What types of tenants should be considered for the spaces? In the long term when the Triangle is closer to build out it should be able to support a variety of businesses that serve a variety of needs. In the short term, since new construction ground breakings have been MIA of late, City Vista’s retail (and 455 Mass) is all the Triangle will likely have now through 2010 or possibly 2011.
My belief is that selecting businesses that will increase foot traffic and eyes on the streets between 8pm and midnight should be a primary goal. It’s the only way the neighborhood is going to get safer. A florist or salon that closes at 7pm will not contribute the desired effect. We need businesses that will add more critical mass to the evening traffic Busboys, Results and Safeway will spawn.
Restaurants are the best candidate to foster late evening activity. Even the restaurant choice is cause for careful consideration. The plans should call for the inclusion of an anchor restaurant that will sustain business late into the evening rather than several tiny places that may stay open until 9 or 10 but turn dead after 8pm. With residences above it’s important not to choose restaurants that will turn into a quasi-night club after sunset. There may not yet be enough office density, and thereby lunch crowd, within the Triangle to support a small burger establishment like Good Stuff Eatery. These types of establishments have business models that depend heavily on both lunch and dinner traffic. A restaurant that closely replicates what one can already find in Chinatown/Penn Quarter isn’t a smart choice either as a more unique offering (like Busboys represents) is needed to pull downtown residents north of Mass.
Where does that leave us? Perhaps a mix of one anchor restaurant (~3000 sf), one small restaurant/cafe then after leasing is arranged for those it would be possible to infill with other types of businesses. Realistically the business models for the restaurants would be ones that can survive making most of their money after 4pm and on weekends but we also don’t want an establishment residents above will find to be a nuisance.
Do people agree with the rationale for restaurants? What restaurants would you propose that fit the criteria?