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Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Ideas Map: One Year Later

Today (1/19/2012) marks one year since the kickoff of the original Ideas Map, an online crowdsourcing tool used by the City of Huntsville to see what kinds of retail and restaurants citizens want, along with other ideas to improve the city. It turned out to be a wild success; a second Ideas Map was created for downtown last summer, and more crowdsourcing events are planned in the future. But have we been equally successful in getting the most in-demand retail and restaurants? Check out the progress report below. The results have been updated as well as their status with Huntsville-- just so no one misinterprets me, Check means "they're coming," Unknown means "possible, but not sure," and No means "not a chance":

Top Restaurants:
1. Cheesecake Factory- Unknown. (They wouldn't put a full-size restaurant here, but the company is working on a smaller restaurant prototype for smaller cities.)
2. Chipotle- Check.
3. Joe's Crab Shack- No. (Supposedly they take issue with our lack of a waterfront... I guess Ditto Landing doesn't count.)
3. Dunkin' Donuts- Check.
4. Dave and Buster's- No. (Huntsville needs about a million more people to get one.)

Top Retail:
1. Trader Joe's- Unknown. (The company is fairly secretive on their site selection, but I wouldn't be surprised to hear about them in the next year.)
2. Macy's- Unknown. (Population is not an issue by itself, but I think the concern is whether or not the Huntsville market can sustain another mid-market department store.)
3. Ikea- Hell no. (Nashville may have enough people to warrant one in a few years.)
4. Container Store- No. (Once again, not enough people.)
5. Whole Foods Market- Check. (Rumor has it they've found a site on the Parkway, but nothing is official.)

Note that most of the restaurants/retail that have outright rejected Huntsville have done so for reasons beyond anyone's control, like population and geography. So, with that in mind and a year wiser, are there any retail and/or restaurants that you would like to see here, but didn't make the list?