Friday, November 15, 2013

Retail-planning pro mum on Royal Poinciana Way PUD |

Robert Gibbs was brought in some 5 or more years ago to Lake Worth when Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council did a week-long charette here. I remember him saying that the best investment possibility he saw in Lake Worth was the land between the two railroad tracks along Lake and Lucerne Avenues. He saw the long term use of those railways as commuter lines made that area very attractive for retail. I have also had the opportunity to take a class from Gibbs at Harvard during the summer about downtown retailing - what he likes to refer to as the "corner of Main and Main." That's where all the pedestrian activity is.

I do fault him for not recognizing the profound effect of e-commerce on the life and health of downtown shopping areas. 

He was in town and talked to the Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce and this is what he said, in part. Click title for link to entire Shiny Sheet article:
Palm Beach itself, he added, is among the “top five medium-size urban areas” in the country, based on criteria such as property values, livability and shopping opportunities.
Gibbs drew a direct correlation between the quality of an area’s retail and its home values. That’s why many municipalities with rundown or aging shopping districts or malls, he said, are looking to redevelop those properties to meet the changing needs of today’s stressed-out consumer, who has “a very bad attitude about shopping,” he said.
Time-strapped women, who do most of their shopping after work or on weekends, want to get in and out of stores quickly, he said. So they frequently have a small group of go-to places where they shop regularly, knowing that the inventory will suit them. And they don’t mind paying for the convenience of parking at a meter just outside a shop’s door.
“Time is the new luxury,” Gibbs said. “We’ve also found that meters are the only way to keep employees or store owners from parking right outside their doors.”
But he criticized electronic and credit-card meters as too confusing for most users.