Friday, June 5, 2020

JC Penney to Close downtown Store - and brief City Council Notes

JC Penney has announced it will be closing the downtown store. It joins at least Nordstrom and TJ Max. (There were probably others in the mall proper also, but they aren't top of mind here.)

April 10th, 1917 and more here on the first store site
The company is closing 154 stores, so this is not merely something about Salem in particular, but is about the Pandemic accelerating structural changes in department store and big box retailing.

Moved to PDX, still breaking Salem news - via twitter
It is also another sign that our current conception of downtown as a drive-to destination like a mall is not at all sustainable, and that we will have to build more housing and create a larger market with people whose demand is satisfied with a greater proportion of walking trips. Autoism by itself can't sustain the downtown economy. No amount of free parking would have prevented these changes.

From 2008: more downtown housing
With a larger downtown population constituting a market itself, businesses will return.

But as long as we conceive of downtown businesses as having to be a drive-to anchor tenant, or as drafting off a big drive-to anchor, we will likely continue to see long-term erosion.

Council Agenda

Council meets on Monday and the agenda is light for our interests here. Two bullets only.
Long piece in
today's paper
Not on the agenda directly (though the big budget resolutions are), but likely a topic at Council will be the Police response to demonstrations. There's evidence that the policing has engaged in preferential bias. Hopefully Council will remember that with the process for a new Chief and with the opening of a new Station, Council has some leverage and there may be more opportunity here.

1 comment:

Susann Kaltwasser said...

So Vanessa Nordyke broached the subject of downtown redevelopment. Wonder where that will take us. But one idea that I liked was to turn Penny's location into housing with a grocery store on the main floor. Not sure what this all means for the skybridges, but this could be an interesting exercise in redoing the role of downtown in Salem's future.