suburban-style shoppers - to drivers. That it is also accessible via transit is a bonus, but at the scale it's showing it seems likely that it would induce the vast majority of its customer base as new downtown visits and not steal it from the other downtown centers.

Even if it did steal some, it would certainly create more revenue for the city overall as it would be stealing far more revenue from the suburbs than from the City.
Reply With Quote