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UW-Milwaukee - Center for Economic Development

Policy Research Report Abstract

Inner-City Retail Redevelopment Projects: Best Practices Summary, July 1996, by Sandra J. Callahan


People living in distressed urban neighborhoods often not only have fewer food and other retail store sin their local areas than do people living in suburban areas, but even when such establishments are in the neighborhood, they generally have less shopping space than do suburban stores. Because there are fewer and generally smaller retail establishments in distressed urban neighborhoods, residents of these areas usually pay higher prices and have fewer products from which to choose. Further, inner-city residents, in order to pay lower prices for retail goods, travel further to stores and, because fewer of them own their own vehicles than do suburban residents, generally use public transportation to get to stores, which means more frequent trips since they cannot transport as many goods as people who own vehicles.

In the last decade the Urban Land Institute has noted an increasing trend toward commercial and/or retail redevelopment projects in inner-city neighborhoods (generally led by large grocery store and/or restaurant chains). This trend in inner-city retail development is due to both a perceived saturation of suburban retail markets and a potentially untapped inner-city retail market.

Retailers who have gone into inner-city neighborhoods have generally found these stores, even with the increased costs of additional security measures, to be more profitable than their suburban stores due to higher population densities and lower market competition in such neighborhoods.

This paper will provide a brief summary of five successful inner-city retail redevelopment projects, an analysis of the strategies for successful redevelopment projects and recommendations for implementing such a project in inner city neighborhoods.

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