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Columbus: Downtown: Gay Street Development

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Neighborhood Launch, the first large scale residential development taking up several surface lots, would not have gone forward without this. As for the businesses, there's a high concentration appearing here on the only traffic calmed street Downtown and not on any of the several high-speed one-ways. Gay St only really started to pick up once the city announced the street was going to be converted from a one-way. It also doesn't hurt that it has an entire block of retail without a parking lot on one side of the street, which is very rare.

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I don't think there should be any one-way streets over one lane in Downtown by this point. Columbus' streets have such wide lanes (and a lot of them) that one-ways aren't necessary.

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Rich St, especially. The city has said nothing about phasing out one-ways Downtown, however, so we're still waiting for that to happen some year.

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I don't know if they need to announce that they're phasing them all out. I imagine many alleys and alley-like streets will remain one way.

 

As long as they keep plugging along and converting them (like they are doing with part of Front & Civic Center right now) then we're making progress.

 

At the end of the day, the problem is money. When you add in all the beautification, these projects get expensive. The Gay Street project was $7.7 million dollars. And while it would be nice to see $100-200 million spent all at once to make all downtown streets two-way, there's no money right now to do that. Not to mention the fact that the city is bigger than just downtown. You've got to spend your capital dollars on improving the city EVERYWHERE. Not just Downtown.

 

So yeah... no problem with taking it one step at a time. Enjoy the progress, and look forward to more. ;)

 

 

 

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^ Right, I didn't mean alleys or other narrow streets. And engineering costs real money, even if it is just repainting lines and re-timing signals.

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But wait!  There is one more piece of urban development from Walker Evans at Columbus Underground...

 

Press Release:

ColumbusUnderground.com Relocating to New Office Space Downtown on Gay Street

 

To continue ColumbusUnderground.com’s commitment to the growing vibrancy of Downtown Columbus, Walker Evans is moving the company’s office to a space on one of the city’s most vibrant areas - Gay Street.  Since the recent completion of the two-way conversion and beautification projects, Gay Street has seen many new entrepreneurs opening their businesses.

 

“Gay Street is the perfect place for my business to grow and to make sure that my front door is literally opening to the most exciting area of Columbus,” says Evans.  “It is the perfect time for Columbus Underground to join the thriving businesses along the Gay Street corridor.”

 

“The arrival of Columbus Underground to our building solidifies the momentum and progress Gay Street has made over the last 5 years,” said Jeff Mathes, owner of Due Amici, the popular Italian restaurant located directly below the new Columbus Underground office space.  “Columbus Underground has become the go-to place to get information, especially for those interested in the urban core of our city.”

 

The move into the new office, located at 65 E. Gay Street Suite 230, will be completed on January 1, 2010.

 

Full story at http://www.columbusunderground.com/columbusundergroundcom-is-moving-to-gay-street

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The downside, of course, is that CU is more interested in revitalization than our city leaders. A good deal of people there make it a point to eat/drink/shop in urban areas and even get off the beaten path to spend money in neighborhoods that most would be too terrified to even drive through, let alone visit. This current step basically solidifies the put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is position that many have taken.

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But wait! There is one more piece of urban development from Walker Evans at Columbus Underground...

 

 

Ha! Thanks for posting it up here. :D I'm really excited about the move into the new office space, and proud to have what I consider the most desirable street address (and coolest neighbors) in the city!

 

Looking forward to a great 2010!

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From here: http://www.columbusunderground.com/new-apartment-building-coming-to-gay-street

 

<b>New Apartment Building Coming to Gay Street</b>

By Walker | February 3, 2010 2:50pm

 

Earlier today, Mayor Coleman and other city officials announced plans to update the 2002 Downtown Business Plan and to hold a series of public town hall meetings to help move forward with the next phase of urban development in Columbus. At that event it was also unveiled that a new apartment building will be coming soon to the southeast corner of Gay Street and Grant Avenue near CCAD. The building will be home to 68 apartment units housing 136 new Downtown residents.

 

Rents will range from $760/mo for single units, $1,250/mo for double units and $1,740/mo for triple units, and will be targeted as student housing for CCAD, CSCC, Franklin and Capital Law. The building is slated for completion August 1st, 2011.

 

Renderings are below:

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/archives/gaygrant2.jpg">

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/archives/gaygrant3.jpg">

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Yes!  More apartments!


"You don't just walk into a bar and mix it up by calling a girl fat" - buildingcincinnati speaking about new forumers

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Great news!  Thanks for posting this Walker. 

 

I love the design of this 7-story building.  The only nit I would pick is that it's being built at the southeast corner of Grant and Gay, which is currently occupied by a 3-story building.  It's still an improvement because it would be a taller building occupying a larger footprint than the existing building.  But it's still unfortunate that one of two parking lots at the other Grant & Gay corners couldn't have been the project site.  Heck, even the dumpy one-story building at the northwest corner would have been a better project site. 

 

That being said, I wouldn't turn this apartment building down. :wink:

 

GOOGLE MAP OF GRANT & GAY

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This is just more evidence of the perception that downtown living is always expensive. I paid $375 a month w/ utilities for a downtown efficiency when I lived there. Now that's cheap.

 

It is a shame they're tearing down vs. revitalizing. CCAD has other lots to choose from and I agree that the NW site, whose building has been sitting vacant, not occupied, is the one to build on.

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This is just more evidence of the perception that downtown living is always expensive. I paid $375 a month w/ utilities for a downtown efficiency when I lived there. Now that's cheap.

Columbusite, if I land a job in C-bus I want you to be my personal realtor!

 

Unfortunately, there's not an unlimited supply of $375 efficiencies Downtown. I'm glad that Columbusite found one, but my bro-in-law has been looking for a cheap apartment Downtown for a few months now and every building he's looked at has no open units. They seem to be fairly hard to come by, which is why this more expensive apartment will do quite well. Demand greatly outpaces supply when it comes to Downtown rentals, especially ones oriented to a transient student population of around 30,000. I have no doubt that this building will fill up quickly, no matter what the prices are.

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More about the seven-story Gay and Grant apartment building from Business First.

 

Daimler aiming downtown rentals at students

Business First of Columbus - by Matt Burns

Wednesday, February 3, 2010, 4:16pm

 

Columbus developer Daimler Group Inc. is joining the fray of downtown housing geared at the 31,000 students attending school in the center city.  Mayor Michael Coleman at a Wednesday panel discussion on downtown development unveiled details of a new 68-unit Daimler project at the southeast corner of Gay Street and Grant Avenue that is set for completion in August 2011.

 

Daimler Vice President Bob White Jr. told Columbus Business First Wednesday that the seven-story, 65,000-square-foot building will cost about $7.5 million.  The 68 units will have 136 beds, with monthly rent ranging from $760 for a single to $1,740 for a triple.

 

Full article at http://columbus.bizjournals.com/columbus/stories/2010/02/01/daily26.html

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Another Gay Street building to be put to use

Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 2:52 AM

By Marla Matzer Rose, THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

 

The revitalization of Gay Street continues with the renovation of a vacant building between High and 3rd streets Downtown.  Columbus developer Tom Fortin plans a street-level restaurant topped by two 1,800-square-foot residential lofts at 51-53 E. Gay Street.  Fortin is in the process of buying the building from DeMond Investments, he said.  The DeMonds operated Capital City Photo in the building until several years ago.

 

This is the second recent project for Fortin on Gay Street. He recently helped attract local luxury brownie-maker Sugardaddy's to the former Modern Finance building, now being called the Cube, at High and Gay streets.  Fortin plans to begin renovations on the 51-53 E. Gay Street building this summer, with completion expected by November.

 

Full article: http://www.dispatch.com/live/content/business/stories/2010/06/09/another-gay-street-building-to-be-put-to-use.html?sid=101

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<b>Tom Fortin Talks Shop on Real Estate Development</b>

By Walker | July 14, 2010 1:15pm

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/archives/fortin2.jpg">

 

Tom Fortin has over 20 years of experience in the field of Real Estate Development in Central Ohio, with involvement in several high-profile projects including The Battleship Building, Carlyles Watch, The Cube, and G Living. We recently caught up with Tom to discuss his passion for urban redevelopment, and find out more about what he’s currently working on along Gay Street.

 

READ MORE: http://www.columbusunderground.com/tom-fortin-talks-shop-on-real-estate-development

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It's...there, I'll give it that. This concentration of density, thanks in no small part to one mega project next door (Neighborhood Launch) and the new five story dorm building across he street, is what was lacking when all those new build condos were being built as isolated structures all around downtown. Gay St proves that the way to go is working with the best you've got and expanding from there one block at a time.

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Some photos from last month showing the construction progress of The Abigail (ugh, that name).  At the beginning of January 2011, the building was up to the 5th floor.  The first two photos are from Gay Street looking east toward the corner of Grant & Gay.  The third photo is looking west at the building from Gay Street. 

 

Photos courtesy of Chadoh21:

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5012/5403195370_e6242c0134_z_d.jpg

 

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5292/5402599073_5dca3f30ae_z_d.jpg

 

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5292/5403199180_90aac0bd3e_d.jpg

 

A more recent construction cam image from the project's website shows the project is up to the top floor (7th floor).  The view is from the south on a neighboring law firm roof.  Unfortunately, this construction cam installation only faces an alley side view of The Abigail.  Which means we can't see the progress of the main facades facing Grant Avenue or Gay Street.  But it is their cam and their website.  And better than nothing.  So here it is.

 

5403193554_26438a8b96_b_d.jpg

 

Most of the buildings to the right of the construction site are part of the CCAD campus.  The newly renovated Broad Street Design Center is closest to the camera.  The newly constructed Residence Hall is just to the right of the Abigail in the image.  The rest of the CCAD campus - including their iconic "ART" sign - is further to the right.  You can also see part of the Columbus State campus in the distance.

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I've been frustrated that they left the parking area at Cleveland & Gay (the easternmost portion of what I thought was the entire parcel) but then went all the way to the edge on the south, west, and north sides. My frustration was just nixed after looking at the auditors site, they only own the land that the building footprint is on so kudos to them for not adding a surface lot by reducing the footprint.

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Simmering tensions between downtown restauranteurs and the city's Department of Public Service erupted late last week.  The Department of Public Service (DPS) regulates most aspects of the public right-of-way (i.e. roads, on-street parking, sidewalks).  One aspect they regulate is sidewalk dining for downtown restaurants.  This includes the permitting and inspection of sidewalk dining.  The permitting part was apparently working well enough as the number of downtown sidewalk dining patios has exploded in recent years.  However, downtown restauranteurs have felt DPS inspection of approved dining patios in the right-of-way was not working well. 

 

The issue came to a head on Thursday, August 11, 2011 after a DPS inspector came into the J. Gumbo restaurant at the corner of Gay Street and Pearl Alley and threatened to remove their dining patio.  After learning of this Liz Lessner (owner of multiple restaurants in the Short North and Downtown) had enough.  She took to Twitter and posted these two tweets:

 

@MichaelBColeman Please ask Jerry Ryser to stop harassing J Gumbo's. Enough is enough. Small business has had it.

lizlessner - August 11, 2011 at 15:50

J. Gumbo's has to remove it's flower boxes, patio furniture & patio umbrellas. Thanks, City of Columbus!

lizlessner - August 11, 2011 at 15:51

Local Blog - The 270 - posted the full twitter exchange at Liz Lessner vs Columbus Department of Public Service

 

Someone saw Lessner's tweets and started a thread at Columbus Underground:  (Threatened) Removal of J Gumbo fence and flowers downtown

 

Which lead to an article from The Columbus Dispatch:  Young sellers fight city’s aging code

 

And a Dispatch LTTE from Liz Lessner:  City hassling businesses on Gay Street

 

All of which prompted a Monday morning between DPS and the newly formed Gay Street Collaborative to hash out the sidewalk dining issues.  Here are some of the reports from Monday's meeting:

 

DISPATCH: City to business owners: We'll improve customer service

 

DISPATCH: Gay Street business owners give city officials an earful

 

CU: The Columbus Department of Public Services Battles with Downtown Businesses Over Patio Dining Codes

 

Which then prompted Mayor Coleman do some public relations on Tuesday when he went to twitter with Mayor invites his staff, the city to lunch on Gay Street.

 

Which was then reported by the Dispatch:  Coleman shows support for Gay Street restaurants and Mayor turns lunch into fence-mending with Gay Street businesses

 

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It looks like the 2011 Gay Street Restaurant Revolt is accomplishing some positive outcomes for Downtown Columbus.  The Gay Street restaurants woke up city officials and the media to a mismatch between stated city goals for downtown sidewalks and the regulation and enforcement of those same sidewalks.  They also focused the attention squarely on the source of the mismatch: The Department of Public Service.

 

Below are some excerpts from an editorial in today's Dispatch.  Followed by some excerpts from an article in today's Business First:

 

Roadblocks: Rusty codes and cranky enforcement threaten Downtown’s hip vibe

DISPATCH EDITORIAL - Friday, August 19, 2011

 

Trying to run a growing city and cultivate a vibrant Downtown presents complex problems that are hard to solve.  The current one involving Gay Street merchants isn’t one of those.  Proprietors on what is arguably one of the city’s coolest streets have had it with code-enforcement officers who hassle them over the dimensions of every flowerbox and patio umbrella.  Their frustration is understandable.

(. . .)

If the Public Service Department truly is a consistent source of frustration for people trying to work and do business in the city, Coleman should insist on change.  The Gay Street crowd isn’t complaining about other city departments with which they frequently interact; at a recent gripe session with city officials, they praised the work of health inspectors, the building department and others.

(. . .)

Columbus is a maturing city, with outdated city codes that clash with an emerging neo-urban sensibility.  Some solutions, such as code rewrites to allow unlicensed vendors in the Pearl Alley farmer’s market to set up booths on the sidewalk, might take some time.  Getting the Public Service Department to live up to its name should be a lot simpler.

 

READ MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/editorials/2011/08/19/roadblocks.html

 


Gay Street patio controversy nets promises of cooperation from city

Business First - by Dan Eaton

Date: Friday, August 19, 2011, 6:00am EDT

 

As the ire of Gay Street restaurateurs cools and Columbus officials promise more civility, both sides will explore changes that, if the eatery operators have their way, could make business easier.

(. . .)

Cleve Ricksecker, Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District’s executive director, said heavy regulation and muddled processes are squeezing businesses and are a deterrent to development.  “Cities aren’t made by big municipal projects,” he said.  “They’re made by the thousands of entrepreneurs who are empowered and unleashed.”  Some of those entrepreneurs were unleashed this week.  City officials met with frustrated Gay Street restaurant owners Aug. 15.  Both sides left the table with a pledge from the city for improved customer service from inspectors and the promise of a committee to address code and communication issues.

(. . .)

Downtown restaurants work with several departments, including Building Services for building code, the Downtown Commission for exterior appearances and Public Service for sidewalk patios.  Ricksecker said downtown is a different breed that doesn’t always fit with the city’s codes and leads to conflicts, but exceptions have been made.  Ohio’s building code grants cities leeway on code standards for older buildings, while the Downtown Commission, established in 1997, operates separate from the rest of the city’s zoning.  “It was intended to speed up the process for downtown development to make it as hassle-free as possible,” Ricksecker said.  “It shifted the emphasis from separating uses to does it look good, does it function well? That made all the sense in the world.”

 

Right-of-way issues – patios, flower boxes, umbrellas, awnings – still are handled the same throughout the city.  Jeff Mathes, owner of Due Amici on Gay Street and Barrio on High Street, said making downtown its own zoning district works and separating and centralizing right-of-way issues in the district makes sense, too.  Mark Kelsey, Public Service director, said at the meeting he is open to changing permitting processes and city codes where possible.

 

READ MORE: http://www.bizjournals.com/columbus/print-edition/2011/08/19/gay-street-patio-controversy-nets.html

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One more post about the 2011 Gay Street Restaurant Revolt. :-) 

 

Walker Evans - founder of the Columbus Underground website and sometimes poster here at Urban Ohio - had a two-part in-depth interview with several officials from the Columbus Department of Public Service to "hear more about what is being addressed, why things have unfolded in the way that they have, and what sort of changes we can be seeing in the near future."  Below are the links to the transcript of Part 1 and Part 2 of his interview with Public Information Office Assistant Director Rick Tilton, Division of Planning & Operations Administrator Patti Austin and Division of Mobility Options Administrator Randy Bowman.

 

Followup Interview with Department of Public Service on Downtown Patio Issues – Part 1

 

Followup Interview with Department of Public Service on Downtown Patio Issues – Part 2

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Renovation Planned for 34-38 W. Gay Street

 

constzone-0925-art0-g81e8f9m-1constzone-0925-jpg.jpg

 

Included in Dispatch article "Downtown upgrades attract retailers".  Below is an excerpt from the article (which gives the erroneous address of 34-38 E. Gay Street):

 

Architects Sara Purcell and John Reagan know one way to keep busy is to buy and renovate your own buildings.  The duo behind Reagan Purcell Architects just bought its fifth investment property, and plans to move to the E. Gay Street building from its Short North building in the spring.

 

Through their Mohawk Properties, the pair bought 34-38 W. Gay St. for $550,000 at the end of August, according to property records.  They now plan to invest $250,000 in a renovation of the three-story brick building that was originally built as a hotel in 1905.  “We’re kind of excited about what the city’s been doing Downtown,” Reagan said.  “We really like what’s been done on Gay Street and along the riverfront, and this is right in the heart of that whole area.”

 

Reagan and Purcell plan to go before the Downtown Commission on Tuesday to present their plans for the exterior, which include the addition of large windows and a canopy.  The building has sat empty for a few years.  Reagan says that as they’ve done with other properties, the plan is for the 25-year-old architecture firm to occupy the upper floors and lease out the ground floor, possibly to local retailers.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2011/09/25/downtown-upgrades-attract-retailers.html

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One more random Gay Street project.  51-53 E. Gay Street actually.

 

Couple buys Downtown building to renovate, live in

Couple buys Downtown building, plans to move into top 2 floors, rent ground level to business

By Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 7:33 AM

 

A vacant building on a mostly revitalized block of Downtown’s Gay Street is getting another shot at renovation, after a plan last year fell through.  The 106-year-old building at 51-53 E. Gay St. was bought by Jim and Dianne Brennan, who plan to renovate the top two floors of the three-story building to live in, and revamp the ground floor’s retail space to lease out. 

 

The sale price was $350,000, and Jim Brennan, creative director of the Columbus office of architecture and engineering firm URS Corp., estimates that he and his wife will spend at least another $350,000 to overhaul the building.  Brennan said he’s in discussions with a retailer specializing in vinyl records to occupy the ground floor starting early next year.  He said he initially talked to two restaurateurs about the space, “but we decided not to put another restaurant there” on a block that features several popular eating spots.

 

Capital City Photo most recently occupied the street-level space.  The DeMond family, which ran the store, also owned the building.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2011/11/21/couple-buys-downtown-building-to-renovate-live-in.html

 

Below is a 2008 Auditor's website photo.  51-53 E. Gay Street is the three-story white building with the Capital Photo signage.

6431653667_b8df9c44cb_b_d.jpg

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One more random Gay Street project.  51-53 E. Gay Street actually.

 

Couple buys Downtown building to renovate, live in

Couple buys Downtown building, plans to move into top 2 floors, rent ground level to business

By Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 7:33 AM

 

A vacant building on a mostly revitalized block of Downtown’s Gay Street is getting another shot at renovation, after a plan last year fell through.  The 106-year-old building at 51-53 E. Gay St. was bought by Jim and Dianne Brennan, who plan to renovate the top two floors of the three-story building to live in, and revamp the ground floor’s retail space to lease out. 

 

The sale price was $350,000, and Jim Brennan, creative director of the Columbus office of architecture and engineering firm URS Corp., estimates that he and his wife will spend at least another $350,000 to overhaul the building.  Brennan said he’s in discussions with a retailer specializing in vinyl records to occupy the ground floor starting early next year.  He said he initially talked to two restaurateurs about the space, “but we decided not to put another restaurant there” on a block that features several popular eating spots.

 

Capital City Photo most recently occupied the street-level space.  The DeMond family, which ran the store, also owned the building.

 

MORE: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/business/2011/11/21/couple-buys-downtown-building-to-renovate-live-in.html

 

Below is a 2008 Auditor's website photo.  51-53 E. Gay Street is the three-story white building with the Capital Photo signage.

6431653667_b8df9c44cb_b_d.jpg

 

Construction has begun!

 

<img src="http://www.columbusunderground.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/gay-street-construction.jpg">

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From the Columbus Construction Update - Spring 2011 at Columbus Underground:

 

"Construction is progressing on The Abigail, a student-oriented apartment building located Downtown, adjacent to CCAD.  The building features one, two and three-bedroom units and is now accepting rental applications online."

 

construction-spring-2011-2.jpg

 

This project has been completed my friends.

 

EDIT: A photo of the completed 7-story apartment building is here.

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The couple who bought the building deserve huge kudos... they bucked the all too popular downtown Bob Weiler trend of waiting for a business opp before improving a space and instead went with "build it and they will come" approach. The gamble quickly paid off!

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Yeah, a look a all of his properties on Parsons sitting empty for years should hint to him that maybe he might want to fix up a space or two in the best location in the context of "best" for Parsons Ave which I'm thinking is along Schumacher Place). Gay Street has already filled out on the other hand, so it's interesting to see retail on what is otherwise a gastronomic strip (food, booze, and lattes).

 

Not sure I agree that this won't hurt Spoonful; this location is much more accessible with a direct connection to High St whereas Spoonful and B1 require a walk north from Gay alongside a parking lot facing on the NW lot of Gay and 3rd which really needs a 3 story+ building with retail fronting 3rd to connect to the existing retail on Long which is now an island unto itself and also requires crossing the anti-pedestrian zone of 3rd: pedestrian traffic drops off. I hope someone will do something with the mixed-use building next to B1 now that there's ever less retail space on Gay to work with to fill out a retail cluster on Long so that it will better compliment the successes on Gay St.

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