Last December we did a feature on the Top 3 business opportunities in the CD – vacant commercial spaces in prime locations with a lot of potential. We decided to follow up and check on whether or not our community dreams had been realized.
This former burger stand has been sitting vacant for several years, and though we had hopes it would be transformed into a taco shop or a breakfast diner, nothing came to fruition in 2010. Unfortunately, this new photo doesn’t look too different from the photo a year ago – just slightly different graffiti. We’re hoping 2011 offers another chance for this little storefront to become another vibrant thread in the fabric of the Central District.
Last year we hoped that the newly completed Legacy at Pratt Park building and the storefront space along Jackson would attract businesses along this major arterial in the heart of the Central District. Today Corner Store & Deli at 1720 S Jackson Street is thriving. Owner Negash Yassin opened the bright little store in August 2010 and stays busy with local foot traffic and neighbors stopping in for snacks and freshly made deli sandwiches, with meat and cheeses in a case at the front. They also have a pretty impressive wine selection, so the next time you’re nearby and need a bottle of vino, stop in and give them some business.
Across the street, Dustin Daigle, Leasing Manager for the Legacy at Pratt Park complex, said that the building is at 93% residential occupancy and leased in record time. In September 2010 the development celebrated its one year anniversary, and though the retail spaces are still mostly vacant, there are exciting things on the horizon. Legacy has donated space in one of the empty suites to Pratt Fine Arts, which uses it as a gallery. As Daigle put it, “We wanted to work with the community. No one wants to look at empty space, so let’s fill it with art.” By appointment the director takes interested parties through the space, which Daigle says has resulted in the sale of some original art.
Additionally, Daigle said there has been some interest in the other retail spaces, but not from the sort of anchoring tenants that Legacy would like to see in the building. “We don’t want someone who will move in here and then three months later be out of business,” he said. “We want long term tenants,” who are going to strengthen the community. One such tenant may be a neighboring business owner who is in talks with Legacy to open a second business, a coffee bar in the southeast corner of the Legacy at Pratt Park development. The business would be an internet coffee house by day, and at night would transition into more of a sports bar. The intention would be to supply the residential neighbors with a place to grab a bite to eat or enjoy a drink with friends, and likely tenants at the Legacy building would be frequent patrons.
Still, even with the new cafe hopefully opening up in Summer 2011, there are several thousand square feet of retail space for lease along Jackson, and that means there is still a lot of opportunity at Pratt Park.
One of the gems of the Central District revival right now is this building, the future home of Seattle’s youth arts programming organization Coyote Central. Once the home of Dilletante Chocolates, this building is undergoing extensive renovations, including seismic upgrades and a new roof. No easy task, Coyote Central is scheduled to open its new doors in April 2011. Considering the tile art on the historic brick building, metal tree sculpture across the street at Garfield Community Center, and the ceramic mosaics lining the exterior of Medgar Evers Pool down the block are all Coyote Central projects, it seems more than fitting that the organization’s first permanent home will be at 23rd & Cherry.
So where are the Central District’s biggest opportunities of 2011? As for 2010, two out of three ain’t bad.