Thursday, July 1, 2010

Strip-mall in the city

Well, you can't win 'em all. On the heels of the great restaurant news in my last post, crappy, generic construction has started on a strip-mall on 23rd and Washington Avenue. Great news, if you are a fan of the traffic jams, yellow stucco and fulminant trash bins on 6th and 11th streets (all the same developer).

This project was opposed from the start by the neighborhood association, actual neighbors, and even the local city councilwoman. Undeterred, and convinced of eventual success, the developers quietly (and illegally) built the majority of the mall behind the existing factory walls. For 9 years the proposal was continually rejected by the ZBA, until last year. Then, suddenly, the project was granted approval, as is. As the pictures show, the construction looks even worse when compared to its neighbors- in this case, a beautiful all-brick 19th century schoolhouse.

No one is really sure why (stop by Sidecar after a SOSNA meeting and you may hear some good conspiracy theories), but it was probably just a case of not wanted to look "anti-business" when unemployment is in the double digits. Now, any project is a good project, apparently. The ruling has been appealed, but construction has already resumed in the meantime.
I'm glad for the appeal, but I'm not particularly hopeful. I think the city sees $$ from this project, and doesn't particularly care where money comes from right now. How much are you willing to put up with for good Pho?

Comically, this door is still locked.

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