Ever wonder why the spaces at the ‘Legacy at Pratt Park’ building on Jackson and 18th have been empty since it was built? I did too, and it seemed like the perfect location to move my small business which serves a diverse population of youth from the central district and surrounding areas. Near washington middle school and Gatzert Elementary, the Green materials building presents itself as a friendly neighborhood arts center, seemed perfect to me. The friendly agents told me the owners were motivated to lease it, and that they loved my proposal, ‘a great fit’. However, to open a business in this building you need to have $200,000.00, and that’s $200,000.00 with nothing against you. Meaning if you have $200,000.00 sitting in the bank, but you owe $30,000 on your morgage, you don’t qualifty. And apparently that is the bare minimum norm for commercial spaces in the central district. While I was disappointed about not having access to this space, and frustrated about being lead on for a month after giving my financial statement before the agents told me there was a problem, I am much more disturb by the bigger implication of the infiltration of these commercial spaces that are inaccessible to neighborhood businesses. The realization of the true depth of barriers that gentrification creates, suddenly was clear to me as they suggested I could get someone else to sign the lease for me, and I saw they stood in one world where everyone they know has $200,000 sitting around, and I stood in another where we laugh at that possibility. “Anyone can make it if they want it bad enough, they just have to pull themselves up by the bootstraps…” And have $200,000 to start with. In the central district, really?