Downtowns Coming Back with Urban Entertainment Boom

Article excerpt

The New York Times reported in a feature article on Tuesday, October 15, 1996, that the spectacular urban entertainment developments emerging in Times Square reflect not just a local event but the leading edge of a fundamental shift in the function of downtowns across America from one based on commerce to one based on entertainment, tourism, and consumption.

To date the positive impact of urban entertainment has been felt in a limited number of cities, but the rate of growth is about to explode with dozens of large scale projects under construction or on the drawing boards in cities, big and small, around the country. Almost all involve partnerships among developers, entertainment companies, and cities because without government participation, these projects win simply not be built.

Entertainment features are being linked to convention centers, stadiums and arenas, shopping centers, cultural attractions, and historic districts to form new anchors for downtowns that draw tourists, business travelers, suburban revelers, and even hard-core urbanites. These developments support important public goals since the spinoff potential is tremendous in terms of increased taxes, jobs, supporting activities, and pedestrian traffic that makes downtowns safer, more appealing, and most importantly, more fun.

In an era when almost every other form of development is overbuilt, this new opportunity for cities should not be missed, and our members include the players who are making it happen around the world. …