6/14/2010

Mom+Pop Canal St.

Posted by MJ

The Buffalo News and The LUSJ have both reported on the attempts of small-business to land on Canal St.

Does a “small” business person have a prayer of landing a piece of Canal Street?


A few who’ve tried believe they do not, especially once a bigger entity like inLighten or, now, Ulrich Development Corp., enters the picture.
But the city’s development arm says they are not playing favorites and will consider all offers currently on the table....
This is the highest profile section of street along the Canal in Lockport. The biggest issue here is the city's lack of a plan for the street. If there was a plan in place it wouldn't matter if there were separate entities or one trying to develop the block. Though with the money needed to finish each building and create in-fill to make it successful, I'd say a large developer and their money is needed.

I've mentioned the current draw backs:
-No thru traffic in a pedestrian light area.
-Only two or three street level store fronts separated by almost a city block.
-No continuous street frontage to draw pedestrians down it.
-No plan to ensure it has the best chance of drawing people year round to make it viable.


This should be a signature project. Anything less will sell the street and the city short. It should one-up Ulrich City Center and pick up on what was missed over there. Offer tax-breaks etc to offset the investment needed in exchange for a mixed-use development that should set the precedent for future development downtown while showing visitors a progressive city. Invite successful developers from Buffalo and Rochester to sell them on the opportunity and then bid on it. No one bids well enough, increase the incentives and repeat...

 

3 comments:

LC said...

I am still very disappointed that Kathy O'Keefe's plan for an interactive toy museum and store was never seriously looked at. She spent lots of time researching what would work there and had the monies and a sound business plan. She wasn't even looking at funding from the GLDC. She's been a successful business woman with a proven track record. Lockport needs something like this. Just think of what a draw that could have been for families coming to the canal and also another venue for students that are bussed here.

I know that these kinds of museums are lots of fun and I myself have brought my own children to them when visiting various cities.

I hope the GLDC and City Council will consider her proposal- it sounded great.

LoneWolf said...

LC~
I agree .. it is sad that that idea wasnt "taken" for canal street it would have been an interesting idea .. and in a way would "compliment" the Discovery Center, as well as the other businesses around that area.

MJ~

I do agree with you when you said things about Canal street(Richmond Ave) , Especially, the fact that they cut it off from traffic , other than pedestrian, much like they did with Main Street... Why they did what they did .. is beyond me .. but such is the way of the City LOL but maybe ..

However, in a way it DOES help.. considerding that intersection..With Ontario.. Pine... Lock and Gooding.. with us with cave tours... I don't have enough body parts to count how many times me and my tours almost got "nailed" going across at that intersection, that extra traffic that WAS going down Canal Street, was a pain int he back side.

As far as "year round" businesses.... that kind of a interesting issue .. the only parking that would be "viable" would be behind the Discovery Center .. and that holds what .. MAYBE 40 - 50 Vehicles.( never really counted the parking spaces) and depending on the business that goes there , thats NOT alot of parking space... so .. either way its a "catch 22" .... the City wants to see businesses there .. but theres little parking if the business "takes off"

As it is now that parking lot is quite empty save for a few tour tour transports and other that don't know that there IS other public parking aroud (but that is a nother issue entirely)

Well im goona stop rambling ( so to speak ) now and leave you guys with those thougts ..

~Jeff

MJ said...

1)I think any museum would be a nice fit for the second or third story of the Harrison building mid-block if no residential element is planned. If we would happen to be blessed with some residential then put it on the first floor. The two (three) lonely store fronts need active businesses with lots of front transparency and turn-over of people to give some "activity" to the street.

2) Parking itself is the catch-22. Two much dedicated parking and you give yourself asphalt islands. People will leave their car, go to the building, leave the building, see their car is closest thing, get back in it, and drive on home because once we get in our cars we do not feel like stopping and getting back out.

This is why private parking needs to be minimal with strategic municipal parking nearby. Make people park and walk past other shops on their way to their destination. That's how money is spread around. Otherwise there is no offshoot development.

3) Even if we say there are only 40 parking spots in the lots, you have at least 25 street spots on Ontario St and another possible 15 on Canal if you make it a one-way. You just doubled your parking to 80 spaces.

4) Think of going to a dying mall. Do you walk past the empty store fronts to go to a store or two farther down? No. Same thing will happen here without infill.

5) The road is closed off, and a gazebo put nearby, because planners seem to dream a bunch of people will be willing to congregate around a bunch of nothing. A neighborhood needs to be really dense for these types of elements to work. We will never see this here so these elements should be re-planned.

6) Gooding should be reconfigured for both directions to bend over to Lock St. Fill in the rest of the current large asphalt triangle with land to add to the plot along the canal. Traffic would be much tamer than the free for all that is there now. Also stripe the streets with cross walks regardless. It would help immensely.

A lot of information, I know ;)

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