REIMAGINING

URBAN ENVIRONMENTS

USING RETAIL TO  MAKE URBAN MIXED USE ENVIROMENTS

Projects

Reurbanist’s team members have participated in a range of projects that have included private sector led, retail anchored, transit-oriented developments (TOD) to public sector led retail and commercial studies and downtown revitalization strategies.

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Kingsmills Department Store to Close

In 2012 I wrote about the Kingsmill Department Store and how it was the last of an era. Unfortunately, Kingsmill has announced they will be closing after 148 years in business. The previous article posted can be found below. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- For over a century, downtown department stores were the iconic shopping destinations in Canadian cities. […]

Retail and Economic Mobility

I have been helping to organize an event held by the City of Toronto called the Chief Planner Roundtable. One of the common themes emerging from these discussions is how the design of our suburbs is not conducive to economic mobility for new immigrants. In the past, newcomers to Toronto lived in neighbourhoods like Kensington Market […]

Toronto Underground Market: Food & Beverage Incubator

Last weekend I checked out the Toronto Underground Market’s (TUM) second anniversary party at the Evergreen Brick Works. TUM is essentially like a business incubator, but for food & beverage operators. The organization started out in 2010 and has become a forum for emerging chefs to test out menu ideas and business practices. TUM has […]

Cool Urban Canadian Tire Becomes Lame & Suburban

I stumbled across what I was convinced must be the coolest Canadian Tire in all of Canada on Google Maps. Located at the end of one of the main streets in downtown Paris, Ontario, is a three storey heritage building which was occupied by a Canadian Tire until about one month ago. Sadly, the Canadian Tire […]

Profiled Project: The RISE, Vancouver

One of my favourite urban retail projects is The RISE in Vancouver, BC, developed by Grosvenor in 2008. The project stacked three large format large format stores and a number of smaller tenants onto a 2.3 acre site near a rapid-transit station. To put that into perspective, it would typically require approximately 19 acres of land […]

Profiled Project: Highgate Village, Burnaby

The developer of Highgate Village was able to take advantage of the sloping site by locating parking partially below-grade. Vehicles enter at-grade off Kingsway at the front of the site, but due to the slope, are actually one level below-grade at the rear of the site. Small CRUs line Kingsway, creating an articulated frontage for […]

The Viability of Vertical Retail in Urban Environments

In the context of vertical shopping environments, a rule of thumb that is sometimes applied is that sales performance drops off by 50% for every floor above ground level. By the time you get to the third storey, you can expect only a fraction of the sales turnover. As a result the space is often not viable. When working […]

Parking and Retail Development

Is this really a sustainable retail development? While developers and retailers alike may think customers require excessive amounts of parking, changes in demographics and consumer preferences may prove otherwise. Image from the ICSC International Outlet Journal, Summer 2009, Volume 5, Number 3 edition. While current trends show that automobile use is likely on the decline […]

Sizing Open Spaces: How Wide is Too Wide?

Cover Photo Credit: Steve Rosset Getting the right width for open spaces in retail areas can be challenging.  Too wide and the space can feel open and barren, too narrow and it feels congested and chaotic. Building heights impact appropriate proportions, as do the types of movement and uses occurring in open spaces. Even local climatic factors can […]

Creating Points of Attraction

Points of attraction “anchor” a project. People are naturally drawn to particular anchors and in so doing circulate through the retail environment. But what exactly qualifies as an anchor? Traditionally retail centres were almost always anchored by one or more department stores. As department stores have declined in power over the past two decades, other […]

External Visibility

In mixed use environments it is tempting to put the retail space in the middle of a site, to create a “town square”, or fronting on a public park or waterfront. There are two good reasons suburban shopping malls are almost always placed at the intersection of two major highways: visibility and access. If you […]

Talking to Tenants

Developers It is never too early to start informally talking to key anchors during the design phase. Anchors make or break a project and everything depends on their commitment. Unfortunately for the developer, this puts anchors in a very strong negotiating position. Making sure the project meets key anchor’s requirements such as servicing and parking […]

Rethinking retail’s role in animating streets and public spaces

For decades, planners, urban designers, and policy makers have advocated for street-facing ground floor retail space as a means of animating streets and public spaces. Retail was in many ways the optimal use for achieving this activation due to its foot traffic generation and visual diversity created by storefront designs, lighting, and window transparency. Many […]

The Viability of Vertical Retail in Urban Environments

In the context of vertical shopping environments, a rule of thumb that is sometimes applied is that sales performance drops off by 50% for every floor above ground level. By the time you get to the third storey, you can expect only a fraction of the sales turnover. As a result the space is often not viable. When working […]

Office Feasibility Analysis Resources

Doing a market feasibility analysis for an office development isn't exactly exciting, but its an important exercise to undertake to manage risks levels. If you find yourself asked to determine the feasibility of office space - either for an individual developer, or at a broader municipal / regional level - the following resources will be […]

Know Your Surroundings

The first step in determining the market opportunity for retail land uses is to get an understanding of one’s surroundings. Key issues to pay attention to include the immediate context, competing projects / districts, transportation and access, and upcoming development trends. This analysis process will help determine the market voids currently unfulfilled in the local […]

Constraints

After gaining an understanding of the environment in which the project sits, the next step is to determine the constraints which need to be accounted for. Constraints include physical attributes, market realities, and government regulations. As a developer, government regulations such as rights-of-way, public space requirements, environmentally sensitive areas, parking requirements, set backs, site coverage, […]

The Vision

A vision is a guiding statement or document which vividly illustrates what a location looks like and how it will function in the future. Far too often vision statements sound like a bunch of  rhetoric which is effectively meaningless. A second issue with many vision statements is that it is formulated before fully understanding their […]

About Reurbanist
Reurbanist™ believes retail offers cities the best opportunity to recreate their urban fabric.

Developers, investors and governments around the world are recognizing how retail offers enormous opportunities. Retail is the glue which holds communities, neighbourhoods and mixed use developments together.
Recent Articles
Rethinking retail’s role in animating streets and public spaces

For decades, planners, urban designers, and policy makers have advocated for street-facing ground floor retail space as a means of animating streets and public spaces. Retail was in many ways the optimal use for achieving this activation due to its foot traffic generation and visual diversity created by storefront designs, lighting, and window transparency. Many […]

The Benefits of PokémonGo: Footfall, Draw & Leverage

Since the release of PokémonGo, there has been an influx of coverage in what many local business and retail centres are doing to capitalize on this increasingly popular game developed by Niantic and The Pokémon Company. The premise behind this game is to mimic the story and concept of the Pokémon franchise which is aptly […]

The Viability of Vertical Retail in Urban Environments

In the context of vertical shopping environments, a rule of thumb that is sometimes applied is that sales performance drops off by 50% for every floor above ground level. By the time you get to the third storey, you can expect only a fraction of the sales turnover. As a result the space is often not viable. When working […]

Food Lover's Market, Cape Town

To meet the evolving needs of workers and visitors in the core of Cape Town, a new food concept has been pioneered under the “Food Lover’s Market” label. The modern eatery concept brings together the best of an urban grocery store and food court within one beautifully designed facility. Importantly, centralized point-of-sale tills allow visitors […]

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