Wake Forest Renaissance Plan - September 2017


2017 R ena i s s anc e P l an U pdat e | T own of W ak e F or e s t

5.4 Retail Implementation Strategy

Many of the retail-related recommendations for physical and design improvements reiterate those proposed elsewhere in this Plan, particularly with regard to wayfinding (both along high-volume regional roads and in downtown Wake Forest’s immediate vicinity), pedestrian linkages (through placemaking and new development), activation of retail frontages (through creative signage/façade enhancements as well as outdoor seating and “parklets”), and non- retail drivers of foot traffic (e.g. playgrounds and spraygrounds).

an important role for what might be called “non-permanent” retailing, which are mobile formats such as carts, kiosks, trucks and shipping containers. Also known as “Retail Merchandising Units” (or RMUs), these formats serve as an ideal flexible and short-term use for such sites until they can be feasibly redeveloped. In the interim, while available ground- floor space remains scarce, they provide additional inventory as well as opportunities to demonstrate the viability of downtown Wake Forest as a retail location. Compared to permanent storefronts, RMUs also offer a lower-risk approach to testing new concepts, operators and locations, as they can be customized to (and only incur costs for) periods of peak demand, and are easily moved elsewhere if necessary. By reducing barriers-to-entry, they become incubators for early-stage entrepreneurs, facilitating greater variety in the retail mix. Finally, their presence adds a touch of novelty and thereby helps to enliven the street scene.

The following recommendations, however, warrant special attention here:

5.4.1 Retail Merchandising Units

The previous section discussed how many of the sites earmarked for mixed- use projects in this Plan might not be “ready” for development, as the rents to be generated from retail and other uses do not yet justify the investment. This points to

S S Airstream Travel Trailer occupied by a retail use

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