CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Last week the Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA) announced Cleveland had reached a major milestone with 15,000 people now living in downtown but what will it take to get national retailers to start moving in?
There is a set of magic numbers behind the answer to that question. When a downtown reaches 20,000 to 25,000 residents, retailers begin to take notice, according to Heather Holmes, spokesperson for DCA.
"Euclid Avenue has tremendous potential as a retail destination, though we have to keep in mind that the rapidly changing face of retail (influence of online shopping) may mean that it will look different from anything we've seen before," warned Holmes, adding retailers are looking.
"Yes! Several are interested, particularly for space along Euclid Avenue," she said. "For our part, Downtown Cleveland Alliance focuses on showing retailers that downtown Cleveland is on a clear path to 20,000 residents."
Why is that number so important?
"Sufficient population density to generate sufficient walk-up foot traffic," she said.
Gordon Geiger said they took a risk moving his men's and women's clothing store into downtown in November of 2015 when the population was only around 14,000 but says he's glad they did.
"Business is good, but still not up to where it should/could be," said Geiger. "Indeed we were early but that was our plan knowing the huge need for retail."
There are currently 17 housing developments in various stages in downtown. Some have started construction and other are still looking for financing. If, or when, all 17 are completed and filled it would push the population living in downtown from 15,000 to 20,000 which is the goal for the DCA by 2020.
"That's 25 percent. In our business that many more customers would, without question, bring business up to where it should be," says Geiger.
The idea of having many more retailers, including national chains like The Gap and Old Navy for example, could transform an area into a shopping destination. One area that is being considered is Euclid Avenue where Geiger's is already located.
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