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Old Strathcona / Whyte Avenue

It doesn't really have the type of places that attract hordes of boxing day shoppers and maybe we really don't want an H&M or Best Buy there.
I dunno, this comment feels like a big ole cope to me. "We want more vibrant and walkable communities, but things people actually want to go to are really just better being relegated to car-dependent malls and shopping centres!"
The way I see it, an inability to attract more major retail chains on Whyte is harmful for the smaller independent retailers just like a mall being unable to retain anchor tenants is very harmful to the smaller tenants inside the mall.

Generally I hope the people saying things are just in flux right now are right, but my understanding is that many places have already recovered from their pandemic lulls and that has me worried.
 
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I really don't think most people want Whyte Ave to be a bunch of generic mall or big box stores that just end up driving out the smaller independent retailers, but if you want to attack me for that idea, I suppose you can.

As was said, it is coming back and the vacant spaces are being filled perhaps slower than you want, but have some patience. COVID generally hit the street front and smaller businesses much harder.
 
First, wasn't meant as an attack really. I do think its a bit of a silly false dichotomy though to say we either only have major chains or we only have independents. Nearly all successful commercial strips I've been to are mixes of chains and independents. Clearly independent retailers on Whyte are already struggling competing with the big boxes at the aforementioned malls and shopping centres in other parts of the city, your previous comment even appears to be conceding that. At least having some more of these chains on the same strip would bring more foot traffic... again just like it does at a mall.
 
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Oh goody, can we get a Dairy Queen again in a prime spot on Whyte Ave, that sure attracted lots of customers to the area, didn't it? The Starbucks is gone, but I don't think that has hurt traffic either. A quite nice coffee shop that is not an huge international chain eventually replaced it. So I think that was actually an improvement.

I don't mind having the Winners there and do occasionally go there, but they have two other locations I can easily go to as well. So, I don't think it is really drawing in the crowds from the rest of the city. I think its arrival may have partly led to the demise of Army and Navy, which really was a more unique destination store, but perhaps that was just COVID and age of the business.

The Subway is still there if you want a quick bite, but there are a lot of very nice and unique places to eat and I think those and the market are what really draw people to the area more. What draws people to malls more in December is the weather, although this year is quite mild compared to most years, but we are used to hunkering down at this time of year, so it becomes a habit.
 
I was thinking more retail (like the H&M or Best Buy you had mentioned), than fast food. I don't think anyone's traveling to a specific mall or shopping centre for their Starbucks fix.
Once again going back to the comparison to malls and anchor tenants, Dairy Queen would not be an example of an anchor. :p
 
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Oh goody, can we get a Dairy Queen again in a prime spot on Whyte Ave, that sure attracted lots of customers to the area, didn't it? The Starbucks is gone, but I don't think that has hurt traffic either. A quite nice coffee shop that is not an huge international chain eventually replaced it. So I think that was actually an improvement.

I don't mind having the Winners there and do occasionally go there, but they have two other locations I can easily go to as well. So, I don't think it is really drawing in the crowds from the rest of the city. I think its arrival may have partly led to the demise of Army and Navy, which really was a more unique destination store, but perhaps that was just COVID and age of the business.

The Subway is still there if you want a quick bite, but there are a lot of very nice and unique places to eat and I think those and the market are what really draw people to the area more. What draws people to malls more in December is the weather, although this year is quite mild compared to most years, but we are used to hunkering down at this time of year, so it becomes a habit.

I would much rather have Indigo/Chapters back on Whyte Ave than the Winners that replaced it. I've never been to Winners on Whyte Ave and I have no desire to do so when I can go to the Winners at ECC.
 
I was thinking more retail (like the H&M or Best Buy you had mentioned), than fast food. I don't think anyone's traveling to a specific mall or shopping centre for their Starbucks fix.
Once again going back to the comparison to malls and anchor tenants, Dairy Queen would not be an example of an anchor. :p
I really doubt either H&M or Best Buy are seriously considering any street front location in this winter city of many malls and power centres.

So for chains it could realistically attract probably would be things like Dairy Queen or Starbucks or Winners, the last of which is actually kind of a mall anchor.

I though Lululemon was a good draw and fit for the area, but alas gone now. They seem to prefer only malls here too.
 
Pretty sure there are plenty of cities with street-facing H&M's and other major retailers, I've certainly seen a fair few myself. I think you might be slowly coming around to my main point though which is that there needs to be more done by the City to improve the vibrancy, attractiveness to business, and competitiveness of our walkable commercial areas and that being patient hoping that things are just in flux and will fix themselves might not always be enough.
 
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Yes there are cities with such street facing stores. Most with more temperate climates and/or, not so many malls and power centres. Some with more or even extreme physical space constraints that limit these.

The policy decision required to actually fix this now would probably be to bulldoze the largest mall in this city and several big power centres as well. Realistically I don't see that happening.

If we could go back in a time machine, maybe we could have helped those people in charge at the time make different decisions, but I think to expect certain things right now is not very realistic.
 
Hot take, but I think there's still a lot that the City can do short of demolishing the WEM. That said, if you're able to get your hands on a time machine, I'd agree that'd likely be the most effective option!
 
We have to work with what we have, but I think Whyte Ave will continue to recover and be ultimately be fine without most of the mall and power centre stores.

Perhaps Lululemon will eventually see the error of their ways and return, but that may be too much to hope for. Something else nice may eventually take that spot.

Whyte Ave might not be like streets in some other places, but I'm not really a fan of streets like Robson Street in Vancouver which have turned into a huge glorified outdoor mall.

I feel our major streets can and should be places more for unique local and independent businesses, which can and do draw people too. The ones that survived the last few years are resilient and new ones will come too.
 
I think this might be where we agree to disagree then, I think my top interest is that we have a city which is properly urban and enables active transportation and having all the stores people feel they need in a walkable area is an important step in that. Boutiques are nice, but much of the time people still need those bread & butter retailers and I feel we ideally shouldn't need a car in order to access them.

I also feel like the one ultimately helps out in the success of the other (again) the same way they do with a mall. Though of course it is always a balancing act to make sure the local busiensses aren't displaced, I just think we're still pretty far from that being a major concern in the case of any of Edmonton's more walkable areas.
 
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We have to work with what we have, but I think Whyte Ave will continue to recover and be ultimately be fine without most of the mall and power centre stores.

Perhaps Lululemon will eventually see the error of their ways and return, but that may be too much to hope for. Something else nice may eventually take that spot.

Whyte Ave might not be like streets in some other places, but I'm not really a fan of streets like Robson Street in Vancouver which have turned into a huge glorified outdoor mall.

I feel our major streets can and should be places more for unique local and independent businesses, which can and do draw people too. The ones that survived the last few years are resilient and new ones will come too.
Robson street is tough to be critical of. Might not be your vibe, but it’s objectively a very successful retail and Main Street. I’d die for whyte to be as vibrant as it.

I think whyte needs some more high density residential still. And then some streetscape improvements (coming soon thankfully). And then some other destination/anchor type stores like others have said. Apple, Nike, LuLu, Aritzia, etc.
 
Robson street is tough to be critical of. Might not be your vibe, but it’s objectively a very successful retail and Main Street. I’d die for whyte to be as vibrant as it.

I think whyte needs some more high density residential still. And then some streetscape improvements (coming soon thankfully). And then some other destination/anchor type stores like others have said. Apple, Nike, LuLu, Aritzia, etc.

Absolutely. There's so much room for more density in Old Strathcona. Thankfully the Hat is finally a-go, but need the Mezzo and rest of Southpark to go ahead. Then something where the Artisan was supposed to go and the parking lots around the South Side Chapel, preferably high-rise. Then we need to deal with the Don Wheaton dealership and the remaining strip malls on 109th and Whyte. Then maybe we can start densifying or redeveloping the big box centres south of Whyte around Calgary Trail. Oh and intermixed we can start demolishing some of the '60s and '70s walkups on 83rd, 81st, etc with some 6-10 story apartments as a medium density option.

I think the weird thing is when I think of chains that would fit well with Whyte, some of them already came and left the strip, like Lululemon, Chapters, and even Five Guys tbh. I also think Urban Outfitters would be a good fit, maybe Anthropologie or Sephora or Aritzia too. An Apple Store would be a game-changer.
 
Some people think some big international chain is the height of things, some people prefer to support independent retailers. I feel Whyte Ave was designed to be more the latter not the former. I do agree more density will help Whyte Ave be more vibrant and building on an empty lot first rather than tearing down what for some is affordable housing is the smarter way to go about it. There are some chains that cater to a broad market that could fit in here, but like Lululemon they seem to generally prefer to focus on and expand their mall stores here. I don't think that will change soon and I don't think they are really needed on this particular street.

Vancouver has great density, largely because of severe physical constraints and a location that has easy international access and appeal to well of ex pats. But it is also becoming severely unaffordable to live for the average person and they are leaving for places like here. In addition to the shiny street front often expensive stores on places like Robson St, there are some not really so good things that come with the model there.
 

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