Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Will Americans accept living above stores? A generation ago, the answer probably would have been a resounding “No!” in a nation suckled on the notion of separation of commerce and residences. A few optimists might have offered: But what about New York or Paris, where millionaires live above stores? Today, the notion of mixing land uses is downright acceptable. Even in Tampa, Florida, near me, which is one of the world’s least dense cities, condos have been sold atop stores for the affluent.
But old shibboleths die hard. From Dallas, Texas (motto: “Think large. Live big” -– not exactly the idea behind density!) comes a fascinating story about the lack of success of mixed use-complexes. According to the Dallas Morning News, the problem is not renting residences, but renting for retail; many of the stores have proven difficult to rent. The theme of the story is that density-loving governments push mixed-used plans, even in places where retail probably won’t succeed. Or perhaps the residents of the mixed-use developments simply can’t accept the idea of visiting a store without getting in their cars …