While many of us may not be used to seeing walkable commercial centers, cities have been built that way for hundreds of years. It is only within the last few decades that we have been building the strip commercial corridors and regional malls that everyone must drive to. Today more consumers are shopping online. Buyers are seeking a unique experience when visiting a store in person. Walkable commercial centers can provide this.
Many historic neighborhoods still have the basic structure needed for these walkable commercial centers, and communities across the country are returning to this type of pedestrian-friendly, clustered layout for new commercial development.
The lack of healthy food choices – food deserts – has been expressed by Area 3 residents. However, getting new retail or just one new full-service grocery store in an area can be challenging. (See Economic Factors below) Even if a full service grocery store is not feasible right now, it could be accommodated at a later date in a commercial center as that center grows or redevelops over time to accommodate new uses.
For areas where a full-service grocery store is not feasible, other types of grocery stores could be a good fit.
Examples, such as those seen in the images below, can each serve some of a community’s grocery needs until the market is strong enough to support a full-service grocery.
COMMERCIAL CENTERS: CONCLUSION
Changes in the retail market, local population, income, and other factors all affect the viability of new commercial businesses. Over time, walkable Commercial Centers can provide a variety of community needs (shopping, dining, housing, jobs) and serve as the focal point and community gathering space for neighborhoods.
Please contact Pam Glaser, Principal Planner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-643-5911.