Will Downtown Comebacks Reverse Commercial Sprawl? Yes, It is Happening Right Now.

maple leaf gardensloblaws/Promo image

Christopher Leinberger recently wrote about the decline of the suburbs and the rebirth of the downtown; I covered it in What Caused The Real Estate Meltdown? The Collapse Of The Suburban Fringe.

At NRDC switchboard, Kaid Benfield picks up on the article and wonders, Will downtown comebacks, entrepreneurs reverse commercial sprawl? He concludes:

I think there is little question that for an abundance of reasons future development in America – both commercial and residential – is going to be more urban, more walkable, and less sprawling. The communities that prosper most as the 21st century matures will be the ones that recognize these shifts and welcome them with the right kind of planning, development, and amenities.

lineup at loblawsBlogTO/via

That is, in fact, exactly what is happening. Just this morning, thousands lined up around the block for the opening of a giant new grocery and clothing store in downtown Toronto, in the iconic Maple Leaf Gardens. Hockey purists are shocked and appalled, thinking it a crass use for the revered hockey palace; the fact is, there is still a hockey rink and now there is a flagship 85,000 square foot supermarket as well. An historic building has been preserved and restored, new, more intense uses have been found for it, Ryerson University has a place to play hockey and everybody wins, including the tens of thousands of people who have moved back downtown.

section through gardensRyerson University/via

Kaid wonders if entrepreneurs will come back downtown; of course they will, for the same reason Willy Sutton robbed banks: "That's where the money is."

See a gallery of photos of the event at The Grid.

Will Downtown Comebacks Reverse Commercial Sprawl? Yes, It is Happening Right Now.
In Toronto today, a monster new grocery store is opening in an old hockey rink. Purists are appalled, but I am excited.

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