Comment 79509

By Crux (anonymous) | Posted July 17, 2012 at 08:40:43

"As downtown has seen increased growth and investment on James, Hess, Locke, Augusta, John and surrounding neighbourhoods, the Gore area and high-speed streets such as King, Main, Cannon and Wilson have seen little to no investment."

I sympathize with your enthusiasm for the former, but the "increased growth and investment" has been unevenly distributed even on the streets you name (quibble: Locke seems more "lower city" than "downtown").

Hess has always done well though it bisected by one-way streets. It's a neighbourhood dedicated to getting drunk, picking up and flexing your Darwin. On the Hamilton Maslow Index, it's as blue chip as it gets.

Augusta has always had a healthy pub ecosystem, and it's arguably the "next Hess" speculation that has inspired restaurant/pub/cafe investment in properties around Augusta/James. James South is used by more drivers than James North (more residential and retail up top) yet has done decently well, despite largely missing out on the ready-bake PR windfall of James North (which has, strangely, failed to inspire much residential development -- from 2006-2010, there was a total net population increase of just 50 residents in the four census tracts that meet at James & Cannon).

John has seen some investment as well, though relatively finite since two-way conversion. Most of the notable investments on John in the last 10 years are either Augusta spin-offs or downtown hybrids (such as London Tap House or Treble Hall). South of Hunter or north of King William, John has probably seen as much growth and investment as it has at ay point in the last 30 years.

It has been said before and bears repeating: Downtown lacks critical residential density of the demographic quality that makes a thriving core sustainable: Young professionals with disposable income and active social lives. There are good-paying jobs downtown but there are no residentail options that would coax those workers to stay downtown in sizable numbers, which plays a considerable role in perpetuating a downtown economy predicated on workday conveniences. (This socioeconomic incongruity may or may not help to explain why Cannon and Wilson -- dominated by low-income rental units -- remain collector roads.)

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