Demand is growing for retail space in Downtown Montgomery - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Demand is growing for retail space in Downtown Montgomery

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

Demand for retail space in Downtown Montgomery is growing. Development leaders say they are working on several projects to meet those demands and bring new storefronts to downtown.

It's been six months since Ciao Bella Boutique opened its downtown location, and owner Cassandra Crosby-McCullough says she is pleased with the traffic and business she's getting.

"People who've gone away from Montgomery come back here, and they are totally, happily surprised to see us here.  People who travel here are just delighted to see there's shopping downtown," said McCullough.

Her business is in the city's incubator space, a temporary and movable building that gives shop owners a taste of what doing business in downtown Montgomery is like. 

"We love being downtown.  It's very exciting to see it come alive like this," McCullough added.

"Our goal here is to get more of the high visibility locations that are permanent," Chad Emerson said.

Emerson, the City of Montgomery's Director of Development, says the incubators have done their job of generating interest and traffic downtown.  Now, he says, they're working with developers to create more of these opportunities.  But not just retail space, more residential spaces as well.

Emerson said,"Frankly, we have more people interested in operating a business downtown than we have available storefronts in the key areas."

One of the biggest projects is the downtown skate park. 

"That's going to be a real game-changer, because it's going to present both residential opportunities downtown, which is in high demand as well as some high visibility retail space right outside the front door of the convention center."

Emerson says there are more projects in the works.

He said, "We are in the negotiation phase with five or six other real exciting opportunities.  So as those come to pass and reach agreements, we think we'll see a lot of announcements over the next year or so in downtown Montgomery.

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