Downtown currently has some areas with noticeable vacancies. These generally are the larger spaces (Waldbaums, Woolworths, Kabachnicks and Sears), which housed department stores that have found it impossible to compete with regional malls. These are the vacancies of greatest concern.
Whether it is possible to attract large retailers to fill these spaces or to retro fit the building for multiple smaller end uses would be questions answered by a market analysis. As the economy improves and Downtown moves toward it’s critical mass, entrepreneurs will no doubt fill the smaller spaces, as has already occurred in the North End and is beginning to occur throughout downtown.
A market study will identify those businesses the Downtown should be targeting. Potential uses, which are successful in other downtowns, include:
Middletown can no longer passively wait for business to come to Downtown.
An aggressive and targeted recruitment program must be implemented. It is suggested that the Downtown Manager working with the Chamber and the Municipal Development Office develop a computerized database of available sites, formulate a marketing brochure and identify several potential retailers within the region. They would then contact the retailer to introduce them to Downtown Middletown.