Maple Street and Main Street are both well built out with buildings conforming to the traditional development pattern of walkable urban environments. The only gap on Maple Street is the parking lot where this central structure used to be:
And on Main Street where various building were lost to the 2011 tornado:
Davenport has sketched out some plans for that lot but has not acted on them yet because, in my opinion, MGM wants to use that property as a backup to cover its market rate housing obligation should the 13-31 Elm Street project fall through.
Between them is this stretch of Union Street. Union Street sees steady traffic all day and night from the MGM resort, its exit/entrance ramps to I-91, and as the only alternative to State Street going east/west from the interstate to the core of the city. Yet it looks like this:
It’s hard to imagine a more underutilized stretch of high value real estate in the entire region. That said, I don’t imagine that much demand exists to develop these blocks despite the automobile and foot traffic of this thoroughfare.
My question is this though, if developers did propose to infill Union Street, but with this sort of project:
Would it be an improvement or a step back?
The city would see more revenue from these properties.
Density, employment and access to retail would increase.
On the other hand it would signal an expansion of auto oriented development from the Columbus avenues into the heart of the city. The currently lifeless, but unbroken pedestrian connection would become pocked with more curb cuts and vehicles entering and exiting with greater frequency.
What do you think, better a Chipotle, a Chick-Fil-A, and an Aldi between me and Main Street, or patiently wait for the 2nd Coming that “urban infill” would represent?