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Old 07-27-2006, 09:48 AM   #41
callahan
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:shock: A "dance competition"!? I'm there! :P
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Old 09-08-2006, 07:07 PM   #42
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Downtown Crossing

Makeover for `tired' district
Consultants to study Downtown Crossing
By Keith Reed, Globe Staff | September 8, 2006

City officials yesterday hired a Toronto consulting firm to help them remake Downtown Crossing -- a place Boston's mayor says is ``really tired right now."

The shopping district, which was turned into a pedestrian mall in the 1980s, recently lost two of its biggest retailers, Filene's and Barnes & Noble.

Downtown Crossing ``needs a new brand, some revitalization, some new energy," said Mayor Thomas M. Menino, who walks the area three times a week among the approximately 100,000 pedestrians the district attracts daily.

Yesterday, the Boston Redevelopment Authority awarded Urban Marketing Collaborative of Toronto a $250,000 contract to come up with a plan for the area, which is east of Boston Common, adjoining the Theater District and the Financial District.

Menino said he wants Downtown Crossing to be attractive for the thousands of people who work downtown, as well as be a destination for residents of the area, which has attracted a spate of condo construction. A supermarket might help the district, the mayor said. But he does not want it to become another tony retail area that tries to mimic the Back Bay.

Downtown Crossing through the years

``You get a blend of different types of shops, but the key is what those stores look like, how they invite you in," he said.

Urban Marketing Collaborative has between six and eight months to make recommendations. They could include anything from new signs to pedestrian improvements to consulting with landlords who are looking to lease vacant second floors and the underground retail space that's connected to the MBTA's Orange Line and Red Line stations.

As part of its assignment, Urban Marketing must have two community meetings with residents, shopkeepers, and landlords.

Maureen Atkinson , a senior partner at Urban Marketing, said the firm's team will have to spend most of September and October on the streets in Downtown Crossing, gathering information. But that work should be done quickly enough for them to avoid interfering with harried Christmas shoppers.

The company competed against three other firms, winning with a 140-page proposal that detailed its other work helping to revitalize retail areas in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Harlem, N.Y., Providence, and other cities.

Last year, Menino put Randi Lathrop, the BRA's deputy director, in charge of sprucing up Downtown Crossing by repairing sidewalks, adding more benches, and installing solar-powered trash compactors, to reduce the frequency of trash trucks rumbling through the area. That effort is still underway, she said yesterday.

In the meantime, the Urban Marketing team will spend much of its time trying to figure out what kind of identity Downtown Crossing should have to succeed, and what kinds of new stores would best fill the vacancies.

Grocery stores like Trader Joe's and Whole Foods have been successful in downtowns, though neither has been approached about Downtown Crossing, Atkinson said.

Underground, service businesses such as a dry cleaner, shoe repair shop, or a stand that sells lottery tickets might work, she said --but only if done with care.

``If you don't have a discipline that requires your retailers to reach certain standards, then it is definitely `ick,' " she said. ``But if you have a high standard of cleanliness levels, of what they put back into those areas, then it adds something of value."

Keith Reed can be reached at reed@globe.com.

? Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.

http://www.boston.com/business/globe...ired_district/
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Old 11-12-2006, 01:01 AM   #43
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Shopping for a name: New moniker eyed for Downtown Crossing
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Sunday, November 12, 2006


Downtown Crossing may be poised for the ultimate marketing makeover - a brand-new name.

That is, if Bostonians don?t take to the streets in outrage first.

A new moniker for the shopping district is under serious consideration by a City Hall marketing consultant and developers of the former Filene?s building, as the Hub weighs ideas for reviving the area amid a growing roster of empty storefronts, the Herald has learned.

Call it the ultimate brand relaunch, not of a product, but of a whole city section.

?Certainly that is on the table,? City Hall consultant Maureen Atkinson of the Toronto-based Urban Marketing Collaborative said Friday.

The name-change idea has found some powerful champions as well - a top developer with plans to remake Downtown Crossing?s historic Filene?s building and top public relations and marketing guru George Regan.

Regan, press secretary under former Mayor Kevin White, recalls the decision made to turn the downtown shopping Mecca into a pedestrian mall two decades ago.

But the area never really took off. Downtown Crossing?s current woes call for dramatic action - akin to rebranding and relaunching a failed product.

?It?s not a bad idea,? Regan said. ?I would change the name and have a relaunch.?

Meanwhile, John Hynes, a top Boston tower builder and grandson of one of Boston?s most revered mayors, proposed the name change to the city?s consulting team at a breakfast meeting hosted by Mayor Thomas M. Menino. Hynes is now working on plans for a $600 million-plus remake of the 1912 Filene?s complex, including a 38-story office and condo tower next door.

?The area needs not only a face-lift, but a rebirth as well,? Hynes said. ?There is no more obvious way to do that than to change the name.?

Still, Hynes and spinmaster Regan may dream of a grand brand relaunch of Downtown Crossing. But some store owners fear changing Downtown Crossing?s name could make things worse.

At least customers know where to find him now, said John Ruben, owner of the Washington Jewelry Exchange, right next to the Downtown Crossing subway stop.

?Everybody goes by Downtown Crossing,? Ruben warned. ?Just leave it.?
The name-change idea is already sparking the ire of a legion of secret admirers of the Downtown Crossing moniker.

They don?t blame the name for the ugly gap-tooth store vacancies where Barnes & Noble once hawked books and Filene?s, now in the death throes of a final clearance sale, once drew throngs of holiday shoppers.

One financial worker compared it to changing the name of one of Boston?s most hallowed sports teams because of its wretched play of late.

?It?s like changing the name of the Celtics,? fumed an incredulous Genti Hysenbegasi. ?I know they stink now, but are you going to change their name??

Another likened it to the dismantling of the beloved lollipop sculpture, which once greeted passersby in front of a Summer Street high-rise at the gateway to Downtown Crossing.

?Everyone knew it as the lollipop building - now it?s just 100 Summer St.,? recalled a wistful Donna Leyden, a law office worker. ?They need to leave significant, fun things downtown.?



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Old 11-12-2006, 05:36 AM   #44
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How about Washington Street and Washington Station? :wink:
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Old 11-12-2006, 09:07 AM   #45
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Why do people think Downtown Crossing is fundamentally broken? It's busy, it's lively, it's real. It attracts young people. Its current troubles are the result of decisions made far from Boston: Barnes & Noble closes their store instead of modernizing it; Federated Department Stores buys May Department Stores.

Fill the vacancies; leave the name alone. (And bring back the lollipops, while we're on that subject.)
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Old 11-12-2006, 12:20 PM   #46
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I would also be interested in hearing some reasons why it is "Broken." Surely every shopping district goes through periods of growth and decline, just like most malls. Coming from Maine, I always find downtown crossing to be inspiring as it is always busy and there is tons of stuff to do.
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Old 11-12-2006, 12:30 PM   #47
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^ It's a shadow of its former self, Corey.
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Old 11-12-2006, 04:58 PM   #48
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I think DT crossing's heyday must have been in the first half of the 20th century. I never saw it. In the 70s and 80s is was a lot more dilapidated than it is now although there were more stores right around Filenes. Lower Washington, a block away, was the beginning of the combat zone and it was a real mess. In the 70s there were entire blocks of strip joints and peep shows down there along with crime and abandonment. Now we have the Opera house, Paramount, maybe other thearters, with Millenium place and Park Essex further along Washington St. (with more to come). In my view Washington street and DT crossing are experiencing a renesance that has already dramatically transformed the area for the better. The closing of Filenes is more of an emotional hit than degeneration of the area. Someone is planning on infusing $600 million into the Filenes block, this would not have happened without the sale of Filenes. With the new buildings going into the area, it will become more lively on its own with or without a name change.
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Old 11-13-2006, 12:16 AM   #49
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DTX would have been the supreme shopping district when it was at the hub of the streetcar, subway and commuter rail networks when these were more extensive and were the main modes of travel. Boston is a magical place because we still have a big passenger rail network with high ridership. But I don't understand why DTX is thought to be so shitty. If DTX is so terrible, what are other cities' historic shipping districts like?
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:54 PM   #50
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those people who think that there is nothing wrong with Downtown Crossing have clearly never walked through there after 7:00-8:00pm during the week or 10:00-11:00pm on the weekend. the area is dead and border line unsafe for women! for a centrally located shopping/retail area there should be more going on once everyone gets out of work. someone should gut the Barns & Noble and turn it into a rock club/bar with live music.
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Old 11-13-2006, 02:58 PM   #51
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I think Downtown Crossing would be an amazing stretch for a live music district. You could pick one side street with two corner bars on Washington St. and make sure they spill out into the street. Imagine how it would be in the summer.

The only problem as I understand it is what to do with the waste disposal needs of restaurants and clubs. Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 11-13-2006, 03:32 PM   #52
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I walk through it routinely in the evening, sometimes as late as 10 pm. I don't see what's unsafe about it. Sure, I'd like it to be open later, but not every part of Boston needs to rock away at 11 pm.

Even when this was The Central Shopping District for all of metro Boston, it was not open much past 7 pm on most evenings. I beileve Macy's and Borders now stay open until 9 pm which is considerably later than old-line downtown stores ever did.
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Old 11-13-2006, 04:23 PM   #53
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[quote="Ron Newman"]I walk through it routinely in the evening, sometimes as late as 10 pm. I don't see what's unsafe about it. Sure, I'd like it to be open later, but not every part of Boston needs to rock away at 11 pm./quote]

I'm going to assume that you are a man. :wink: would you send your wife/girlfriend/significant other down Arch Street alone late at night? (think the area in and around the 711).
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Old 11-13-2006, 05:28 PM   #54
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The simple answer for what DTX needs is people. The next question is how to get people?

1. Build condos in the area. As straightforward a way to get people into an area as possible but anyone able to afford to live there would want high class stores which we already have in the Back Bay.

2. Better transportation. The DTX station, and many other downtown subway stations are dark and dirty by modern standards and this should be addressed first. Better lighting, cleaner stations, more trains will make people want to use the T more and use it to go downtown.

The other option which was the prevailing theory back in the day was to make it more like a mall, and not just making the streets pedestrian, but to drive a highway through it to allow middle class shoppers access. This obviously isn't an option today but this then cuts out a huge market; the middle class. Right now DTX servers more toward the lower classes and some chains which would do well in a Simons Mall flopped here because it is a different demographic.

My recommendation: keep the pedestrian only street, clean up the station, DON'T build condos, and I would put the whole area under glass like the old strip in Las Vegas. And build underground malls like Montreal. This area is PERFECT for them. Design a super-subway station like New York is doing downtown connecting Park St, DTX, Chiantown, Boylston, State St, and Gov't Center.

The dreamer in me would like to tear down a few buildings and create a great open central space for people to sit, rest, and watch. But there are way too many beautiful buildings on Washington St and the ugly ones which should be torn down arn't in the right places.

If the city can't attract middle class shoppers (and since housing prices are too absurd for them to move anywhere near DTX), the only option for attracting people is to attract tourists and those who live within transit access.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:07 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PerfectHandle
I think Downtown Crossing would be an amazing stretch for a live music district. You could pick one side street with two corner bars on Washington St. and make sure they spill out into the street. Imagine how it would be in the summer.
that would be a good start, it needs a facelift bad, I was down there today, I like the variety of stores but it could use more.
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:18 PM   #56
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It is too bad that the Loews multiplex was not built in Downtown Crossing, perhaps where Lafayette Place is now. That would have brought hordes of people into the area at night.

Downtown could still use a second, more 'art film'-oriented multiplex.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:03 PM   #57
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Art Film

I agree...an arthouse movie theatre could be viable in that area. But I would guess that the Modern does not have the capacity, and the RKO is simply too big.
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:11 PM   #58
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I don't think much is left of the Modern's interior, and the RKO doesn't seem suitable for the kind of subidividing that a chain such as Landmark would need.
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Old 11-15-2006, 09:53 AM   #59
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Aren't there four theatres (one large theatre, subdivided) in the building at 600 Washington St? Would these be suitable?
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:05 AM   #60
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I haven't been in there so all I can rely on are these photos and these comments. It was definitely subdivided in its final declining days, but probably not in a manner that would be suitable for a high-class company such as Sundance or Landmark.

It's also, like the Loews multiplex, too far south to really bring people into the heart of the Crossing.
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