There is a feeling of excitement among Englewood businesses, city leaders and residents as the city is starting to piece together its downtown action plan — and Brad Segal, president of the …
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There is a feeling of excitement among Englewood businesses, city leaders and residents as the city is starting to piece together its downtown action plan — and Brad Segal, president of the Progressive Urban Management Associates (P.U.M.A.), wants the plan to feed off trends affecting communities.
Known as the Downtown Matters initiative, the plan will cover downtown Englewood, including areas of South Broadway, the Englewood City Center and areas around Craig Hospital and Swedish Medical Center. The goal of it is to create an economic tool to rebuild and reposition downtown Englewood, as well to encourage private investment in the city.
Segal presented a 2020 global trends report from P.U.M.A., an economic development and planning firm that assists downtowns, neighborhoods and communities plan for the future, at an event hosted by the Greater Englewood Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 27.
His presentation correlated with the Downtown Matters initiative, which is expected to be an 11-month planning process. Here are four takeaways from Segal's presentation.
• Englewood needs to appeal to millennials, Segal said.
According to Forbes, roughly 75% of the global workforce in 2025 will be millennials — people who were born between the years of 1981 to 1996.
“Every city across the country has been competing for millennials. It is really the largest, most educated generation in the workforce,” said Segal.
Most of the skilled jobs are going to millennials, Segal said. He added that Englewood will have to be a place where millennials want to work, live and play.
“If we want to create jobs in downtown Englewood, we're going to have to appeal to millennials,” he said.
• Brick-and-mortar stores aren't dead — but they must adapt.
Much of downtown Englewood is oriented to retail, Segal said. A lot of residents may think retail is dead, and the internet is taking over, but Segal said that is not true.
P.U.M.A. found that less than 10% of sales today take place online. Segal said half of those sales are from brick-and-mortar stores.
“People shop online, but they don't necessarily push the button and buy online. Retail needs to have a presence there,” said Segal. “But there is still a really strong market justification for brick-and-mortar stores.”
Segal said it is important for brick-and-mortar stores to offer an integrated experience to shoppers — meaning the stores must offer customers a variety of ways to shop, including by desktop, mobile device, telephone and in person.
• Englewood shouldn't be so car-centric, according to Segal.
P.U.M.A. says only 26% of 16-year-olds in the country have a driver's license, compared to 50% of 16-year-olds who had a license in the 1980s.
“Millennials and Generation Z (residents born after 1996) don't drive the way older generations drive. They're just disinterested in it,” said Segal. “Mobility is a service with the younger generation.”
Mobility as a service entails pairing technology and transit, leading to technology platforms that allow residents to plan, book and pay for transportation services, according to P.U.M.A. Those transportation services can include shared use vehicles like bikes, e-bikes and e-scooters.
“Englewood shouldn't be so car-centric. There has been a lot of talk about connectivity and more room for bikes,” said Segal. “That is credible moving forward if (downtown Englewood) is going to be vital for jobs and retail and also be relevant to younger populations.”
• There is an opportunity for Englewood to benefit from economic liabilities in Denver.
As a Denver native, Segal said he is less concerned about traffic in the city — but rather, he is more concerned about the shifts in Denver's neighborhoods.
“We've lost a lot of the context. A lot of the original neighborhoods have really changed, a lot of businesses have been displaced, and a lot of people have been displaced,” said Segal. “You don't want to be a one dimensional city, and you don't want to be a one-dimensional downtown.”
Segal says there is a migration of people moving out of cities like Denver and San Francisco to the suburbs. He stressed the importance of adding different forms of housing in downtown Englewood to accommodate a variety of lifestyles.
“As we go through this planning process, this thing called Downtown Matters in Englewood, all of these trends are converging to really benefit a place like Englewood,” said Segal.
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