Curb your enthusiasm

My guy Brian Griffin over at Cincy Blog and good old Uncle Rando at Urban Cincy have been discussing the new development downtown, and how it has completely transformed the city. I don't mean to rain on anyone's parade, but please allow me to go all Storm Davis on this one:
  1. Any time people base their opinions on "I saw this one night", or "I know these people that did this", I tend to dismiss the thought out of hand. It's kind of like when people give you the whole "wait six months for a hip replacement" line for universal healthcare; it might be a singularly valid point, but it just feels cherry-picked.
  2. Please let me remind you: no more talking about The Banks until it's built. Any serious analysis of the future viability of downtown Cincinnati can't include any mention of The Banks, or the Streetcar Project for that matter. This city has proven that it can't get its head out of its ass when it comes to urban revitalization projects, and until they've proven otherwise they don't deserve the benefit of the doubt, so you can't these into account.
  3. Several new bars have opened downtown, and they are by all accounts doing well right now. The question still remains though, can they sustain their business over the long haul? Main Street had this problem years ago, and look how it turned out for them.
  4. How many times can we base the rejuvenation of downtown on a bunch of restaurants and retail stores thriving? The same problems that existed before are still in play. Until you give people something unique that they can't get out in the suburbs, they're not going to come down and play on a regular basis. Gripe all you want about that, but it's true, and other than a few exceptions (Jean-Robert's restaurants in particular) I don't see a lot that differs from what people can get in their own areas of town (word to the wise: don't brag about all the unique places downtown and then throw a bunch of chain restaurants in there.)
  5. Look at the list of bars/restaurants/retail outlets that Uncle Rando has posted. The great majority of them are significantly upscale. Haven't we been down that road before? Can we really expect the high price stores to spur the whole urban revolution that's so breathlessly discussed in the Cincy blogosphere? Are you really going to make a habit of going to Morton's, Boi Na Braza, or M&S on a weekly basis? Do you shop at Tiffany's every month? Think you'll get into Bang every Saturday night (seriously, these guys already bombed with Club Clau and the Continental, how many more of these places do we need to see before we stop taking them seriously?) It would be nice to see some mid-priced businesses going in, it seems like that's the kind of business that sustains itself more than the upper-class/special occasion businesses. Which leads to...
  6. As Brian has discussed many times, too much of the residential development focuses on the high-end, and not enough on residences in the $150-200K range that young professionals can afford. Again, aren't you shooting for the younger generation to be a major driver of change downtown? Putting super-luxurious housing downtown over affordable just smacks of quick-fix.

There's definitely developments to get excited about downtown, and we should be happy about the progress they've made. Heck, maybe I'm just an old coot; those that know me know I'm somewhat of a late adopter anyways. I've just heard enough times about how downtown is back and better than ever, and two weeks later it all falls apart. Just stop getting so far out over your skis hyping it up and people will take it more seriously and get more personally invested.

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