Andrew Zalkin, owner of the Army Navy Store in the 1600 block, accuses the city and the City Center Partnership of turning its back on retail through the years in favor of office towers and residential development.
"There was a lack of promotion and publicity," he said. "And there was a lack of unity among merchants,"
Matt Kennell, president and chief executive of the City Center Partnership, agrees.
But "it was a deliberate strategy," he said. "You have to start somewhere. And until there was residential and office to support retail, it wasn't worth the time. But I understand the criticism, and it is warranted."
Kennell said that because of the success of residential and office, "we can now focus on retail."