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Old Posted Oct 2, 2019, 4:52 PM
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Location: Vancouver
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Originally Posted by Keith P. View Post
I don't disagree with your take. What you describe is essentially what I am saying. The issue is that HRM seems to demand commercial ground-level space in every new development to satisfy current-day planning theory. The only customers for those spaces will be those who live DT. At some point there will be an excess of such space, if there isn't already, given how long it has taken for many of those spaces to be occupied.
I tend to agree that there isn't demand for every building to have a row of shops at street level in front. You don't see this even in Manhattan on streets with rows of highrises.

But the main streets like Barrington, Spring Garden Road, or Gottingen should have storefronts, and I think those will eventually fill up. Flynn Flats is in a weird hybrid area that isn't a major commercial hub but is busier than a normal residential area. I would expect it to have some buildings with 1-2 shops in them and some with nothing, exactly what we see. There's nothing wrong with buildings like the Waterford which have no shops.

I'd say it should just be left to the market to decide but bad street level designs can have big negative externalities, hurting a whole block. I think sometimes the city does need to push for commercial spaces to help the long-term health of the city. I also think a bit of an oversupply of commercial space (office and storefront) is really good for a city's economy. A healthy city is one with 10% vacancy, where new businesses have good options to choose from, not one where every little space is filled and many existing or potential businesses are out of luck. Of course, the space doesn't all have to be in one small area. Spring Garden Road can be packed and competitive rent-wise while Gottingen and Agricola can offer affordable space for small businesses.

It's also worth pointing out that ground-level space in busy areas is not very desirable for condos and apartments. I live in a quiet area and even in my building the ground floor units are much cheaper (and get ~95% of the break-ins, although I do know somebody who had a thief climb up onto his second-floor balcony).
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