‘Mini chamber of commerce’ coming to 23rd and Union

Work is under way at the Midtown Center at 23rd and Union to move things around and create a new neighborhood drop-in center. Quality Tax, which is currently located south of Earl’s Barber Shop, is moving to the corner space that until recently housed the Seattle Police Drop-In Center. A new space, operated by the Union Street Business Group, will be created between Earl’s and the new Quality Tax location.

“It will be like a mini chamber of commerce,” said Tom Bangasser, owner of the Midtown building. The office, which has been in the works for a while, will be a space where people can stop by and see design drawings or plans for proposed projects, among other uses. SPD officers will also be able to use the space to make calls or complete paper work, as some officers had been doing at the previous drop-in center.

“We very much appreciate the property owner’s accommodations for us to be in that space,” said Seattle Police East Precinct Lieutenant Joel Guay. “When it’s done, the police presence will be appropriately a lot less in-your-face.”

The building is also getting something of a makeover. The big SPD shield on the drop-in center sign, which was intended to send a message to people engaging in criminal activity at the corner, will be coming down.

“That’s not as needed now as it was,” said Bangasser. The building will also get new awnings to replace the current ones, which Bangasser called “tired.” A designer is currently working on new awnings, and Bangasser hopes to have most of the project completed by the June 4 Central District Garden Tour.

The SPD Drop-In Center has been the target of vandalism in the past year. Two people were sentenced to community service after smashing the center’s windows last July. Arsonists also targeted the center in February during weeks of heavy protests against police brutality. However, Bangasser said the vandalism to the property, which he allows SPD to use for free in exchange for their increased presence, was not a factor in making the changes.

0 thoughts on “‘Mini chamber of commerce’ coming to 23rd and Union

  1. would be great if the building owner could figure out a way to make the exterior more engaging. Perhaps the ‘plaza’ on the west side facing 23rd could be put to use? Between the parking lots around the building and at the post office, it’s a sea of asphalt and concrete and is not very appealing

  2. First, thanks to the landlord for being willing to make changes like this. and, going further, I agree with olive oyl. That outdoor space is a great opportunity to make something happen for the better and without having to build a structure or daft a community plan. Some large trees in pots, maybe a food cart during the day? Or a series of food vendors on Saturdays? How about it Mr. Bangasser? Even if it is a seasonal arrangement, that would be good.

  3. In your face police presence is exactly what that corner needs. Making it look pretty will not deter the drug dealers, gang bangers , and prostitutes from going about their business as usual.

  4. Are you kiddingggggggg….just go to safeway @ rainier beach..
    if you wanna get followed & by the spd, when you go in…and covered by 2 at times when you go out…& also when you pay for grocery

    This is Sickkkkkkkkkk

    God wont have his people treated this way ya hea meeeee

  5. How about some hanging plants along the covered sidewalk. I suppose they would be stolen but there must be a way to attach the “baskets” using screws so they can’t be easily taken. Savior was adding mulch last week in front of the booze shop, so I think it looks better. Frankly anything helps, right? thanks Mr. B. I appreciate anything you can do to make the space more inviting. Maybe some work on the 24th ave side of the PO? Let me know if I can help.

  6. Since the Chamber of Commerce is a real brand name with a national reputation, a different basic description might be more appealing for many and more accurate; a neighborhood information center seems like an excellent idea.

  7. These sound like some good improvements. I noticed some beauty bark went in on the north side of the property. Thanks Mr. Bangasser.
    I like the idea of the food carts. Pehaps planting the planters on 23rd and Union would help as well. Other ideas to improve the space would be to remove the ciggarette signs from the fence on 23rd, cover up the graffiti painted on the asphalt by the south entrance and pull the weeds surrounding the property.

  8. bb,

    Having this space used by our entire neighborhood is what will make it safer, leaving it a desolate cement pad will not, nor will in your face police presence be sustainable or positive. Food carts would be great, a weekend flea market could help too, anything that keeps it active and populated. I think that the owner of this building could use a bit of consulting help to get things moving in a positive direction.

  9. There is an ongoing effort to get James Washington, Jr.’s Fountain of Triumph restored and active again. The artist was a well-known sculptor who lived in our neighborhood and was present for the dedication of the fountain about 15 years ago, a short time before his death. His home and studio on 26th Avenue are now occupied by the James W. Washington, Jr., and Janie Rogella Washington Foundation.