Monday, March 8, 2010

Another Promise

They like us! They really like us!

Downtown Flint has been named as a "Downtown of Promise" by the state. But what does that mean? According to the Flint Journal, the DDA is eligible for about $40,000 to create a plan for the future. Larry Flint, the director of the DDA, states that “It will sort of be a blueprint as to the kinds of businesses that we need to go after to fill the holes as far as becoming a comprehensive downtown area”

Many people (Ahem....Mlive commentators) see this as a waste of money, however, a plan could be a nice new alternative for a city who isn't known for it's organized approach. For instance, Five restaurants have opened in the past two years. While this is certainly a victory, does the DDA plan on having a bar and grill based commercial center? One would think that a professional study would encourage an emphasis on attracting retail.

That being said, what type of retail would you want? We already have a handful of retail options downtown, are we doing enough to support them in the meantime?


  1. I think retail would struggle - boutiques would be cost-prohibitive and specialty shops would need a LOT of foot traffic (a la A2) - I think night life and support businesses for downtown daytime workers are the best bet. How about some investment in the Capitol Theater, more art galleries, a specialty bakery, caterers, and a verity of "themed" bars/pubs (again - a la Main Street in A2). Until the Durant is full and more people actually LIVE downtown, retail is going to be a risky proposition.

  2. Really? I disagree with you on some of that Dawn. D.T. is the perfect place for those little niche type shops that don't fit in, or wouldn't really get noticed on Miller Road. The type of place (like Paul's Pipe Shop) that draws people from around the area because there is nowhere else to get what that place offers.

    Another thing to think about is that there is currently a decent amount of foot traffic from the workers, students, and more recently the pedestrians walking from their cars parked on the streets to the new restauraunts. But that itself probably wouldn't be enough to sustain a business.

    third, we can't forget about the needs of the people that already live D.T. The Grocery store is a great first step, but there are a lot of other goods and services that people living in the area already pay for, but go way out of there way to get. I have been saying for years that with all of the students living around there, a tanning salon would do great. Also a drug store, or a dry cleaners.

  3. I'd say that Downtown Flint and Downtown Detroit are going to continue to swap ideas.

    Check out this article about the comeback of downtowns across the U.S.. The article is from 2003, but I feel it is still relevant at the time of posting this, it was just sort of put on hold during the ongoing recession, which actually started in 2006 for Michigan.