The life that restaurants and cafes have provided to State Street is a welcome relief to the grim desolation that was already in progress pre-pandemic. Not only do they bring people to downtown but they also provide a certain vibrancy. Commercial real estate groups are obviously the last to admit to the elephant in the room, but high rents are one of the major problems adding to State Street Blues.
I took a walk up and down State Street yesterday after having read your article “Is State Street Becoming One Big Food Court?” What’s left of retail, with the exception of a few, is pretty uninteresting. Does anybody even think about window display anymore? Does anybody even wash their windows? What are they selling and who wants it? Even Saks when it existed had the backs of their display counters facing the street. Lack of good management has led to the demise of Macy’s, Saks, etc.
I stopped in at one of the few existing thrift shops that always has great windows and asked about the effect of restaurant tables outside, and they said it was great and bringing in people. I’d say apart from the high rents, mediocrity and lack of vision over the last 20 years has been the problem. Retailers always grumble about Farmers Market and restaurants hurting their business. Envy? Maybe because they are actually selling something.