The Importance of Residential Development for Main Street

Over at Greater Washington (DC, that is), David Alpert revisits a familiar cry from many communities:  “Why can’t we have a Trader Joe’s?”  His answer, you need to significantly strengthen your residential base:

Unless your neighborhood is in the process of growing rapidly, it’s unlikely to get more retailers and probably not the kind you want. Most of the time, the retail market is close to an equilibrium where the number of retailers matches the demand for retail in that area. Only when a neighborhood is gaining population is the time ripe to add more.

Once upon a time, the commercial corridors thrived without this added housing, except for two factors. First, family sizes were substantially larger, and a typical single-family house might have parents, 3-4 kids and even some relatives living there. Now, family sizes are smaller, but many neighbors also fight proposals to allow basement or garage apartments, even though those would simply restore the numbers of people that the house used to hold.

Very interesting stuff.  The full post is here.

Via Planetizen.

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