Group forms to reimagine Jackson Street, meeting Wednesday

In recent weeks, I have started hearing tips and rumors from worried readers like this:

One of the wonderful checkers at the Jackson Red Apple just informed me that her union rep called to let her know that the recent buyer of the store and lot is planning on firing all employees, closing the store, and moving in a WalMart. She mentioned that several individuals have visited the store over the past two days to take photos and collect comments. I haven’t seen this story on Central District News, but I am sure your readership would be very interested to hear of the plans to move a WalMart into this community.

So I got in touch with new Promenade 23 owners Weingarten Real Estate, based in Houston. They declined to discuss the status of the Red Apple lease, but said they are “looking at different types of options” for the property.

“We may either redevelop the property into something bigger and better or keep it the same,” said Lance Sherwood, Weingarten’s Senior Development Manager for the Western Region. “We don’t have any plans at this point in time … When we have something in mind for the property, we will absolutely talk with the different associations in a proactive sense.”

But Jackson Commons, led by Colman neighborhood resident Knox Gardner (you might know him by “Knox” on CDNews) does not want to wait that long to start reimagining what could be possible.

“The development will happen, so when it does, how do we make sure it’s coherent?” said Gardner. “How do we preserve some of its character and make it vibrant?”

The Colman Neighborhood Association and Jackson Commons are holding a meeting tonight (Wednesday) starting at 6 p.m. at Douglass-Truth Library to discuss Promenade 23 and “how to leverage this redevelopment to encourage more businesses and city investment in the Jackson Street Corridor.”

The Pop-up Cafe. Photo from Jackson Commons

You may have seen the work of Jackson Commons already. Saturday, they set up some tables, chairs and patio umbrellas outside Ocean Tea, Coffee House & Deli at 25th and Jackson. The so-called “pop-up cafe” drew a small crowd, trying to demonstrate the potential for more people-activated space on Jackson. And, Gardner said, he thinks more people should be going to Ocean, an independent coffee shop connected with the Indian Ocean Restaurant two doors down.

The Jackson Commons website has also been producing some concept drawings showing what could be possible at 23rd and Jackson. One shows a multi-story building with housing, retail and a farmer’s market. It also pictures a Jackson spur of the city’s Streetcar network. Another shows a Met Market.

Gardner said he is not against redevelopment. In fact, he is excited about it. But he is afraid of the kinds of big box projects that fill much of Weingarten’s online portfolio, and he wants Jackson Commons to be “a way to be positive about the redevelopment around Promenade 23.” Instead of fighting something bad in the future, he wants to get ahead of it and get people thinking about what neighbors want to see happen on Jackson.

Sherwood said Weingarten is excited about being involved at Promenade 23, and they have expressed interest in infill development and being involved with community organizations as the process moves forward. So Jackson Commons wants to start generating ideas and dreams for Weingarten, and other Jackson neighbors, to see.

Could 23rd and Jackson be the home of a farmer’s market? Drawing by Ben Kim for Jackson Commons


10 thoughts on “Group forms to reimagine Jackson Street, meeting Wednesday

  1. There goes the neighborhood…

    Ok, trying to stay positive, can any Jackson Commons people comment on what kind of support they could use?

  2. It’s possible the restriction that made Walmarts unbuildable were removed recently, for unrelated reasons. I don’t know the details, but it’s worth worrying about.

  3. Never mind. That was fixed. Walmarts are still possible, but would have to go through a SEPA review which is apparently what keeps them from happening.

  4. Knox and I talked at length about this project (and possibilities) I have to say, I am hopeful. (and before one goes off on a “gentrification” tangent, that is not what I am talking about – I am talking about the CD coming to life with vibrancy again). I am anti any “big box” wal-martish type place. That just doesn’t fit around here. I am hoping that the developers will listen to input on the matter…

    but…(and and…)

    For a revitalization of our neighborhood and beyond, we need a neighborhood that residents want to stay and shop in, as well a neighborhood that can draw people from other neighborhoods in. I would LOVE to see a trader joes or something smaller like that along with smaller retail spaces that mimic that of Columbia City etc. A good b’fast joint, maybe a bar, maybe a fancy pasta place that some celeb chef opens…who knows…but this could be a boon for our area.

    The employees of the red apple are awesome and I am hopeful that any redevelopment will consider their relationships with our community when seeking employees..

  5. Jackson Commons and CNA did a good job on their agenda and turnout last night. The CD was well represented, and I think the meeting has kicked a number of conversations into gear. I think Knox and company are smart in getting ahead of the developers, and I’m looking forward to helping envision what could be a “people’s development.” It will be good for Weingarten to have to react to what we want, instead of us reacting to what they intend. It’s not going to be easy, developers are focused on profit to the exclusion of all but a few cosmetic adjustments to mollify n’hood groups, and I don’t expect the absentee Weingartens of Texas to be any different.

  6. Yes, no WalMarts, PLEASE, but we need an anchor store there that more people shop at. And honestly, we need more good restaurants. (Kedra, yours is one of our favorites but it’s a long walk for us during the rainy season!) I for one was disappointed that the Neighbor Lady opened as a 21+ bar/restaurant at 21st & Union instead of one we could bring the whole family to. We’re tired of walking west when we want a good variety of choices for dining out. Good restaurants aren’t only about good food – they’re about a nice environment, aesthetics, a place you WANT to go and sit and enjoy yourself. That’s a huge part of why Capitol Hill’s restaurant scene is booming – environments, design being a very close second to the food (admittedly, maybe sometimes first). Oh, and I work at a firm that designs restaurant remodels (among other things!) so let me know if you’re a future restaurateur in the CD!

  7. Schtum,

    Saw this yesterday, but cramming to get ready for that meeting last night. THANKS TO ALL that were able to make it. I left feeling totally pumped up and excited, and I hope you did to. Thanks to Colman Neighborhood for hosting it.

    HELP? YES!

    1. First and foremost, help us spread the word that Jackson is going to be more awesome. Follow along and send us ideas to implement. Tell us what you’re doing so we can spread the word and help you implement your ideas. You can do that by mailing me at [email protected].

    2. We are trying to get a room booked to form some working groups so folks can plug into what they like to do or want to learn. What are those groups? We don’t know. Help us figure that out. Small biz development, working with DPD, figuring out how to get new local stuff to take a risk on Jackson, how to get new buildings actually built so we have the right spaces for new business and to fill in the gaps, figuring out how to build a public market, getting that street car up here, Street theater and tactical urbanism, etc. That list could go on and on. We have ideas on our website, but those are just SOME ideas. ;-)

    3. We want to do more engagement with folks and stuff that IS ON JACKSON: food surveys, booth a UMOJAFEST (thanks to lady last night who suggested this, I would have not thought of it), more pop-up cafes, more crazy unexpected dinners, etc, but to do this we need more people with time. If you have time: we have stuff to do.

    4. Help us cross communities: I am a guy who is most comfortable behind a computer and truly have a hard time picking up…
    read more
    e phone and calling people. So how on earth can I implement the idea of a Jackson Street Rummage sale and flea market involving all the churches up and down Jackson Street before the rains start in September? See, I need some help because I don’t know those folks and feel shy about picking up the phone.

    5. It sounds crazy maybe, but I think for those Internet types that Pinterest might be a really useful tool for folks to post pictures of things they like. You can see the one we have started at For folks who do this, please add! I am still trying to figure out how it really works. ;-)

    6. Scene design and Artists: No seriously we need more folks with drawing skills to help us draw ideas. We need folks who know how to make up big fake store fronts to help us make big fake store fronts.

    7. Yes, we are going to need money. Right now, whatever you see if coming out of my pockets. We’ve got something planned that might get us $100 bucks if we have a GREAT turn out, but if we’re going to do more, we’re going to need some flow. That’s something to figure out. Of course, I am also intrigued to see how much we can accomplish with passion and goodwill: so we’re not letting not having money stop us. We just need to be more creative. ;-)

    How is that schtum? We’re ready to make something cool happen and looking for any help we can get.

    Our updates will be on our Facebook @JacksoncommonsSeattle on Twitter @JacksonCommons and finally on our site, where we also have a link to G+.

    You can get updates from our blog sent directly to your email by using this Feedburner:

    Again, I want to THANK EVERYONE who was able to make that meeting! We will post a review of it as soon as I can get it written up.

  8. Can you imagine a town Center bridging Jackson Place, Judkins, Pratt area, Leschi, and Mandison?

    Red Apple is a fine entity, but the property is so ugly it turns me away. I hope the buldoze the whole thing and regrade the front corner.

    This is a great chance for urban renewal.

  9. Just wanted to add my ugh-gross-no-way! vote for Walmart in this space. Talk about antithetical to the needs of the neighborhood.