DID considers limiting restaurant space downtown


DID considers limiting restaurant space downtown


Date: September 4, 2013
by: David Conway | News Editor


At the Downtown Improvement District meeting Tuesday morning, board member Mark Kauffman once again brought up the idea of restricting the amount of space restaurants could occupy downtown.

Last time, his focus was limited to the State Street garage. This time, though, he wants to consider placing a restriction throughout the entirety of the DID.

The goal, Kauffman said, is to prevent restaurants from overrunning downtown. He believes too many restaurants would be a deterrent for people interested in walking through downtown and shopping.

“We don’t want to stop restaurants — obviously, restaurants are important,” Kauffman said. “There has to be a reasonable limit to them.”

Other board members expressed their trepidation regarding such a restriction, and Kauffman agreed that a survey of property owners within the district should be conducted before any recommendations are made or action is taken.

Kauffman said the idea to limit restaurant space was started in St. Armands Circle, where restaurants occupy 55% of retail space. Marty Rappaport, chairman of the St. Armands Business Improvement District, had expressed interest in teaming up with the DID and going to the City Commission to suggest the restaurant restrictions, according to Kauffman.

A contributing factor to the desire to limit restaurant space — and encourage other types of retail establishments to occupy available property instead — was to help create a shopping district to compete with The Mall at University Town Center, which is scheduled to open in October 2014.

“The feeling in St. Armands Circle, and from a lot of merchants downtown, is the salvation of downtown once the mall opens up is more shops,” Kauffman said.

DID Chairman Ernest Ritz suggested that restaurants were an area of strength for downtown when competing with the mall. He pointed to Westfield Southgate Mall, which has recently taken a different approach to attract customers.

“They’re losing their major tenants, so the first thing they thought of doing was to put in restaurants and bars and make an entertainment center,” Ritz said. “That’s one of the things downtown has that I think a mall doesn’t have.”

Downtown Economic Development Coordinator Norman Gollub said he will be reviewing and recommending an optimal mix for the city’s major business districts, including downtown and St. Armands Circle. The study should be completed in April, Gollub said.


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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • The free market will dictate what business go where. Government intervention has it's way of killing business. The only thing the city needs to be concerned with is optimizing tax revenue to be able to reduce the overall property taxes it's citizens.
  • Thomas Hawkins
    Wed 4th Sep 2013
    at 5:56pm
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