The Retail Street Experience Some retail streets and downtowns survived the “malling” of America and now many retail streets are reappearing stronger than ever. Many Americans are choosing to live in cities while others return to the cities for culture, shopping and a social environment found only in urban city life. What is attracting these new and want- to-be urbanites are great neighborhoods and urban shopping streets. Today, street retailing offers consumers some of the richest experienc- es—and on several streets, retailers generate the most productive sales in the world. There is a tangible value to streets that can- not be replicated by shopping centers and malls. Street retailing serves many purposes: As hubs for daily shopping needs, located near transit stations or part of a quaint neighborhood street and as fashion, entertainment and dining desti- nations for local residents, people outside of the area and tourists. Yet, above all, unique or his- torical architecture, trendy and popular restau- rants, bars, entertainment venues and shopping creates not just a shopping district, but a rich so- cial gathering environment which is the epitome of the public experience.
Unique Character of Retail
Each retail street has its own character and no
retail street can be duplicated like their shopping
centers and regional mall counterparts. The San
Francisco Bay Area, New York, Chicago, Boston
and other metropolitan areas have dozens of
great retail streets, each appealing to a different
mix of retailers and restaurant operators. Each
street attracts a segment of the consumers not
seen on the other competitive streets. The culture of each neighborhood street draws a specific customer profile. Understanding the makeup
of different retail streets provides clues to real
estate professionals as to which retailers and restaurants are likely to lease space on those streets.