At this point in time, the volume of merchants who know best are long gone. There are not enough of the sensible around to counter act the big-time jokers who aim to soil our landscape by grabbing what they can for themselves with the next massive programming ploy.
Downtown efforts leave empty feeling - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Taxes are a problem, said Gerald Schiller, part-owner of several family-owned properties along Forbes Avenue and a frequent critic of government-driven rehabilitation efforts. 'Retailers are deserting Downtown, because they are being phased out of business by the city's tax policy.'We need real benchmarks too. Let's say things are going well, when they are not. Let's look at office vacancy rates -- but exclude the Lazarus Building. What's up with that? We have way to many blind spots, by design.
Schiller is particularly disturbed by a Business Improvement District tax increase on retailers. The 3.92-mill assessment, which provides money for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, will increase by 5 percent annually for the next five years. The tax is levied against property owners in a 90-block area.
Barbara McNees, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, supports the tax increase.
'We must keep Downtown safe and clean, not only for its current retailers and residents, but for visitors, new residents and others in the Downtown area,' she said.
Those who make the rules, rule.
I have no hope that the new investment of $35-million for Point State Park will save downtown.
I have no hope that the new T-stop at Gateway Center is really needed to revitalize Fifth & Forbes.
I have no hope that the half-billion dollar tunnels under the Allegheny River will turn things around either. What's the attraction of the underground T? Were people afraid to swim across the river for shopping and cheering for the Pirates?
The surge in residential units is because the value of commercial spaces is at such an all time low.
We have more people willing to move downtown because less are willing to live in our neighborhoods.
They are thinning. They are taking away high-rise buildings and replacing them with green spaces. They are getting rid of density. They are putting capacity out by the airport and other green fields while they are doing demolitions on density and urban spaces.
Our economic engine is not on a rebound. We've choked the hope. We have places to sleep, but few place to earn a pay check are willing to locate here.
We're turning into a slumbering little town. Everyone that says we are building momentum are sleeping. Wake up soon, before the marketplace leaves the state.