Each day this week I am serving up one item, with non-politically correct candor, that Downtown Austin needs to become a model of re-urbanization, as I see it.
Politicians love to talk, form task forces, and spend time doing everything except for making decisions as they are needed. So, this is an appeal to Downtown Austin stakeholders that know how to get things done: the residents, developers, retailers, and land owners.
I want a Super Target on Congress Ave.
Yes, it’s known as a big box store and is identified with sprawl. It doesn’t need to be that way! Retailers like H-E-B and WalMart are sophisticated enough to design stores that work as urban infill or adaptive reuse projects. A large destination store that has groceries and products that people need [and can afford] on a regular basis would be amazingly successful.
Remember that rendering produced by Stratus for the Seaholm redevelopment which depicted a multi-story H-E-B? That was inspired.
Downtown Austin landlords with retail space should begin to focus less on luxury goods and more on “liveability” goods. I don’t want to see more boutiques. I don’t want to see more salons. I don’t want to see more bars/lounges. These are all fine, except they serve a very limited audience. The next wave of successful retail in Downtown Austin will be for products that people need and can afford to purchase.