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Re: SG-W:/ Meeting at Leopold's

I don't know about the rest of you, but I find this location comparison,
Leopold's on South Main near Madison vs. Conor O'Neill's on South Main
between William and Liberty, really fascinating.  If we accept that these
are equivalent businesses, then it seems the question boils down to the
difference in rents vs. transportation/land-use differences.

The rents in these two locations *should* be radically different.  I have no
idea whether they are or not.  O'Neill's is in probably one of the highest
rent locations in Washtenaw County.  Main Street downtown is more or less
the dining center of the County, with both many establishments and good
atmosphere as a district.  Leopold's, while also on Main Street, is off the
beaten path about a 6th of a mile south of William.  It's probably just
within a five minute walk from the Fourth and William parking structure.

The really interesting part is the transportation question.  First, the
parking/auto differences are a good comparison.  While Leopold's has a small
car parking lot, O'Neill's has *no* immediate car parking.  O'Neill's has a
large amount of "convenient" car parking, as Rober98 put it, but Leopold's
has comparatively little.  The auto parking that is nearby to O'Neill's is
all shared with the rest of the South half of downtown, so there is some
competition for available car parking.

Even more interesting, though, is the amount of housing within 5 minutes
walk or bike of these two.  Since we've forced people out of living downtown
over the years, very few people are within walking distance from their homes
to O'Neill's.  Leopold's is actually within walking distance of a good
amount of fairly dense housing, and biking distance to a very large amount
of housing.  Unfortunately for them, the City has separated them from the
Southern West-side with four-lanes of traffic, and our property and land-use
decisions have probably directly separated them from the housing to the East
as well.  Since they are about mid-way from Packard and Madison, the
distances people from that neighborhood would have to walk out of their way
probably isn't a big problem, however.

>From a suburban viewpoint, the amount of housing close by doesn't mean much,
since suburbanites all drive.  Ann Arborites walk and bike much more than
average for the County, however.  Though it's hard to convince some business
owners of this, businesses can easily survive without any car parking at all
if they can get enough pedestrian or bicyclist customers.  That may be easy
enough to do at Leopold's.

Ken Clark

----- Original Message -----
From: <Rober98@aol.com>
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2001 11:30 AM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Meeting at Leopold's

> Leopold's is a pleasant place and apparently an environmentally sound
> enterprise, but I worry about their ability to make an ongoing business of
> it.  They have only the small parking lot to the south of the building,
> are away from any other convenient parking and also away from almost
> else people might be visiting during Leopold's evening hours --  a much
> favorable location than, say, Conor O'Neill's a couple of blocks to the
> North. Do you have the sense they can make a go of it and stay in business
> for a while?

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