Chester’s downtown business district will never become a bustling shopping area like it once was.
- The buildings are too old.
- The streets are too small.
- No parking.
- Little consumer attraction to the area.
There is no way a national chain or franchise operation is going to open a business in any of those old, abandoned, neglected buildings. In order to have a thriving business district, we’ll need more than a few businesses willing to come to the Avenue of the States in a group and that is not likely to happen due to the poor conditions of the remaining buildings, most of which can’t even be renovated to meet today’s standards.
Businesses locate where people are likely to assemble to shop. Until Chester gets more residents and people from outside Chester who prefer to shop in Chester over Brookhaven, Media, Darby, and Delaware for the same stores, chances are major companies will not be bringing their retail business to Chester anytime soon.
No group of businesses will assemble on a one lane street that dead ends at City Hall with no parking nearby.
But this doesn’t mean the downtown area cannot become a thriving district again. Here’s what I think will have to happen.
- Get rid of all the existing buildings.
- Build an upscale townhouse community.
- Create a community of professional offices (doctor, lawyer, accountants, etc)
- Create a cluster of retail stores that cater to the townhouse community.
Anything short of starting over to attract a higher income resident in a safe and upscale neighborhood within walking distance to the train station, and moments from the riverfront attractions to come, with immediate access to Rt 291 and its fingers to I-95, the airport, and New Jersey, is worthless.