21 October 2005

Downtown Denver's Wish List.

Downtown Denver wants a Target, a Foley's, a Whole Foods grocery, "an urban public market similar to Pikes Place in Seattle", fewer vagrants and a pony, except that they already have a pony. They are going to get a 10,000 square foot Vitamin Cottage Natural Grocers in the Central Platte Valley, but the rest will be hard to come by "because of the difficulty in obtaining enough space for a large store and the proximity of the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, which many department stores view as too close and too competitive."

One of Denver's two mounties.

"In 2004, 2.7 percent of metro-area retail sales were generated downtown."

The consultants say that downtown should court Bloomingdale's, strengthen the 16th Street Mall, "consider using land swaps and other strategies to free up enough space to accommodate large retailers", and increase "the connectivity between the 16th Street Mall, other retail sites and activity centers such as the Auraria campus." Downtown's business improvement district spends a couple of million dollars a year trying to get vagrants to get help and leave.

The retail numbers are stunningly low, considering that downtown Denver has the 16th Street Mall (including the Denver Pavilions) and a large day time population.

One more thing that should be on the list, but isn't, is an elementary school that would convince LoDo and South Platte residents to stay there when their children reach school age. The elementary school whose attendance area includes downtown (Mayor Hickenlooper's pre-school aged son Teddy will go there if he doesn't end up attending a private school or participating in the state's school choice program) is one of the worst performing schools in the state on standardized tests (it has improved slightly in the past few years) because it serves a large public housing project. Those tests are admittedly flawed, and there are real issues with segregating people by income, but it is also true that very few middle class parents would be willing to send their children to a school with test score performance that awful. I used to live in the same elementary school attendance area shortly after my eldest child was born. We left the neighborhood for different reasons (the place we were renting went condo and we didn't want to buy it), but this had been a major concern that we were thinking about when we did live there.

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