Sunday, May 11, 2014

How to make downtown retail work? Lessons from Robert Gibbs | Walkable West Palm Beach

Nice write-up from WalkableWPB on Robert Gibbs who is a real estate planning guru. Mr. Gibbs gave the last talk as part of Delray Beach's Town Hall speaker series. I attended the last one with Donald Shoup and have that on video if you are interested. You need to read all of the review, click title for link. It turns out that Mr. Gibbs is not a fan of the parking kiosk (the kind Lake Worth defaults to) and prefers the standard parking meter. He is also not a fan of parking tickets. Here is the comment left at the end of WalkableWPB's post about my experiences with Mr. Gibbs.
Thanks. We really do have to meet up sometime. I took one of those executive short courses at Harvard about 10 years ago and Gibbs taught the course. I remember asking him about the threat of on line retail to brick-and-mortar stores. His answer then was that people will always want to see, sample, try on the goods they are buying. Now some stores are merely showrooms for on-line buyers. I am sorry I missed this talk and wonder how he would answer the same question today. He was also brought in by Treasure Coast (TCRPC) for a visioning exercise here in Lake Worth a few years ago and had an opportunity to talk to him then as well. He liked Lake Worth’s potential (I sometimes say we kill ourselves with our potential) but pointed to an area between the two RR tracks. He thought that with Palm Beach County’s strong demographics and the fact that area will be sandwiched between two transit stations eventually made that the place smart money should be put in Lake Worth. Looking at that area today still makes that difficult to envision.
And, as far as downtown Lake Worth is concerned, for better or worse we have become an entertainment district more than a shopping area. I hope his other predictions about areas of that type do not come to fruition.
Nice write-up.