by Molly Robinson

As part of the planning process, we’ve engaged with a number of different interest groups, including the Real Estate and Development communities. Many of the conversations have shed some light on the challenges of finding the right tenants for the right properties (and vice versa), particularly commercial properties.

I came across this edited interview recently about a real estate professional in Cambridge, Massachusetts who has challenged the modus operandi and pushed his clients –both landlords and tenants– to take some risks. He is particularly concerned with creating places that are unique, not just filling spaces. Jesse Baerkahn explains that one retail shop is not enough, but how that one shop fits into a larger concept for the neighborhood can shift things.

Baerkahn also explains how the City can play a role in helping tenants, landlords, and others understand what the public wants to see. This is where a planning process like the Downtown Master Plan can contribute.

Please take a few minutes to read the interview and share your thoughts with us in the comments below. Would a model like the one described work in Downtown Salt Lake? Are there real estate professionals and others already doing this? What should the City’s role be in helping curate the kind of Downtown that people want to see?

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