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Old 06-06-2006, 02:18 PM   #21
Ron Newman
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The barrier to making it an actual pedestrian mall is that deliveries have to be made here. They don't have to be made in the middle of the day, and shouldn't be, but there needs to be a way to get trucks into here late at night. That means any planters or tables or other obstructions placed during the day have to be removable after, say, 11 pm.

I still don't see why pushcarts here are any different from pushcarts in a mall or at Faneuil Hall. I like being able to buy a bag full of oranges while passing through here after work.
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Old 06-06-2006, 11:03 PM   #22
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DTX is the former social, architectural and retail capital of Boston but its complete and utter urban-ness (which is its most appealing part) keeps it stuck in virtual mediocrity in comparison to the rest of the area's retail centers.

In the 30's and 40's people didnt have cars. This made DTX and its surroundings the most reasonable area to go and buy things.

Since then the area has become more of a "tourst nyc compatability study", commuter thoroughfare and and townie hangout. Whereas in New York areas like this thrive with crappy retailers, it's tougher here because many people live in the city and have cars. Going downtown is almost a chore when they can just drive to fanueil hall, cambridgeside, copley or even that big box retailer in dorchester off of mass ave (which is becoming more and more packed by the day).

The solution is simple. The city shouldn't try to zone DTX into something it is not. Maybe taxis should be allowed down there, but allowing cars down those horsepaths won't accomplish much as I have stated before - there is nowhere to park.

One of my professors who used to live nearby used to comment on the area, claiming that the area was so centralized, it was almost isolated. This is definitely true of the areas on western washington like the locaton of hayward place, and that whole block up from the gayety. The old swissotel (now a hyatt) is the best example of DTX's plight, as it's downtown but at the same time, in the middle of nowhere.

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Old 06-11-2006, 07:01 PM   #23
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The Boston Globe
The Ladder District is looking up
Condos and dorms are making a location into a neighborhood; the Combat Zone has never seemed farther away
By Tina Cassidy, Globe Correspondent | June 11, 2006
For five years it has seemed like the only people who actually lived near Downtown Crossing were the homeless sleeping on park benches or the wealthy in their aeries above the city at the Ritz towers.

But now the area, a quirky mix of fast-food joints, unique small retailers, chains, and B-grade office space, is fast becoming a major residential district, with many of the Manhattan-style lofts that have become so popular in the local condominium market.
Most of the recent focus on the Downtown Crossing area has been on what it is losing -- Filene's from the landmark building at the corner of Winter and Summer streets and the Barnes and Noble store across the street . But those departures mask an astonishing number of arrivals to the neighborhood -- particularly on the narrow parallel streets that empty onto Boston Common, a map grid that gave the area the marketing moniker of the Ladder District.
``It was just a matter of time," said David Greaney , president of Synergy Boston, which is converting two office buildings on Winter and West streets into 39 condos. ``You look at the other three sides of Boston Common and this area has lagged behind. You look at the city's support for a 24/7 neighborhood in [this] area and that support makes it easier to convert property from vacant office space to more desirable residential space. We're really upbeat on the area."
There are other signs of the district's conversion to a neighborhood: It now has a grocery store -- Lambert's Marketplace on the Common opened last week on Tremont Street selling fresh flowers, produce, ethnic breads, gourmet cheese, and deli items -- and a high-end home furnisher. Roche-Bobois, which sells $12,000 sectionals, is opening a store at the corner of Washington and Avery streets.
Two key developements in recent years helped sparked the wave of residential activity in this neighborhood: the nearly $1 billion Ritz project on Avery Street, and just beyond that, Emerson College's decision to relocate student housing and classrooms from its Back Bay locations. Both are located at the edge of the former Combat Zone.
``When you put students in that environment, it's like looking at the future. It pushes it to the next level," said developer Ron Gold, who is converting offices at 10 West St. and the adjacent 515 Washington St. into 73 condos.
Emerson is opening a new dormitory on nearby Boylston Street this fall. The college is also converting the long-closed Paramount Theater on Washington Street to theatrical space and is building a 260-student dormitory behind the facade of the adjacent Arcade building. The project, to be completed around 2009, would house students on upper floors and commercial space, probably a restaurant, on the ground floor, an Emerson spokesman said.
Directly across the street from the Paramount, Millennium Partners-Boston, the developer of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Towers Boston Common, submitted a plan in April to the Boston Redevelopment Authority for 225 loft-style condos with street-level retail on what is now a large parking lot. The apartments would be about 1,200 square feet and cost about $900,000 in today's market, though groundbreaking would not begin until next year -- assuming the city approves the plan.
The two buildings Gold is converting have smallish floor plates and were inefficient as work environments. But he said the spaces make for ``interesting" housing because the various layouts will make the units look less cookie-cutter than new construction. Expected to be completed at the end of the year, Gold has not yet priced the studios and one- and two-bedroom units.
Rainbow, a women's clothing store on the ground floor of the Washington Street address, will be moving out, Gold said, and representatives of upscale restaurants and retailers have expressed interest in taking over the location.
Meanwhile, Greaney's projects include seven recently finished condos above the GNC store at 43 Winter St., and another 32 condos he just started on at 26-30 West St., over the Blaine hair studio.
Three of the two-bedroom condos in the century-old mercantile building at 43 Winter St. -- the project is called Loft 43 -- have already sold; prices have ranged from $699,000 to $899,000. The West Street properties will hit the market in about 18 months, priced between $350,000 and $750,000 and ranging in size from 725 square feet to 1,500 square feet, according to Greaney.
Residential development is also extending beyond the Ladder District . Behind the Lafayette Garage, the Edison, at 42 Chauncy St., discreetly houses 40 condos. And closer to South Station, at 50 Summer St., plans may be in the works to add housing above the Walgreens, according to the BRA. The Abbey Group is also developing a tower with 150 condos on Province Street, where the Littlest Bar was. Construction is expected to be completed around 2008.
And the Filene's store and adjacent building on that block, which city and real estate officials said are in the process of being sold to a New York realty trust, may be redeveloped into a massive mixed-use project that could include luxury condominiums.
City Hall has been a big booster of all this development. The BRA has seven employees working on revitalizing Downtown Crossing, with plans to repair the cobblestones along Winter Street, add planters, make uniform all of the pushcarts, and ensure that vacant storefronts at least display art.
``There will be 1,300 new homes there in the next five years," Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in an interview. ``We want a diversity of incomes in the area. We don't want just high-income people. $300,000 to $400,000 units are part of what we're doing. Of course, some think that's exorbitant."
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:13 PM   #24
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1. I'm sure that DTX could use a boost economically, but it is very good at hiding it. I was there last Wednesday (which was a horrible day; cold, wind, rain, gray...) and it was still busy with people. I saw quite a few minorities but no one race dominated the area. The people under the umbrellas were of many different colors.

2. I was in Boston for my sister's graduation and my mom, who had thought the weather would be summerlike, needed a raincoat badly. We were staying near the Prudential Center, so we looked there and Copley Place. Soon, we realized that there was no hope of finding something under $200. We needed places like H&M, T.J. Maxx, Target.....and those are ALL in DTX. At first I supported the idea of spiffing up DTX, but I saw how valuable it is to have a place where normal people can shop without spending a fortune in downtown. That doesn't mean that it has to be trashy and vacant, but any efforts to revitalize it should be aimed at lower-end retailers (Target, for example, is a great idea). Boston doesn't need another expensive, hip, cool, high-end place! I don't want to turn every area outside of Roxbury into a "whites-only" territory.
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Old 06-13-2006, 10:37 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Ron Newman
I still don't see why pushcarts here are any different from pushcarts in a mall or at Faneuil Hall.
The reason is that Downtown Crossing is downmarket. In such a milieu pushcarts signify penury. In a mall or Faneuil Hall, they?re make-believe plebeian, like Marie-Antoinette?s peasant cottage.

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Old 06-13-2006, 10:57 PM   #26
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Welcome back!!! I was tempted to start a thread 'Leon Krier sucks' or some such, to see if you're still among the living.

justin
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Old 06-13-2006, 11:09 PM   #27
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Ahh, now archBoston's Resurrection is complete. Welcome home.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:16 PM   #28
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Hi all! I'm back after a ridiculous stretch of nothing but studying for the PhD qualifying exam. (I did... OK; won't know if I passed for a few weeks.)

Just skimming through the conversation here. I'm a bit perplexed by the "DTX is shoddy" theme. It's among my favorite spots around, mainly because it's car-free but also because its stores are less expensive. I go there for some shopping or just to enjoy the street. I didn't realize its demographics were a problem. I understand the "intimidated by thuggish teenagers" phenomenon but if you're scared of DTX for that reason then Boston has plenty of alternatives, whereas if you happen to be such a teenager, there are few alternatives until you get much further outbound. If it dies down later in the evening/night, then that's a problem because it's underutilized, but adding the restaurants/clubs/etc need not change its character.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lexicon506
Boston doesn't need another expensive, hip, cool, high-end place! I don't want to turn every area outside of Roxbury into a "whites-only" territory.
Let's not make the mistake of equating race with wealth. There are plenty of poor whites and rich nonwhites out there.
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Old 06-14-2006, 03:27 PM   #29
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I like the fact that young people are attracted to DTX. It means some of them may continue to be customers as they get older, assuring the area's continuing vitality.

I'd be much more concerned about DTX's future if most of the people hanging out there were in their 50s and 60s.
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Old 06-14-2006, 04:37 PM   #30
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Let's not make the mistake of equating race with wealth. There are plenty of poor whites and rich nonwhites out there.
You're absolutely right, but go into Barney's and tell me what the racial makeup is there.
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Old 06-16-2006, 05:01 PM   #31
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Hey, justin. Hey, ZenZen.

(That's Southern for "Hi, justin. Hi ZenZen.")
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:27 AM   #32
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Does anyone else think that somewhat useless plaza between Franklin St and the Filenes building would be a great place for a giant open air newsstand a'la Harvard Sq? You might have to raze the T headhouse and reincorporate it into the new design, but I think if done well it would really help out the area..
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:42 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by statler
Does anyone else think that somewhat useless plaza between Franklin St and the Filenes building would be a great place for a giant open air newsstand a'la Harvard Sq? You might have to raze the T headhouse and reincorporate it into the new design, but I think if done well it would really help out the area..
I agree. The park is really dirty with tons of pigeon waste that should become unsanitary for vendors to even sell food there.
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Old 07-07-2006, 10:46 AM   #34
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The future of that plaza depends a lot on what the Filene's developer plans to build next to it. It now adjoins a 1970s annex that the developer almost certainly will demolish.
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Old 07-07-2006, 11:27 AM   #35
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Hopefully they will be allowed to build there and not be required to leave it as 'open space'. Ideally they would rearrange Franklin St back to it's original configuration and build on the other side, but that would require moving the T entrance, so that's not happening.
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Old 07-07-2006, 12:02 PM   #36
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I doubt that Filene's now owns that land. If it's a public plaza with a T station entrance, it's probably owned by the city. Put the right use next to it, and it could come alive. The plaza in front of Borders is well-used.
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:42 AM   #37
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Visions for downtown: Companies sketch out retail ideas
By Scott Van Voorhis
Boston Herald Business Reporter
Thursday, July 27, 2006 - Updated: 02:38 AM EST


Goodbye fast food joints and hello antique stores.

That?s one idea floated for reviving Downtown Crossing by one of a quartet of firms competing for a City Hall contract to ?rebrand? the flagging shopping district.

Two local design/marketing firms, Utile and Minelli Inc., are vying with a pair of out-of-state firms, Washington, D.C.-based ERA Consulting Team and Toronto-based Urban Marketing Collaborative, for the $250,000 job.

The firms, in bids submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, lay out the steps they will take to put together a marketing plan for the retail district.

The proposals also provide a few clues as to what may be in store for Downtown Crossing?s future.

?Our interest in Downtown Crossing is not just to make it a great shopping district, but to make it a great urban neighborhood,? said Tim Love, a principal of Utile Inc., whose offices are nearby on Summer Street.

In fact, Utile was the firm that has floated the idea of reining in some of Downtown Crossing?s traditional retail offerings in hopes of encouraging more shopping diversity.

?Scenarios? it may explore include, ?a reduction in the percentage of discount and fast food retailers,? the firm writes in its proposal.

Utile also proposes an increase in high-end, ??gentrifying? retailers,
including bakeries, cafes and small markets to support the area?s growing condo population.

A ?restaurant row? and clusters of other businesses, such as antique stores and boutiques, is also discussed in Utile?s proposal.

Love called the ideas ?trial balloons.?

Washington, D.C.-based ERA Consulting Team suggests government-backed financial incentives may be needed to ?make adjustments to the retail mix.? That may include bringing in more sit-down, family style restaurants, new apparel and accessories stores, and home products outlets.

Utile?s other Boston-based competitor, Minelli Inc., which has teamed with The Macht Group and others, was short on detail and large on the big idea. Minelli?s two-page presentation calls for coming up with a ?central brand idea.?
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Old 07-27-2006, 05:44 AM   #38
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Doesn't this just make another Newbury Street? I don't mind if they take out all the fastfood joints but I hope they don't take out the store. Also, I hope they considered building clubs and stores/restaurants that stay open later than 7pm.
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:43 AM   #39
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Macy?s to host fall Hub party to fete growth

By Donna Goodison
Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - Updated: 01:10 AM EST

The national launch of an expanded Macy?s chain will be marked locally with a Boston block party.

The Sept. 8 festivities are planned for Downtown Crossing one day before Federated Department Stores Inc. rebrands its remaining Filene?s and other regional stores nationwide to the Macy?s nameplate.

The two-hour afternoon event will include music, a dance competition, prizes and free food from downtown pushcart vendors for the first 500 attendees.

?We?ve been working with the city to coordinate this,? Elina Kazan, press director of Macy?s East, said in a swing through Boston yesterday. ?It?s going to be a real all-out event.?

Federated bought Filene?s as part of its $11 billion acquisition of May Department Stores Co. last year.

The Cincinnati company is phasing out the Filene?s in Downtown Crossing, but will keep open its flagship Macy?s store there.

Federated has embarked on a ?reinvent strategy? at the Macy?s stores to make them more shopper-friendly. Changes will include wider aisles, better fitting rooms, overhead signs to more easily spot departments and redesigned cash register areas.

New store amenities also will include self-service vending machines that dispense Apple iPods and iPod accessories. The Zoom Systems machines will be rolled out in Macy?s stores in Boston, Burlington, Braintree, Natick, North Attleboro and Peabody in September and October.

As part of increased customer outreach and a new national advertising campaign, Macy?s also has designated Boston as a stop for a mini Macy?s Thanksgiving Day parade experience.

Two 18-wheelers will roll into Boston in November. They?re being outfitted in Detroit to give customers a taste of the annual New York City event, with features that?ll include a parade history wall and an interactive simulated NBC broadcast.
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Old 07-27-2006, 06:47 AM   #40
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?a reduction in the percentage of discount and fast food retailers,?
Doesn't that conflict with the desire to bring Target into Downtown Crossing?
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