Friday, April 23, 2010

Downtown Evansville Needs A Times Square Entertainment Complex

It seems quite obvious that one of the main reasons for Evansville's "brain drain" is because it has a terrible after hours selection. It has gotten so bad downtown that most businesses close very early on weekdays and don't even bother opening up on Sunday. Evansville had a great opportunity to build an entertainment complex with the new arena if it would have built the arena perpendicular from where it's at now and placed the entertainment venue in front of the Executive Inn which would also hold condo's and lofts. All that is out the window now so Evansville must think creatively.

As I contemplated how to design an entertainment center, I looked at two areas: Times Square in New York City and the entertainment complex outside the American Airlines Center known as AT&T Plaza.

In regards to Times Square, a few things stood out to me that Evansville must replicate. First, Evansville needs to select an area where two roads meet in a "V" formation. This will attract tourists and allow for maximum amount of space. Three areas stick out to me: The V at 2nd street and Carpenter Street, the V at 4th Street and 5th Street, and the V at Main Street and Sycamore Street. Anyone of these streets would a great place to build a midwestern Times Square. However, using the ideas that I have talked about on this blog ( high speed rail terminal, ballpark, canal, riverwalk, etc), I firmly believe that the V on 2nd Street and Carpenter Street would make for the best location. Of the three, it would probably draw the most street traffic, attract the most foot traffic, and it already has nice facades down Carpenter Street.

In regards to the AT&T Plaza, I noticed one important thing Evansville must replicate. A newstation, ideally Fox 7, needs to move their headquarters into the building and broadcast from the location through clear windows each day. This will draw people down into the plaza which in turn will draw retail stores to the plaza. This has worked great in Dallas and I think it can work here.

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