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Eaton Lofts
#31
(02-07-2016, 09:47 PM)Spokes Wrote: I'm sure others will argue against me, but I don't think they're there yet.  They're going to want to see a critical mass living within a walking distance, and it's just not there yet.

The question is, what is critical mass?  There are quite a lot of high-density residential buildings either ready or under construction within walking distance of this building:
  • Kaufman lofts
  • 1 Victoria (this year)
  • City Centre (this year)
  • Arrow lofts
  • Bread & Roses
  • 57 Queen N
  • 150 Queen S
  • 214 Queen S
  • 221 Queen S
  • 11 Margaret
  • 64 Benton
  • 119 Madison
  • 10 Ellen
  • 81 Church
  • 101 Church
And how many more am I forgetting?  On top of these, there are the people who work downtown, who might pick up some groceries after work before heading home.
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#32
(02-07-2016, 10:36 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(02-07-2016, 09:47 PM)Spokes Wrote: I'm sure others will argue against me, but I don't think they're there yet.  They're going to want to see a critical mass living within a walking distance, and it's just not there yet.

The question is, what is critical mass?  There are quite a lot of high-density residential buildings either ready or under construction within walking distance of this building:
  • Kaufman lofts
  • 1 Victoria (this year)
  • City Centre (this year)
  • Arrow lofts
  • Bread & Roses
  • 57 Queen N
  • 150 Queen S
  • 214 Queen S
  • 221 Queen S
  • 11 Margaret
  • 64 Benton
  • 119 Madison
  • 10 Ellen
  • 81 Church
  • 101 Church
And how many more am I forgetting?  On top of these, there are the people who work downtown, who might pick up some groceries after work before heading home.

310 Queen Street S (Drewlo building across the street from Bread and Roses)
Queen Margaret Place

The downtown work crowd is also definitely significant.
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#33
(02-07-2016, 10:36 PM)tomh009 Wrote: On top of these, there are the people who work downtown, who might pick up some groceries after work before heading home.

To this point, grab-and-go / prepared foods (not just to take home, but also for lunch) can be a pretty big focus of an urban format grocery store. And there's definitely demand for it in the west end of downtown.
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#34
There's also something to be said for getting in ahead of perfect residential conditions. Were you to wait until many more towers had been constructed, you might not be able to get a decent location or at a decent price anymore. The entire Eaton's main floor is currently easy to have acquired. In short order, I'm not sure how easily a main floor King St frontage of that size could be easily acquired.
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#35
(02-07-2016, 10:36 PM)tomh009 Wrote: The question is, what is critical mass? 

Answer: have at least average density. Last time the city put out a density map downtown the neighbourhood around Kitchener city Hall area had the lowest density anywhere, if I remember correctly.
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#36
Nation’s, a small (four or five locations if I recall correctly) grocery store chain from the GTA opened a location in Jackson Square in downtown Hamilton in 2013. It’s a 55,000 square foot supermarket. It caters to Asian communities (like a B&T or similar) so has a wide selection of “ethnic” foods in particular Asian foods, but a similar selection in most categories as the national chains. When they opened the outlet, they paid lip service to the condo and apartment developments going on lately in downtown Hamilton (which are arguably not that extensive), but the real strategy is serving people who work downtown. The prepared food section takes up a lot of floor space- they have almost a mini-cafeteria as part of it. If you go at 4:00 or 4:30 on a weekday, there are a lot of obviously white collar workers picking up two or three bags of groceries before heading home.

It was a big deal, by the way, when Nation’s decided to locate in Jackson Square, and a surprise to many people. Downtown Hamilton was a much more extensive food desert than downtown Kitchener is.

I expect that this is the likeliest outcome for downtown, but possibly on a bit of a smaller scale: a grocery store with a wide variety of prepared foods being peddled to office workers on lunch, and hoping to sell some of them some groceries before they leave downtown. Viewfromthe42 is right that someone may want to get ahead of residential growth, and they’ll depend on employees in the meantime.
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#37
I would imagine the zoning requirements have minimum parking for a grocery store that just couldn't be met with the Eaton's building. I live near Victoria Park and I rarely find myself shopping for food at Shoppers because Food Basics is only 2km away by bike or foot on the trail and way cheaper than the food options downtown currently. I imagine many people living on Queen & Courtland or the Iron Horse Towers feel the same way, or they just drive to Sobeys/Basics on Highland Road. Anyone on the east side of downtown can hit up No-Frills in a car no problem. I would love to see a decent supermarket downtown and think that we are getting close to having enough density nearby to make it work. Central Fresh works because they are mostly surrounded by residential and have a lot of parking.
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#38
(02-08-2016, 08:22 AM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(02-07-2016, 10:36 PM)tomh009 Wrote: The question is, what is critical mass? 

Answer: have at least average density. Last time the city put out a density map downtown the neighbourhood around Kitchener city Hall area had the lowest density anywhere, if I remember correctly.

What radius did they look at?  Immediately next to city hall there is little housing at all (apart from City Centre), but there is a lot within a 1 km radius.

(02-08-2016, 08:38 AM)clasher Wrote: I would imagine the zoning requirements have minimum parking for a grocery store that just couldn't be met with the Eaton's building.

I don't think zoning would be a problem, as the building already exists, and allows retail use, including grocery.  There is also parking in the city hall underground, and the surface lot on the other side of Water St.  For that matter, New City Supermarket has no parking, either.
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#39
(02-08-2016, 08:53 AM)tomh009 Wrote:
(02-08-2016, 08:22 AM)BuildingScout Wrote: Answer: have at least average density. Last time the city put out a density map downtown the neighbourhood around Kitchener city Hall area had the lowest density anywhere, if I remember correctly.

What radius did they look at?  Immediately next to city hall there is little housing at all (apart from City Centre), but there is a lot within a 1 km radius.

Couldn't find the map in google. Perhaps someone else here has a link to it.
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#40
(02-08-2016, 09:16 AM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(02-08-2016, 08:53 AM)tomh009 Wrote: What radius did they look at?  Immediately next to city hall there is little housing at all (apart from City Centre), but there is a lot within a 1 km radius.

Couldn't find the map in google. Perhaps someone else here has a link to it.

I currently live downtown and would not use a grocery store located there, especially if it doesn't have parking.  In my opinion, a downtown grocery will not happen for a long time.  Core is still very car-oriented and the density is not even close (walk the downtown some evening and you'll see what I mean).

Also, there is reasonable access to grocery between the ValuMart on Frederick, Asian groceries on King and Central fresh.  As a resident, I really don't get the fixation on a downtown grocery store.

I wonder if the grocery store commentary should be moved to a suitable thread and the speculation on the Eatons building continued here?
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#41
(02-08-2016, 12:10 PM)REnerd Wrote: I currently live downtown and would not use a grocery store located there, especially if it doesn't have parking.  (...)

I'm curious, why would you not use a grocery store in downtown, if there were one?  Don't want to walk to a grocery store?  Don't want to shop downtown in general?  Something else?
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#42
(02-08-2016, 12:21 PM)tomh009 Wrote:
(02-08-2016, 12:10 PM)REnerd Wrote: I currently live downtown and would not use a grocery store located there, especially if it doesn't have parking.  (...)

I'm curious, why would you not use a grocery store in downtown, if there were one?  Don't want to walk to a grocery store?  Don't want to shop downtown in general?  Something else?

I shop at the 'asian' stores near the market for most of my vegetables.   As my work is mostly car-oriented, I want to stop at a store with parking on my way home (generally speaking).

Certainly, I'm not everyone.  Just one voice.
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#43
(02-08-2016, 04:18 PM)REnerd Wrote:
(02-08-2016, 12:21 PM)tomh009 Wrote: I'm curious, why would you not use a grocery store in downtown, if there were one?  Don't want to walk to a grocery store?  Don't want to shop downtown in general?  Something else?

I shop at the 'asian' stores near the market for most of my vegetables.   As my work is mostly car-oriented, I want to stop at a store with parking on my way home (generally speaking).

Certainly, I'm not everyone.  Just one voice.

As an example, have you tried shopping at the Shoppers downtown, using their parking? Curious what you think of it in terms of accessibility (is the parking easy to get to from your drive, is the parking easy to get to from your shopping experience). I've never seen that lot full, and I think Shoppers has done a wonderful job of making it an easy experience for drivers. A grocery store in urban format would all but certainly make similar ease for drivers, even if the idea is to cater to transit/bike/walk customers more than a suburban store.
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#44
Part of the fixation on a downtown (or urban) grocery stores is that it fills in a gap in the food desert and has the potential to increase foot traffic in the area because everyone needs groceries.

As for the lack of parking and the need to carry large quantities of groceries, these kinds of problems existed before cars were widespread. In days gone by, and especially when refrigeration wasn't common or spacious, shoppers would walk from store to store along their downtown core, make their purchases, and then arrange for the delivery of groceries at home later that day. Door-to-door delivery of milk and baked goods eliminated the need for carrying those groceries home. Corner stores filled the gap of being a nearby place where kitchen essentials could be purchased. Today, most of those groceries are all contained in one large store where the expectation is that everything can be found and purchased at once.

I think until a larger amount of walking residents are nearby, it will be difficult to convince someone to open a relatively large grocery store downtown. The only type that might succeed would be something like a Vincenzo's that fills a niche and isn't likely found elsewhere. The New City Supermarket (aka the Asian Grocery store) succeeds where it does because it offers a wide selection of niche goods.

Getting back to the Eatons space, I think that it is more likely to be adapted as another space for an emerging tech company. In the medium term, once the existing buildings in the downtown core are used up, it will be far easier to repurpose a space like this than to have to push an entirely new building through the development process.
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#45
(02-09-2016, 08:44 PM)nms Wrote: As for the lack of parking and the need to carry large quantities of groceries, these kinds of problems existed before cars were widespread.  In days gone by, and especially when refrigeration wasn't common or spacious, shoppers would walk from store to store along their downtown core, make their purchases, and then arrange for the delivery of groceries at home later that day.  Door-to-door delivery of milk and baked goods eliminated the need for carrying those groceries home.

I grew up living in a (northern) European city; we had a car, but I have no recollection of ever going grocery shopping by car back then.  My mother would carry the groceries back in a bag or two -- given the family of five, what it really meant was going shopping more frequently than once a week.  And in France people will go to a store daily, to buy bread at the minimum -- otherwise it simply wouldn't be fresh!

More frequent, less-mega shopping, picking things up after work, prepared foods, freshly-baked bread, these are minor lifestyle adjustments that allow downtown grocers to not only survive but thrive.
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