Learn more about the Vibrant Spaces Grant.

Housing

Downtown as a neighborhood

The economic advantages to downtown from additional residential development are obvious for both landlords and businesses, but the social benefits are equally relevant. When people call downtown home, they are more likely to take an interest in downtown planning and to advocate for public-sector policies and investment. After all, these individuals represent a pool of voting constituents with a vested interest in their downtown neighborhood. Residents who live within walking distance increase the chance of spontaneous activities—such as music performances or athletic get-togethers—taking place in downtown. They also provide a reliable audience for casual events Read More

2018-01-10T16:58:06-06:00October 16, 2017|Community Engagement, Marketing & Promotion, Places|

Downtown residents as consumers

The addition of new residents into downtown is a boon to both landlords and commercial tenants, creating a new (or enhanced) source of revenue for landlords with vacant upper floors or dated apartments, and a reliable stream of accessible customers for retailers and restaurants. Since residents within walking distance of a business have been found to frequent local shops twice as often as driving-distance customers, and with the average downtown household in Wisconsin making $9,000 worth of discretionary purchases within the state, the addition of only a few units can result in a dramatic increase in local spending. Read More

2018-01-10T16:59:56-06:00October 9, 2017|Places, Preservation, Small Business|

The case for residential development downtown

Downtowns are the original live/work neighborhood. Traditionally, small business owners lived above their shop, which was a convenient and cost-effective way to sustain a household. Especially profitable business owners might live elsewhere, instead allowing employees to live above the business, which was both a good business practice (increasing employee availability) and an employee perk. Over time, social norms, development patterns and zoning standards in all but the largest cities made it less common, resulting in many upper floors being relegated to storage uses. The combination of shifting demographics, increasing demand for low-maintenance residential options within walking distance of amenities, and preference for unique architecture and authentic experiences has led to a resurgence in demand for downtown living space Read More

2017-12-21T02:04:53-06:00October 2, 2017|Local Ordinances, Places, Preservation, Small Business|