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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

First floor commercial adds walkabilty

Commercial on first floor of Arlington apartment buildings adds walkability.
Although it must be admitted that not all apartment buildings in Arlington, Virginia, have commercial on their first floors, it is not unknown. Mixing commercial and residential in one building was common in the past.

I recall one building in Detroit had a massive theatre on the ground floor mixed with some retail businesses. Above there were offices. There was even a dental office. Finally, the top floors contained some apartments.

A similar mix can still be found in Arlington, Virginia, and it works as well today as did decades ago. The area pictured above garnered a Walk Score of 95. This is a walker's paradise.

Yet in London pure apartment buildings are still being erected with retail businesses located nearby but not within.

There are two new luxury apartment towers on Southdale Road east of Colonel Talbot. In a place like Vancouver where land is valuable, the first floor would be commercial.  In London, where land should be valuable but isn't, the building sits in the middle of a commercial area but is not truly integrated into it.

The result is more sprawl than necessary and a lower Walk Score. When last I checked the Walk Score was only 50 for these new buildings despite being located near banks, drugstores, restaurants and more

I expect this number to climb as more businesses are opened in the strip malls surrounding the apartment towers but with a few changes these towers could have been world class places to live. As it is they are simply very, very nice for London, Ontario.

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