Saturday, January 17, 2009

Right-Size Shops

Yesterday we went in search of shops that might fit the neighborhood's needs. And remain solvent. So far we came up with these:

What I really like about the coffee and cupcakes cafe is that it provides a place to sit outside in the nice weather (on the sunny south side) but when it rains you can sit inside and watch the world go by from your perch at the coffee bar. There is also a place to lounge and check your email and read the newspapers.

There's also a second storey for offices or flats.

Here's an espresso stand with an annex for socializing in bad weather.

I should probably mention that the day was quite cold so there weren't many people on the street, but lots of people in cafes and the bookstore.

Mom and Pop grocery at a neighborhood scale

Lesson 3: Take shelter from the wind and rain


Premium T. said...

Well, I think you know someone who could provide the coffee/cupcakes, but in this economy, who wants to stick his/her neck out there?

RobinB said...

Well, missy, don't you know people NEED cupcakes to fortify themselves for the hard times ahead?

K. said...

Well, I stick my neck out for nobody.

RobinB said...

Well, you would for T's tartes, I dare say!

Blogalot said...

The whole time I've lived in NH I have wanted a casual (not to say tacky) place to simply sit back with a nice soup, bagel and latte and a good book. Hell, I don't even need wifi. There's a place like that on practically every commercial block in Seattle. What's wrong with Bellevue? (I don't mean a Starbucks either.)

James said...

It's really too bad you have to treck across the parking lot to all the shops. It's so depressing.

Imagine how vibrant 119th would be with storefronts on the sidewalk and parking around back. Perhaps the road could be widened and include some short term street parking in front of these hypothetical shops. All the older local retail areas in Seattle are like this.

I suppose it's unlikely to tear it down and start over, but it would look great.

It would be even better with 1-2 stories of housing above the shops. Wallingford, Beacon Hill, University Way, Ballard, Alki, and West Seattle on California are all great examples of this type of street retail. One advantage they have is dense neighborhoods with tiny lots and narrow streets so there are more people to support the shops.

In the long run the best thing for those shops would be redevelopment of the commercial area with mixed use residential and commercial to boost the density.