I agree—-I think that a lot of downtown land sits idle for decades because it is zoned and priced for 50 story office towers that the market will not support.
The low rise residential in the Farmers Market seems to be doing well. If developers don’t want to be that low, then some 10-12 story residential like City Lights would make for some nice projects that would do well downtown.
As far as retail, I think VP is setting a good example. They are bringing in a good mix of destination restaraunts plus franchises and service businesses that will serve the locals. That would work downtown too.